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Wind industry targets training for 60,000 green collar workers

Posted by on Oct 23rd, 2009 and filed under Energy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

wind turbine factory

Industry and government sign Skills Accord designed to accelerate the rollout of green collar apprenticeships and training schemes.

The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) yesterday inked a deal with representatives from the government’s skills programme, designed to provide training for up to 60,000 new wind energy technicians and engineers.

The new Wind & Renewables Skills Sector Accord was signed by representatives of the wind energy industry, including Paul Cowling, UK managing director at RWE Npower Renewables and Chris Ehlers, the UK divisional managing director at industrial giant Siemens, as well as the government’s apprenticeship ambassador, Mark Andrews.

Under the deal, which was signed at the BWEA Summit in Liverpool, the industry has agreed to work with academia, skills bodies and the government to develop new training programmes and a clear skills route map for people to enter the industry.

The move follows the release of two BWEA-commissioned reports this summer, which warned that while the industry has the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs by 2020, progress is likely to be hampered by a shortage of qualified engineering students.

“The task ahead of our sector is enormous, as are the opportunities. If just half the manufacturing for the next generation of offshore wind farms takes place here in the UK, this industry will grow tenfold from just 6,000 jobs today to 60,000 by 2020,” said BWEA chief executive Maria McCaffery MBE.

“But in order to attract the investment and build that industry, we need to have a skilled workforce ready to work in the sector. However, today we are already suffering from a growing shortage of qualified technicians and professional engineers.”

The new accord should also lay the groundwork for a National Renewable Energy Apprenticeship Programme, designed to provide young people with green career advice and a clear route into the industry.

Labour party general secretary Lord Whitty said the government was keen to work with the industry to develop a new apprenticeship scheme.

“There have been real barriers to the rapid deployment of wind power and the skills shortage has been one of them,” he said. “Today’s skills summit demonstrated the determination of the industry and educational bodies to address this shortage by bringing in an apprenticeship scheme as soon as possible.”


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