SSE Renewables apprentices Jasmine Allen and Braidon Nurse are making their first forays into their careers in the energy industry – at arguably its most exciting moment.
With national apprenticeship week underway and our own apprenticeship application process open climate action is high on the agenda. And with renewables set to play the starring role in the UK becoming carbon neutral, it’s a sector that’s buzzing with opportunity.
Jasmine and Braidon – who joined the business alongside 100 other new recruits in September last year – will qualify as wind turbine technicians on the Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm off coast of Suffolk, giving them an unique insight.
With SSE investing £6bn over five years to help decarbonise the UK and Ireland, they’ll play a significant role in the quest for the low carbon world of tomorrow.
We caught-up with them as they set out on their apprenticeship journey, going through practical training before heading offshore for the first time.
The below Q&A gives a little insight into their experiences.
Q) What attracted you to career in renewables?
Jasmine: Being a part of an industry that is set to play such a huge role in the future of energy. It’s exciting to be involved in maintaining and creating a better future for everyone. It’s also fantastic to be able to face new challenges every day as the industry grows.
Braidon: When I was taught about all the different types of renewable energy in high school it really intrigued me to how energy can be made in a much cleaner way.
Q) How has the training been going?
Jasmine: The training has been fantastic, it’s been a real eye opener. We’ve met so many fantastic people, who have been able to share their experience and stories about their time in the industry.
Braidon: The training has been relatable. The trainers and venues we’ve visited have all been great and helped us learn the skills we need.
Q) The survival at sea course in particular is a bit different from your standard office job! Can you tell us a bit about it?
Jasmine: The sea survival was fantastic, it really puts you through your paces, it’s also a great opportunity to ask questions if you are worried about anything. It really shows how important team work is in those scenarios.
Braidon: Our sea survival was really good fun! It gave me a massive insight into how bad the weather could get offshore and how I would deal with the situations that we were given. For example, we were given the scenario of our ship sinking and we needed to get our life jackets on etc and get everyone off the boat and into the life raft as quickly and safely as possible.
Q) Were you nervous going offshore?
Jasmine: I think the first time going offshore was a mixture of nerves and excitement, it was a fantastic day and was great to finally get out there and experience what a working day would really be like.
Braidon: I was nervous my first time offshore, luckily the weather wasn’t too bad though. I took part in three transfers in all and helped do a PM service, which stands for Preventive Maintenance. These are jobs which are carried out regularly; checking and changing the inside and outside lights of the turbine for instance.
Q) Can you describe your feelings ascending a turbine on Greater Gabbard for the first time?
Jasmine: It was amazing to see the sheer size of the turbine and the wind farm, but also to conquer all the initial nerves. It was also good to finally put what we had been reading and learning into practice, look at where things are on the turbine and to really see and start to understand how they work.
Braidon: I think the first turbine I climbed up was D06 in the GA field. I was excited to get my first transfer done. It was incredible to get to the Transition Piece level and view all the other turbines in the field. Seeing how big they are inside was also fascinating.
Q) Not many people will experience working offshore or working on a turbine at height? Is the working environment of career in renewables something which attracted you?
Jasmine: I think that the working at height element is very cool. It was quite nerve-racking the first time as it doesn’t seem that high until you are up there. But the views, which are fantastic and very beautiful, make working at height more attractive.
Braidon: Yes, I’ve always wanted to work offshore from when I was at high school. A few of my dad’s friends worked offshore and used to tell me all about it and it just intrigued me to work out at sea.
Q) SSE Renewables will soon begin construction of the world’s largest offshore windfarm in Dogger Bank and Scotland’s largest in Seagreen. What do you think about the future of the industry?
Jasmine: I think that the future is looking very positive for the renewable energy industry. With the projects that are underway now, and those in the pipeline, the sector will continue to grow and grow, creating more clean energy and jobs.
Braidon: I think that this industry is only going to continue to grow and its great news that SSE is at the centre of that in the construction of Dogger Bank and Seagreen Offshore Wind Farms. As well as generating clean green energy, these projects will also create jobs for people constructing the sites and the for the people who will maintain and run the windfarm.
Q) How have your new and more experienced colleagues supported you?
Jasmine: Our colleagues have been brilliant, they have helped us with any questions, or pointed us in the right direction to find the information. They have also been very helpful in telling us how to fill out any forms related to our new roles.
Braidon: Having more experienced people around has helped a lot. Everyone has been very friendly and hasn’t hesitated to lend a hand or share information. Colleagues have also been a great help going offshore, ensuring all our safety gear is secure or helping with questions about the operational aspects of the turbine, talking me through how the turbine works and which components do what.
Q) Would you recommend a renewables apprenticeship to others? If so why?
Jasmine: I think the industry offers some fantastic opportunities and the chance to learn new skills every day, many of them transferable and that will only continue as renewable energy plays such a big part in the future of the country and continues to grow as more projects get underway.
Braidon: Yes, I would highly recommend a renewables apprenticeship to anyone who is willing to learn about renewable energy and all about the turbines. I’m very happy with how my apprenticeship is going and would say to anyone who is interested to get involved.