November 17, 2022

Safety Technology USA adopts GWO Entry Level Framework for community college partnerships

Over 100 community colleges teach wind turbine technician programs in North America. One GWO training provider, Safety Technology (STL) USA is moving quickly to offer a new pathway into work for college students.

Over 100 community colleges teach wind turbine technician programs in North America (1). One GWO training provider, Safety Technology (STL) USA is moving quickly to offer a new pathway into work for college students.

STL has been delivering GWO training in the United States for over ten years and was one of the first certified GWO training providers in the region.  As well as their headquarters in Abilene, TX, they currently have partnerships with two community colleges: Texas State Technical College (TSTC) in Sweetwater, TX and Iowa Lakes Community College (ILCC) in Estherville, IA.  In addition, STL USA has worked with several education and commercial partners to assist in the set-up of GWO training in the US, Europe, and Asia.

Aware of the manpower shortage facing the wind industry, STL has developed a lean process to efficiently implementation cost-effective training programs at community colleges and other partner companies with suitable facilities to deliver GWO training.  As part of their growth plans and commitment to the North American market, they are keen to share not just their knowledge and experience in the US, but that of their wider group of companies, bringing considerable resources and knowledge to the delivery of safety training for wind technicians.  

“We have successfully implemented this approach with TSTC and ILCC and we’re happy to share these experiences with the wider college community,” says Ben Dickens, Vice President of US operations.  

“Community colleges’ wind education programs tend to operate with a small faculty,” shared Dickens.  “Our goal with GWO training certification partnerships is to make it simple, low cost, and quick to get up and running with our tried and tested model and not overburden the colleges’ resources.” STL achieve this by focusing on providing the gap analysis and consultancy support to help the partner develop their own GWO training program under the STL USA banner.  The obvious question remains: what’s in it for Safety Technology USA?  

“STL is not looking to make money directly through college partnerships,” said Dickens.  “Our goals are to grow the scope and acceptance of GWO training across the region, which will help build future revenue through the continued demand of GWO training from refreshers, additional modules, etc.”  This approach is fueled by GWO members’ commitment to the GWO Entry Level Framework and a shift in focus.

The aim of the GWO Wind Technician Entry Level Framework is to offer entry level wind technicians a trio of simplified profiles within the specialization areas of Pre-Assembly, Installation, and Operations & Maintenance. Each profile includes a combination of recommended, task specific and company specific training.  The Framework also gives training providers a list of modules to offer industry entrants the necessary training to gain employment with key employers.  

Dickens shared that, “The Entry Level Framework is a slightly different spin on the marketing focus for GWO training.  Typically, GWO training was marketed to companies, but today it is also targeted to potential school candidates, demonstrating how GWO training will help them get started in the wind industry.”  

Community colleges and other organizations looking to implement GWO training but lacking knowhow now have the opportunity to partner with experienced GWO training providers, like Safety Technology USA, to build their GWO training program.  These partnerships can take various forms, from consultancy, as STL USA offers, to direct partnerships as franchises.   If you are interested in discussing GWO certification and exploring potential partnerships with experienced GWO training providers, contact Dan Ortega, GWO’s North America Representative.  This past article also highlights the various Partnership Models for achieving GWO certification.

(1) Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy’s WINDExchange site – Wind Energy Training Programs