May 20, 2020

Wind energy workforce looks for safe return to GWO training centres

Training centres prepared for backlog but expect 59% of typical course volumes in May, rising to 91% by July - Careful preparation and adaptations in place as lock-down re-opening begins - Digital options limit participants’ and instructors’ exposure to virus

Global Wind Organisation the industry body responsible for safety training standards for over 90,000 of the world’s wind energy workers today reveals its network is emerging from Covid-19 lock down.

As many as six in ten GWO certified training providers expect to have reopened their doors by the end of this week (18-22 May) according to a survey of the network.

The companies, who deliver standardised safety and technical training to GWO standards are proceeding with extreme caution and have made careful adaptations to minimise the risk of exposure for their course participants, instructors, and staff.

The GWO market survey found that globally, training providers expected to deliver 59% of the number of courses in May 2020 when compared to the same period of last year. This number rises quickly to 89% in June and 91% in July.

“This survey gives a snapshot of what training providers tell us they expect during the next three months,” says Paul Robbins, Chief Specialist HSE at Vestas and Chairman of Global Wind Organisation. “The global number is encouraging for the industry which has urgent need of training for its workforce.”
Varied picture

“Some training providers expect to be very busy for the next two to three months, meeting a backlog of training demand in a workplace where technicians must refresh their certificates every two years,” adds Jakob Lau Holst, CEO of GWO. “Others expect a much-reduced workload as demand is impacted by continuing challenges domestically. For these reasons, Spanish training providers who remain unable to open until at least the final week of May are expecting very limited training this month, while most Polish companies have remained open throughout the Pandemic and anticipate a busy period from now onwards.”

Impact on workforce safety
GWO Chair Paul Robbins: "encouraging for the industry"

During the Pandemic, up to 1000 technicians each week saw their Basic Safety Training certificates run out of validity with limited access for retraining.

“24% of the usual number of courses took place globally in the weeks since most economies were locked down,” adds Jakob. “For employers in the wind industry this presents a major safety risk for their workforce as skills like first aid tend to fade in the memory without refresher training.”

In April 2020, GWO deployed new digital versions of its training standards to meet the challenges of lock down and social distancing.

“The market has responded rapidly to implement the new GWO online classroom training standard which we call BSTR-P,” adds Jakob. “This interim measure has helped employers to deploy technicians in the field, keep our wind turbines spinning and do so with confidence that their techs’ vital safety skills won’t be found wonting in the event of an accident at work.”

Network Re-opening Forecast:

GWO asked 91 Certified Training Providers representing 57% of the global market by share of training how many courses they expected to complete in May, June, and July 2020, compared with the same period last year.

In 2019, the ten largest markets (see main graphic) were collectively responsible for around 80% of all GWO training.

Globally, GWO training fell as low as 24% of 2019 levels during the lock down. With these re-opening estimates, the average across the top 10 is 57% in May, 90% in June and 91% in July.


• Spain – 6/10 re-opening no sooner than last week of May

• UK – Most reopening weeks 20-21 (11-15/18-22 May)

• Polish training providers largely remained open during Covid

• Portugal, Poland, Germany expecting improvement in June and July

• Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands expecting 75% of normal volumes

Estimate of when GWO Training Providers from the Top 10 markets expect to re-open their centres

Estimate of how much training is expected in the top 10 markets for GWO standards

Estimate of how much training other European countries expect to complete

Estimated training volumes for countries around the world

The results of this survey are based on sentiment and may not reflect actual activity. Several limitations have been identified including the influence of demand from customers, the potential for delay in re-opening caused by continued effects of the Pandemic and the likelihood some training providers may not return to operation. These limitations are outlined in the table below.