Prepare to be blown away by our Step Up Offshore Wind programme!

16 March 2020

For the past 2 weeks our Step Up programme teamed up with Offshore Wind Skills Centre (OWSC). Over the course of the 2 weeks the young people learnt about various jobs within the offshore energy industry. People from across the sector came and gave talks to the group of young people, they even got the opportunity to visit different sites to see how equipment works.

In the first week the 8 young people had intensive employability training and an introduction to the energy sector. Our Step Up programme is designed to give young people the opportunity to not only gain knowledge and work experience in a range of industries but to also help the young people in getting a job and creating a positive future for themselves. With thanks to ECC, the group of learners were able to get an insight into the industry whilst also gaining employability skills. Employability skills are an essential when it comes to the young peoples learning as we find a majority of them are unsure and nervous about applying for jobs and interviews due to lack of guidance.

On Thursday 5th March our learners went to visit Sizewell B (EDF’s power station). Here they were given a tour of the facilities by the visitor centre co-ordinator, Sarah. The group had access to all areas (except the nuclear reactor) where they learnt how fission occurs and how energy is harnessed and distributed. They were also given an insight into the types of jobs surrounding the nuclear energy sector.

With week 2 came in-depth experiences and opportunities in the offshore wind industry. At the start of the week the group were introduced to Alan Jones, a lecturer at ECC and a former wind energy worker and Colin Drewitt, another ex-offshore energy worker. Alan delivered sessions on the fundamentals of the wind industry and having previously been a wind turbine technician he knew all the ins and outs of what it is like to work offshore and answered all the young peoples questions about offshore wind.

On Tuesday the group were also visited by Lucy Stebbings and Hannah Rushbrooke from Select. They came in and delivered CV workshops and spoke about how recruiters look for candidates. They also talked about job opportunities through using agencies and how this could be beneficial to young people. In the afternoon, John Hotchkiss, ex-wind industry worker and college lecturer provided a session involving building model wind turbines and measuring energy output, a hands on and engaging session that was enjoyed by the whole group.  Also, Gemma Head and Marie Hoskins-Davies from EEEGR (East of England Energy Group) came in to talk about what EEEGR do and give advice on careers in the Wind industry.

Later in the week Juwelz Gwyer, from ECC, came and delivered a Level 2 First Aid and Health and Safety qualification. The group learnt how to provide emergency response and also how to use a defibrillator. These types of qualifications are essential when it comes to offshore energy roles and was a memorable session for the group as they are able to take this qualification away with them.

On Thursday 12th March, David Smail (Pre-Assembly Wind Farm Manager working with Scottish Power) visited to present other technical aspects of offshore wind energy such as the location of wind farms, the planning that is involved and the engineering required.  In the afternoon, the group visited the £11.5m Energy Skills Centre at ECC, Lowestoft Campus, to see the amazing training facilities such as the simulators (tour by Ferlin Quantrill of ECC).

And finally, at the end of the busy 2 weeks the group were met with a challenging yet fun day out at Maritime Training Centre based at the ECC Lowestoft campus. The group were put through an intense survival training session where they learnt how to survive at sea. At the end of the day they were presented with a certificate of completion.