November 29, 2023

Looking back on the 2023 Safety & Training Forum

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.

Focus: Workforce Development

The Forum was kicked off with an inspiring presentation by Wesley Witt (RWE), Chair of NAM Committee on the workforce challenge and evolution in the adoption of GWO Standards in the region.  

Following this, an insightful panel discussion, expertly moderated by Julie Brown, GWO’s Head of Training, addressed the topic "How Will Standards Help to Solve the Workforce Challenge?" The panel featured distinguished industry experts:

  • Josh Rogers, American Clean Power Association (ACP)
  • Mathieu Côté, Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA)
  • Kristy Abel, Vestas North America
  • Ann Meyer Duedahl, GE Vernova

The conversation explored the pivotal role of standardisation in meeting industry needs, spotlighting the recent collaboration between GWO and ACP on the Guidelines for Entry-Level Wind Technicians. As Julie emphasised,

“Training standards play a crucial role in ensuring that our workforce is adequately prepared for the challenges ahead. Establishing clear and comprehensive standards sets a baseline for the knowledge and competencies required across various industries and professions ”.

The day's first workshop, introduced by Dan Ortega, seamlessly guided 18 tables of diverse attendees through a discussion on:

  1. Skills transfer from related industries
  2. Integrating standards within public and vocational education
  3. Accelerating the development of new industry entrants

During the plenary session, workshop participants shared their insights, collectively voting "Attracting new workers into the Wind Industry" as the industry's top priority in the coming years.

Introducing Instructor Qualification Standard

Thomas Grønlund introduced attendees to the soon-to-be-released Instructor Qualification Standard. Following, Dan Ortega, GWO's North America Representative, took the lead in facilitating a panel discussion on the significance of instructor development. The panel featured seasoned instructors from around the globe, all of whom played instrumental roles in shaping the IQ Standard globally including:

  • Brandon McKelvain, Training Manager (Safety Technology USA)
  • Magdalena Kryszewska, Managing Director (Windhunter Academy)
  • Claire Wright, Lead Trainer (Wright Training)
  • Thomas Grønlund, Senior Project Manager (GWO)

Following a successful panel discussion and lively Q & A Session. Christopher Furlan, GWO’s Training Quality Manager, introduced the next workshop “Growing with Quality” by explaining how interrelated all the factors that make training quality

  1. Certification & Auditing
  2. Participant Assessment
  3. Instructor Competence
  4. Requirements & Standards

During the closing Fireside Chat, John Barrie, Chair of the GWO Board of Directors, and Jakob Lau Holst, GWO's CEO, delved into a reflective discussion, offering insights into the day's proceedings and a sneak peek into GWO's upcoming strategy. The one-to-one setting allowed them to share invaluable lessons learned from the day as active participants in the workshops and as table facilitators.

Throughout the conversation, they underscored the prevailing collaborative spirit that permeated the day. Drawing from their experiences, they contemplated how the day's discussions seamlessly align with GWO's forthcoming strategic directions. John, in particular, emphasised:

"We often hear what can employers do? What can GWO do? But if you look at the room in here  -certification bodies, training providers, employers, industry associations- collectively we have the skills to do workforce development better than we do today"
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