Exploring the training needs of entry level wind technicians
The expectations of continued growth of the wind industry brings sustained challenges at many levels. One of these, finding the best way of expanding the wind workforce while maintaining safety and training levels, is especially close to GWO’s heart.
GWO, the international standards organisation for safety training in the wind industry, has long sought to actively reduce barriers to safer working. The impetus to look more closely at the training barriers individuals may face moving into a wind technician career reached a turning point in early 2022 when GWO embarked on a programme to define the training entry level wind technicians needs. This training naturally extends beyond GWO’s portfolio of 13 safety standards so this is the perfect occasion to reach out to other industry players in a suite of engagements processes. Bringing these many perspectives together in a single approach is key to the programme’s success.
Ann Duedahl, Chair of GWO Training Committee (Global Learning Leader, GE Renewable Energy) explains the challenge:
“Currently there is no clearly defined entry level standard combining the necessary training courses according to job roles or competencies, and GWO members are impacted by this absence.”
This represents fertile territory for potential employees transitioning from other industries or entering directly from education looking for future focused careers in wind. But often these groups struggle to find consistent information on training needs. Competency frameworks to answer these needs have been attempted before, often at national levels, but have so far failed to gain traction.
GWO’s CEO, Jakob Lau Holst says.
“Distilling a standardised approach to entry level training in terms of the wind industry’s requirement is fundamental to the success of a framework. GWO members are eager for new recruits with a consistent set of competencies whatever their background and wherever they are in the world. “
At the same time, a successful framework must address how training requirements affect the wind industry’s attractiveness to new recruits, not least because their competencies are in high demand in competing sectors. To balance these different perspectives, GWO has begun an engagement programme focusing first on global industry opinion formers and educationalists and secondly, on workforce transition from two industries, oil & gas and ex-military service. By bringing these findings together with member’s training requirements, GWO’s objective is to create a multi-faceted global framework. To be launched in October 2022, the GWO Framework will be followed in late 2022 by a suite of industry endorsed, practical tools which will bring together new entrants, educators and industry to a shared one-stop solution.
The Safety & Training Forum 2023 was GWO’s first event in the United States.151 Training Providers, Certification Bodies, Auditors, vendors, and Industry associations gathered to discuss safety training in the industry. The Forum aimed to increase engagement with North America’s Network and bring the different stakeholders to the table in a conversation about the roles standards play in the workforce challenge.
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The latest GWO North American Market Briefing forecasts high growth of the wind industry and the associated need for more standardised training.
The MOU, signed at the Global Offshore Wind Summit, emphasizes GWO's role in developing entry-level skills. This collaboration aims to reshape workforce development, addressing Japan's labor challenges and carbon neutrality goals. A pivotal move for the growth of Japan's wind industry, especially in offshore projects.
Workforce safety and training were the subject of GWO's Wind Workforce Masterclass in Busan, South Korea, where over 100 delegates witnessed strong support for international standards.