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Jobs In Wind Turbine Engineering – Onshore and Offshore
Wind Turbine Jobs & What It Takes To Work in Wind Turbine Engineering
With electricity generation increasing by 715% between the years 2009 to 2020, employment in wind farm engineering has also increased significantly with offshore wind farms alone employing 7,200 full time equivalent employees in 2019.
Turnover from wind energy was nearly £6 billion in 2019 and according to the National Grid 2020 was the “greenest year on record” for Britain.
So, with production, turnover, and employment on the rise, we take a more detailed look at what it takes to work as an engineer within the onshore and offshore wind energy sector.
Qualifications to Work in Wind Turbine Engineering
Starting with the qualifications required to work on a wind farm, you would need either a foundation degree, a higher national diploma or degree in renewable energy engineering, electrical or mechanical engineering, or electrical power engineering.
Alternatively, you could apply for an apprenticeship. This can be done by going through an engineering technician or maintenance and operations engineering technician apprenticeship.
However, this can be subject to you receiving 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including English and Maths for an advanced apprenticeship or 4 or 5 GCSEs also at grades 9 to 4 and A levels for a higher or degree apprenticeship.
The same GCSEs could help you to get a place on a college course with a view to getting a trainee job with a wind turbine engineering company, courses including:
Level 3 Certificate in Mechanical or Electrical Engineering
Level 3 Diploma in Maintenance Engineering Technology
T Level in Maintenance, Installation and Repair for Engineering and Manufacturing
If you have electrical or mechanical engineering experience from another industry or from the armed forces, you could also directly apply for a position with a wind turbine engineering company.
Knowledge and Skill Set to be a Wind Turbine Engineer
With wind turbines being situated all around the country, both on land and at sea, a wind turbine engineer is required to travel for work. Therefore, a full clean driving licence is desirable in the eyes of any potential employers.
Skills required would include a good knowledge of engineering science and technology, the abilities to use and maintain tools and equipment as well as repairing and maintaining machines and systems. A good knowledge of Maths and computer operating systems, hardware and the main software packages would also be essential.
Wind turbines are substantially large structures which means that working as part of a team is the safest procedure to get any task completed. This means that being able to work well within a team is a must. There’s no guarantee that any two jobs would be the same so potential employers need good problem solvers and employees who are willing to be flexible within their working days.
Safety training will be provided to each employee, as it is in all engineering jobs, but being able to work at a considerable height safely is a necessity due to the sheer height of them. Certain tasks will require you to work on the outside and at the top, which can be 700 feet high and many miles out to sea, so being able to carry out these procedures safely and efficiently is a key factor in securing the job.
Employers will advise on all relevant safety training.
Working Day to Day in Wind Turbine Engineering
Maintenance on wind turbines that operate all year round might occur between one and three times yearly and technicians would be required to travel to worksites to perform any necessary maintenance or repairs.
During these checks, you may check Internal and external repairs (including climbing), inspecting the integrity of the turbine, fitting electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic systems as well as carrying out routine maintenance.
Other day-to-day duties could include installation, either on land or out to sea of wind turbine towers, testing turbine blades and their control systems, finding and fixing faults, recording work/job details and filling in relevant safety reports and running checks to make sure electrical substations and cables are all operating safely.
The working environment could be out at sea or in remote rural areas, at height and outdoors in all weather conditions with the requirement to wear safety clothing.
Salary and Career Path for a Wind Turbine Engineer
The average salary starts at £23,000 a year for a new starter, and this can be expected to go up to £42,000 a year for an experienced wind turbine engineer which can be expected to work around 37-40 hours a week. Being on call may be necessary on occasion, depending on the exact role.
Progression is possible through becoming an authorised technician, supervising a team, and dealing with health and safety. Further training and progression could see you employed as an energy engineer, a control systems engineer or an operations and maintenance manager.
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