We would like to introduce GWO centers – Training Partners of the 1st Educational Career Fair EDU OFFSHORE WIND, which will take place on 14-15 March 2023 in the Amber Expo hall in Gdańsk. This will be the first event of this scale dedicated to offshore wind energy in Poland. BalticWind.EU is supporting the event as a Strategic Media Patron.
One of the main attractions of the fair will be the ‘GWO Island’ where leading GWO centres will present their educational and training offer – including Vulcan Training & Consultancy, Rojam Safety Center, windhunter_academy, Gdynia Maritime School and the Educational Research Institute. During the event, visitors will be able to take a turbine walk, see high-altitude rescue demonstrations, visit the VR zone and participate in attractive competitions with surprises.
The rapidly growing offshore wind energy sector is creating new employment opportunities. At the same time, the demand for skilled workers is increasing. The unique nature of offshore wind energy requires specialised knowledge and skills not usually found in traditional energy sectors. Global Wind Organisation (GWO) training courses come to the rescue.
The GWO is a non-profit organisation that provides standardised safety and technical training for wind energy workers. These trainings cover basic safety requirements for working on wind turbines and wind farms, including working at height, fire safety and first aid. They are not only important to ensure the safety of workers, but also play an important role in creating competencies for offshore wind energy development.
Capt. Alfred Naskręt, Managing Director of the Gdynia Maritime School, talks about the role of technician training in creating the offshore industry – “The offshore industry creates great opportunities for the native industry and the labour market. In order to have a real impact on the preparation of highly specialised staff, we constantly enrich and modernise the training offer. Well-educated technicians are a natural support for the developing offshore wind energy and now they are an important element of developing the country’s economic potential. By investing in human capital now, we ensure the proper development of generations, while maintaining stable climatic conditions.”
Dorota Heiza from the Educational Research Institute, regional leader for the Integrated Qualification System in the Pomeranian Voivodeship, adds – “The dynamic development of offshore wind energy is a milestone in the energy transition process in Poland. With the construction of offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea, a new industry is being created in Poland – offshore wind, which will need qualified specialists with various competences, from designers to assembly workers and, at a later stage, also wind farm service technicians. This is a good time to offer those interested in working in this extremely promising industry the opportunity to acquire and confirm the competences needed in the industry in an easy and transparent manner. We are pleased that companies that will be training staff to work in this industry see the advantages and the need to implement a qualification standard for the OWE industry in Poland and, aware of the importance and significance of industry-specific certificates, are open to cooperation in this area. As the Educational Research Institute, we support the emerging offshore wind industry in Poland in the process of personnel preparation using the solutions and tools of the Integrated Qualification System. The ZSK describes, organises and collects various qualifications needed in the industry, which makes it easier for people interested in career development in the sector to design their development path and enables the validation of qualifications functioning in the sector while guaranteeing high quality of professional certificates issued within its framework.”
One of the main benefits of GWO training is that it provides a standardised framework for developing the competencies needed for offshore wind development. By ensuring that all employees have the same core skills and knowledge, GWO training can improve the overall productivity and efficiency of offshore wind projects. This can lead to increased productivity, reduced costs and better outcomes for both workers and the companies that employ them.
Responding to the main challenges
Analysing the main challenges in preparing personnel for offshore wind in Poland, Karolina Jastrzębska, managing director of windhunter_academy, says – “The most important is the society’s awareness about the role and essence of the topic of renewable energy in Poland. In the case of wind energy, we have to face stereotypes, reluctance or lack of awareness, and changes should start from these elements. Here we come to the most important concept of education – from an early age, high school, to higher education. As windhunter_academy, we cooperate with technical colleges and universities of technology to prepare the staff necessary to carry out activities related to the installation or service of wind turbines. We are retraining workers from other industries, such as mining or fishing. Wind energy is an opportunity for people who are thinking of changing their career path. Looking at the global market, the problem with educated staff is very wide, which is why we must prepare staff for activities that will be undertaken in the coming years on the Baltic Sea. People with a wide range of qualifications will find employment, but above all, technical competencies are welcome, which are necessary for the service and installation of wind turbines.”
Another important aspect of GWO training is that it helps to create a culture of safety in the wind industry. By emphasising the importance of safety in all aspects of wind farm development, GWO training can help prevent accidents and injuries at work. This not only benefits workers, but also contributes to improving the public perception of the wind energy industry, making it more attractive to investors and other stakeholders. This is also emphasised by representatives of GWO industry leaders.
Damian Mathea, chief instructor at the Rojam Safety Centre, points out – “One of the biggest challenges during training to prepare for occupations where there are health and even life-threatening factors for the worker is building safety awareness. It is about making sure that workers realise that their involvement manifests itself in, among other things, an understanding and acceptance of regulations and guidelines that have been developed for them and not against them. Our role is not only to create this awareness in order to prevent accidents, but also to educate future employees on how to handle personal protective equipment and how to deal with situations that pose a risk to their own and other employees’ health and lives”. “Training is also needed because all technicians on a project have similar knowledge and similar patterns of action in specific situations. This is particularly important in emergency situations” – adds Krzysztof Major, president of the Rojam Safety Centre and an instructor.
GWO training also plays an important role in attracting employees into the wind energy industry. As the industry continues to grow, the need for skilled workers will increase. By providing high quality training and certification programmes, GWO helps to ensure that workers have necessary skills and knowledge.
Artur Ambrożewicz, CEO of Vulcan Training & Consultancy, points to the huge potential – “Polish specialists are educated and competent, yet due to the lack of wind farm projects in Poland, they are taking jobs abroad. The challenge for Polish offshore pioneers will be to encourage Polish specialists to work on domestic projects. As Vulcan Training & Consultancy, we provide comprehensive safety training for specialists operating offshore wind platforms. In addition, we attach great importance to long-term activities – that is, educating and expanding knowledge of the offshore and onshore wind industry among the youngest. We engage children and young people in a variety of activities so that they can get closer to the industry, learn about training opportunities, among other things, in the area of technical professions matching the industry, especially the profession of wind turbine technician. In 2022 alone, nearly two thousand children and young people visited our centre. We organise and participate in educational events for children and young people, such as: Fridays for Children, Crafts Fair, “Szczecin invites to study”. Together with Simply Blue, we invited schools to participate in a competition that involved designing and then creating a floating offshore wind turbine platform.”
Polish training centres are among the industry leaders, providing specialists to work on wind farms around the world. According to GWO, the training market is growing rapidly – Europe has been in its centre for a long time. You will be able to meet representatives of leading companies from Poland on the ‘GWO Island’ at EDU OFFSHORE WIND on 14-15 March in Gdansk.