The UK is in desperate need of additional skilled workers to install low carbon technologies, as highlighted by the Skills for Climate consultation results that were released earlier this week. That’s why it’s encouraging to see EDF Renewables continue to foster the next generation of talent, despite the pain inflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The eight apprentices are from all over the UK and will start their new roles as wind turbine technicians by spending a year and a half at Tyne Metropolitan College in North Shields, before learning the practical elements of the job at a number of EDF’s sites across the UK.
The apprentices are; Lucy Cooper who will be based at the Fenlands sites, Craig Johnston and Ross McDonald who will be based at the Dorenell site, Torin Harvey-Waugh who will be based at our Fallago Rig site, Jamie Jones who will be based at the Aberystwyth service centre, Benjamin Ferguson who will be based at the Cumbria service centre and the Beck Burn site, Harris Razzaq who will be based at the Durham Service Centre, and Sam Cockroft who will be based at the Teesside site.
While EDF hasn’t disclosed what it’s paying its apprentices, the average salary for an offshore wind turbine technician in the UK currently stands at almost £40,000. That could rise further, however, as demand for technicians rise and supply falls.
The first task for the apprentices once they have settled into college will be a 10 day training course in North Tyneside where they will be put through their paces to ensure they can work on EDF’s sites safely. These are wind industry standard courses which all EDF technicians attend and will cover working at height, manual handling, and first aid and fire awareness, amongst other topics.
Lucy Cooper, 19-year-old apprentice, commented, “I am really excited to get started with my apprenticeship and got my first taste for renewables at school when I did a project into how much it can help us with climate change. I also thought really carefully about having a long-term career, especially because of the COVID-19 pandemic and that’s why I applied for this role. I guess it could be seen as an unusual career move for a woman but I’ve never been one for following convention and I am looking forward to the beginning of a new adventure.”
Sam Cockroft, a 25-year-old apprentice, added, “I am most looking forward to the theory part of the apprenticeship as I believe it will really help my understanding of what is an exciting industry and company to work for. I am really pleased I will be offshore as it will be challenging and rewarding being out on what can sometimes be choppy waters! It was during a couple of years in Australia that I learned more about plastic pollution at sea and it got me focused on how we can all do a bit more to reduce carbon emissions so I’m happy I can now be directly involved in being a part of that.”
Piero Maggio, director of Asset Operations, said, “It is great to welcome this new team of apprentices to the company and it is a reflection of the growth of our business. We have 36 operational onshore and offshore wind farm sites and a battery storage unit but we are developing much more including ground mounted solar technology which is a new area for us. This group of enthusiastic apprentices are a symbol of how we at EDF can contribute to the green recovery which is needed.”
Mo Dixon, principal of Tyne Metropolitan College and South Tyneside College, concluded, “This exciting partnership brings together two organisations which have the skills and commitment to support these apprentices to gain the high-quality qualifications and expertise they need to advance their careers.
“Green energy is such a fast-accelerating sector, and so broad in scope, that there are vast opportunities for people of all ages and from all backgrounds to step onto the professional ladder in this field.
“Tyne Metropolitan College has the instructional expertise to support, in every way, this first group of apprentices to develop and gain the know-how and knowledge to become highly-regarded employees with EDF Renewables.
“This is our first venture with EDF Renewables and we are very much looking forward to working closely with its team to support these apprentices in their current and future career ambitions.”