ScottishPower Renewables is to help fund courses at Dumfries and Galloway College and Ayr College that will allow students to gain industry recognised qualifications and help them on their way to becoming wind turbine technicians. The company’s funding and support will aid the introduction of courses in 2013.
For more than 2 years ScottishPower Renewables has been part of a working group seeking to develop an industry recognised Wind Turbine Technician training course in both Dumfries and Galloway and Ayr colleges.
Currently the only established centre for delivery of Turbine Training in Scotland is Carnegie College in Fife, and there has been a concerted effort to offer this type of training at other institutions, with Carnegie College’s support
The working group was created with ScottishPower Renewables, Dumfries and Galloway College, Ayr College and The Energy Skills Partnership. The course is in the process of being developed and it is intended that classes will commence early in 2013.
Simon Christian, Managing Director at ScottishPower Renewables, said: “The renewable energy industry in Scotland continually needs qualified technicians who can help to maintain wind turbines. We have been working hard to ensure that colleges can offer courses that deliver exactly what the industry needs in terms of skills, which in turn helps participants get employed in the industry on completing their course.
“We are delighted to help both Dumfries and Galloway College and Ayr College develop their Turbine Technician course plans. The South West of Scotland is a key area of investment for ScottishPower Renewables. We have already developed a number of major windfarm projects in the area, and we anticipate that our future projects in the area will need many more technicians and engineers in the years ahead.
“The significant investment that is happening in renewable energy ensures that opportunities for employment and skills development in the sector is set to keep increasing, and we want to help local communities makes the most of these opportunities.”
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: "Scotland leads the world in energy, and our skills and experience mean we have been able to successfully use skills developed in the oil and gas sector in our renewable energy industry.
“This course is a great advantage of partnership working between industry and the college which will help local communities to benefit from the job opportunities presented by renewable energy in the South West of Scotland.”
Carol Turnbull, Principal at Dumfries and Galloway College said “Dumfries and Galloway College is delighted to be part of this development which will deliver an industry recognised qualification to learners in the south west of Scotland and Ayrshire to meet growing employer demand for individuals in this exciting and growing industry. It is an excellent example of what can be achieved when industry, colleges and sector representatives work together.”
Diane Rawlinson, Principal at Ayr College said “This is an exciting industry partnership for Ayr and Dumfries and Galloway Colleges, using their knowledge and experience in aeronautical, electrical and mechanical engineering to support developments in emerging industries. Through this development we will be supporting economic regeneration in Ayrshire, making sure our communities have the skills and training to access local jobs in the renewables industry.”
Jim Brown, Director at the Energy Skills Partnership, said: “this is a very exciting industry led initiative to develop the local skills base to support the anticipated jobs growth stemming from the planned renewable energy developments across the South West of Scotland. This is exactly what the Energy Skills Partnership was established to do and clearly demonstrates what can be achieved by utilising the engineering expertise available across Scotland’s colleges.”
The course consists of basic engineering skills as well as the underpinning knowledge element of the Turbine Technician Modern Apprenticeship (MA). The course consists of a City and Guilds Course in Wind Turbine Operation and Maintenance and an SVQ in Performing Engineering Operations. This approach will enable the wind industry to recruit turbine technicians quicker due to the traditional 4 year college release programme being shortened into an 18 month full time course.
The course will be delivered as a pilot initially with 12 places in Ayr College and 12 places in Dumfries and Galloway College.
Media Information: Paul Ferguson, 0141 614 4535