Five Steps to Landing a Wind Turbine Technician Role
It’s an exciting time for the wind power industry here in Scotland with the first ever floating wind farm opening on the 18th of October off the coast of Peterhead and millions of pounds being invested across the board into onshore and offshore wind developments. So what better time to finally break into renewables and make moves to become a wind turbine technician?
We’ve put together a quick ‘how to’ guide covering the basics of preparing yourself for a wind turbine technician job. Whether you’re looking for an entry level position, or you are more experienced candidate looking to move from another industry, these top tips will help you get yourself ready and qualified.
1. Learn and train
Whether you’re an experienced technician looking to change industries or looking for your first position, there are many companies are willing to train technicians on the job. However, one of the most challenging parts of landing your first role can be building that initial experience and knowledge. If you’re worried that a lack of background in the industry is holding you back, there are a wide variety of options that will allow you to learn and develop those key skills.
Fife College offers a one year multidisciplinary renewable engineering technician course, and Ayrshire College offers a City and Guilds one year wind turbine technician qualification. Both of these are perfect for aspiring technicians with any level of experience outside of renewables; they will prepare you for the job and show you are ready to work and put your new knowledge into practice. If a year of studying isn’t for you and you want to get stuck right in, there are quick courses that provide industry and technical insight to add to your existing skillset to give you that extra edge. For instance, the European Energy Centre for instance offer a SQA accredited two days long ‘Wind Power Qualification’ that can be taken online or at Napier University.
2. Get Certified
Academic courses are a beneficial, but not a necessary stage in targeting technician roles. However, certain qualifications, licenses and certificates are key requirements. Get a driving license if you don’t have one already; not only are a lot of sites in remote locations, but almost all positions will specify a license as a core requirement. You will often be expected to travel to different sites across the country. The good news is, some organisations offer car allowances or access to company vehicles, you just have to bring the license!
Specific turbine qualifications may need to be undertaken. For example, employers frequently look for wind turbine safety rules (WTSR) or Vestas certification. Requirements change role to role so it is crucial you fully read the job description. You can also find a niche and take training courses in specific types of turbine or blade. Although this limits the variety of positions you’d be qualified for, targeting a specific area can give you a strong chance when these opportunities arise. Inevitably, many courses come with financial implications. They can be completed and paid for yourself on or offline, but some companies may put you through your training so it is crucial you express a will to build these skills from your first contact with the organization. This will show your commitment and puts you at less of a disadvantage against others who may already be qualified.
Working at a height is an integral part of being a wind turbine technician. You also need to be physically fit, so taking up climbing as a hobby is a great way to keep in shape and simultaneously get comfortable with heights. There are plenty of recreational training centers such as Glenmore Lodge and EICA at Ratho that offer classes and certificates at all levels and have the facilities for you to just give it a go by yourself. It’s also possible to build up some related height experience in completely different industries; taking up work or odd jobs doing window or gutter cleaning actually puts you in very similar environments and shows your capability working in them!
It’s also possible to pick up an industry qualification showing you know the ropes; this is especially beneficial if you’re from a more ‘hands off’ background. For instance, Talon NDT, who have sites in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Blackpool, offer a variety of training including Industrial Rope Access Trade Association. If specifically targeting rope access roles, it’s commonplace for employers to look for this at level 1. Specifically involving heights, employers generally require a CSCS work at heights card which can be taken by Construction Support at a variety of UK locations. As with other elements of learning on the job some employers can put you through these courses and certifications, but if you have the means to put yourself through them you’ll be at a strong advantage when applying for positions.
4. Know your lingo, know your facts
When applying or interviewing for jobs it goes without saying that some background research into the role and company is a necessary step. However, it is particularly important if you’re looking at entry level jobs or coming from a science or engineering background outside of renewables. Showing you know what’s involved in the job, the names and details of the turbines, and how they work will not only make you better prepared when it comes to the interview, but show yourself as a knowledgeable candidate who is ready to learn more on the job. Make sure you have the right lingo to reflect your knowledge and interest in the industry; think turbines and blades, not windmills and fans…
If you’re looking into undertaking formal qualifications you will pick up this information on the course alongside more advanced knowledge, but this isn’t the only way to pick up the basics. There is a wide variety of information and easy to understand guides online explaining the ins and outs of turbines, such as on Good Energy’s website. There are also of plenty wind power and renewable organisations you can follow on Twitter and LinkedIn, such as Scottish Renewables who regularly post updates and articles about the industry. The fresher and deeper your knowledge, the more appealing you are to hiring managers.
5. Show your skills
Make sure the right skills and keywords are on your CV. This is particularly true for service engineers/technicians looking to move into renewables from another industry; a lot of companies are willing to train you up in the sector on the job, but will be looking to make sure the base skills are there. Does the role look for knowledge of hydraulics or maintenance? Make those skills clear. It’s worth remembering that this is for the benefit of both employer and candidate. It might be assumed within your current or previous sector that certain skills and experience come hand in hand with the amount of time served and your job title; but hiring managers might not know this. Make sure all technical experience is included even if it’s not related to the wind industry.
Don’t just focus on STEM experience; more and more roles are looking for demonstrable experience of basic IT. Generally this is Microsoft office programs such as Word and Excel, and even if you might not think it’s relevant, it’s worth indicating if you have an awareness and experience of this software. If your tech skills are feeling a bit out of touch there are plenty of excellent tutorials on YouTube, or if there’s someone quite tech-savvy among your friends or family you could ask them for a quick refreshed course before your interview.
If you want to get more information about this, or are ready to break into the renewables
industry and make a move to a new position, contact our experienced energy team:
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