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Topic Title: Request for guidance ref wind turbine qualifications
Topic Summary: Advice
Created On: 07 September 2011 03:29 PM
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 07 September 2011 03:29 PM
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Joined: 07 September 2011

I am in the process of leaving the Armed Forces and would like to work within the renewable energy industry, with a particular interest to work as a wind turbine engineer either on or offshore.
As yet I do not have the relevant electrical qualifications but my trade has provided me with a good understanding of electrical processes and principals.

As I've served over 6 years, the Army offer financial support for courses providing they are at least equivalent to a Level 3 NVQ.
One course in particular recommended to me (by the Army's careers advisor) is to undertake one Level 3 City and Guilds 2330 (Certificate in Electrotechnical Technology).

Although I accept that a short course won't hold the same value as a longer, full time course, essentially I have between now and April 2012 to attain necessary qualifications for an employer to take me on.
At which point I look to start an OU degree - also financially assisted.
Despite taking longer, it means the 6 ish years spent attaining the degree is also 6 years gaining valuable experience whilst earning a reasonable wage.

Any advice offered would be gratefully received.
 08 September 2011 08:32 AM
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It depends on what workscope you are aiming at with the word "engineer".

In our company, engineer level is an office based job, looking at design issues, tendering for works, reviewing risk assessments and method statements and supervising on site works quality witnessing commissioning tests etc. For this kind of role we look for a minimum of HNC in the relevant discipline.

Technician level is the workforce that are actually out on the turbines carrying out maintenance and fault finding works. Generally they are multi-skilled covering anything from routine checks on the structure bolts to fault finding on inverter drives. For this you need a good broad based set of engineering skills, specific training on drives etc is provided to successful candidates so usually isn't a prerequisite. You also need to be fit and have a good head for heights. The C & G course you mention should meet this broad based approach for the electrical skills as well as looking at the electrical machines modules the instrumentation modules will also be of great benefit.

Good luck for the future,

Kind regards

Donald Lane
 08 September 2011 12:47 PM
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My error in terminology is owed to my naivety within the industry.
It is more the technician I'm looking for.
Although my rope access qualifications don't translate to the civilian IRATA system, I do have a fair amount of experience working and rescuing at height.

Many thanks for your post Donald.
 11 September 2011 08:50 AM
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There are two sides to windfarms, construction and maintenance. The construction side of the turbines is normally carried out by the makers usually Vestas or Siemens. Contacting them may be usefull. There is also the construction and installation of the substations, these are built in marine construction yards then commissioned on site.
Once onsite work starts the client usually recruits a maintenence team. These guys are multi skilled and come from various backgrounds including military.
To get into construction I would try and find an agent such as CDS or Progressive or put your CV on somthing like jobsite.
For maintenance find out who is setting up windfarms and contact them, they usually recruit early on.
Most of the info can be found with a trawl on the net.
As for qualifications, An electrical background, offshore safety, working and rescue at hights, first aid at work, marine VHF licence and a offshore medical.
Offshore safety is the same as for oil. working at hights try TAG.
Good luck

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