Safety first for young windfarm apprentices

Calvin Anderson and Cameron Galloway at Hadyard Hill
Calvin Anderson and Cameron Galloway at Hadyard Hill

Two new young apprentices at SSE’s Hadyard Hill wind farm in South Ayrshire have started the technical component of their turbine maintenance training ahead of Scottish Apprenticeship week, 18-22 May.

Cameron Galloway (18) from Maybole and Calvin Anderson (also 18) of Prestwick, completed the academic dimension of their SSE apprenticeships at Carnegie College last year. After they finish hands-on skills development at Hadyard Hill, they will be well on the way to becoming fully qualified wind farm turbine maintenance technicians.

Hadyard Hill is a 52-turbine wind farm located 6Km East of Girvan in South Ayrshire and SSE recently submitted a planning application to Scottish Ministers for an extension to the existing site.

Cameron Galloway said: “I have learned so much through the apprenticeship so far and now that we are putting our academic skills into practice it definitely feels like ‘the real thing’. Learning how to maintain wind turbines is essential to ensure they are fixed if they break down and generally operate to the best standard possible; so it does feel good to be doing a job that’s worthwhile and quite specialised.

“Being able to gain practical experience and academic qualifications through one of the energy industry’s leading companies while also earning money has been fantastic for me as someone from a fairly rural part of Scotland like Maybole. The first time I went up one of the towers was really fascinating and I’d definitely recommend the apprenticeship to others thinking of a career in the energy sector”.

The apprentices’ supervisor and Hadyard Hill Senior Site Supervisor Bobby Gechie said: “SSE believes in offering young people skills, training and the potential to develop a fulfilling career in one of the UK’s biggest and most diverse firms. It has been great to have the young apprentices on site and to see them absorb information quickly on what needs done and the best way to go about it. They get along very well and their enthusiasm is boundless. I am particularly pleased they have integrated so quickly and already become a valued part of the Hadyard Hill site team here in South Ayrshire.”

Calvin Anderson said: “I was surprised to be able to find an apprenticeship that interests me so close to my home town of Prestwick. The first year was theory-based study but getting out into the real world of work to apply those ideas is what I’m enjoying much more.

“The learning curve has been very steep and the most important thing we’ve learned is that at SSE safety comes first - it’s something everyone in the team has to understand and take responsibility for at all times”.

SSE offers its apprentices the chance to achieve qualifications and earn a salary at the same time as gaining hands-on work experience. New recruits could find themselves operating the company’s wind farms or power stations, helping to maintain the 130,000 km of overhead and underground power lines across the distribution network or installing and maintaining customers’ central heating systems.

Anyone interested in applying for an apprenticeship can do so by visiting the SSE website: www.sse.com/careers.