Local apprentices set example for British industry

11 December 2012

Ecotricity wind turbine silhouette

Local apprentices from Grimsby, Hull and Immingham now account for 50% of wind turbine technicians at energy company Ecotricity, with Humberside Engineering Training Association (HETA) hailing the recruitment as a big example for British industry.

12,000 people currently work in the UK’s wind energy industry, but the number of jobs in the sector is set to increase to nearly 90,000 by 20201 – an opportunity not lost on HETA who teamed up with Ecotricity in 2009 to provide them with specialised wind turbine technicians.

HETA apprentices Adam Barnard (22) and Callum Evers (20) from Grimsby, Joe Parkinson (22) from Immingham, and Jacob Lofthouse (21) from Hull are all now based at Ecotricity’s Louth technician centre – the quartet are part of an eight strong team who maintain and improve Ecotricity’s 53 wind turbines across the UK, from Scotland down to the Cotswolds.

Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder, said: “Providing an opportunity for young people to access the growing green sector is one of the most rewarding parts of what we do. The HETA scheme has introduced some great young talent and been hugely important for us – and there are signs the Humber is really becoming a hub for wind industry expertise.

“There are a limited number of wind industry apprentice schemes like HETA’s, but as the industry grows – and it is growing fast – there will be a need for more specialist skilled workers to fill the gaps.

“It’s therefore vital that we get the training infrastructure right now so that we have skilled workers in the UK ready at the right time.”

Ecotricity not only provide gas and electricity like other energy companies, they also use their customers’ bill money to invest in new forms of renewable energy, erecting wind turbines which are maintained by their own technicians.

Eric Collis, General Manager of HETA, said: “The wind industry offers a big opportunity for this region and the fact that a company like Ecotricity draw so heavily from local talent is a great sign for the future and really sets an example for British industry.

“With university becoming an ever more expensive proposition, young people are increasingly considering apprenticeships as an alternative – the renewable industry is a destination of growing importance for those apprentices and we need to embrace those opportunities in this area.”

A report by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Renewable UK has stated that if onshore wind is deployed at a scale suggested in the Government’s Renewable Energy Roadmap, the economy could benefit to the tune of £0.78bn by 2020.

1 See RenewableUK’s ‘ Working for a Green Britain: Vol 2: Future Employment and Skills in the UK Wind & Marine Industries’, July 2011, pg. 3

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