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FEATURE SPONSOR


Turbines need operation and maintenance staff to attend to them throughout their lifetimes and new arrays that are only in the planning stages will need to be built and maintained by qualified engineers. Getting into renewables now could mean a job for life in uncertain times.


CHALLENGES


Nevertheless, certain challenges face companies recruiting to the renewables industry here in the East. Amongst them: a lack of qualified local people, a reluctance to move to the area and the amount of capital projects competing for the same pool of people.


I sit on the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership Skills Board. The Board supports businesses across the region by working with training and education providers to come up with the answers to these challenges. The board also support capital projects like the proposed Energy Skills Centre at the East Coast College Lowestoft. If this project happens, it will help the region educate and train technicians, engineers and support staff to build, maintain and manage these energy projects both onshore like Sizewell C and the many offshore windfarms - those that are here and the ones that are coming to the region.


COMPANIES INVESTING


IN RENEWABLE POWER GENERATION ARE LOOKING FOR TALENTED INDIVIDUALS TO WORK FOR THEM


CONNECTING PEOPLE WITH INDUSTRY


We actively encourage local STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) graduates and apprentices to send us their CVs and we connect them with our network of energy industry companies. Another angle that we have undertaken recently is recruitment from people who have left the forces and are looking for a second career. Offshore wind is a great industry to be getting into. The current generation of wind turbines are expected to have a lifespan of at least 20 years. We know from similar projections that were attached to the lifespan of oil & gas drilling platforms that they will probably continue working long after that.


EAST OF ENGLAND ENERGY GROUP


Another of my voluntary positions is as a Director of the East of England Energy Group, a trade organisation with over 300 member companies. I see how important a role small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play in the supply chain for the large-scale projects. SMEs can certainly do their bit by encouraging and training the personnel that will be required to support these projects. Generally, workers in the energy and


renewables sector speak favourably of the pay and conditions that they receive. They like playing an important role in the continued supply of energy to homes and businesses across the UK. Improving the reliability and efficiency of that supply is rewarding in itself. Being paid well to do it is a much-appreciated bonus.


RECRUITMENT


TARGETING OFFSHORE WIND


At my company, People with Energy, part of our job is placing qualified people in offshore jobs. We find turbine engineers and operating mechanics and inspection technicians and partner them with the firms that are building and maintaining the offshore arrays. We have more people on our books working offshore now than at any time in our history. There will be dips, for sure, but we expect the general shape of things to come will be an increase in offshore work. The workforce must have the skills to meet the increasing demand if they are to take advantage of the opportunities.


Stuart Smith Managing Director


People with Energy


SCAN/CLICK


SCAN/CLICK


SCAN/CLICK


EEEGR


NEW ANGLIA


WEBSITE


www.windenergynetwork.co.uk


13


SPOTLIGHT ON EAST OF ENGLAND


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