Eight students from Carrick are being given a unique insight into the UK’s largest onshore windfarm.
They are among 12 students studying to become wind turbine technicians through a specially-devised diploma launched in March that is supported and part-funded by Whitelee Windfarm operator ScottishPower Renewables.
Angela Constance MSP, Minister for Youth Employment, met with the students to hear about the course and discuss their ambitions to establish a career in renewable energy. Scottish Power Renewables engineers also took the students on a tour of the site, giving them an opportunity to learn more about the operations at Whitelee as well as having the chance to ask any questions they had about the windfarm or working in their chosen industry.
For over two years ScottishPower Renewables has been part of a working group seeking to develop an industry recognised Wind Turbine Technician training course in both Dumfries & Galloway and Ayr colleges. As well as the recently launched course at Ayr College, Dumfries & Galloway College aim to launch a further course later this year. The overall ambition is to encourage more local employment opportunities in renewable energy for people living in the South West of Scotland, a region which has seen substantial investment in renewable energy over the last decade.
The working group was created with ScottishPower Renewables, Dumfries and Galloway College, Ayr College and the Energy Skills Partnership. In addition, ScottishPower Renewables has also provided funding towards the course, has helped to ensure the qualifications are relevant to the skills needs of the industry, and has donated a range of decommissioned turbine parts and equipment to ensure that students gain realistic hands on experience.
Simon Christian, UK managing director at ScottishPower Renewables, said: “The renewable energy industry in Scotland has seen billions of pounds of investment in recent years, and this creates highly skilled, long-term employment opportunities. The industry continually needs qualified technicians who can help to maintain wind turbines. We have been working hard to ensure that colleges can offer courses that deliver exactly what the industry needs in terms of skills.