On our website, we recently brought you the news that two of our Wind Turbine Technician students had joined Community Windpower Ltd on a two week work placement in Frodsham.
James Seymour and Billy Shearer were interviewed from the many students who had registered their interest in the opportunity. Almost everyone in the class sent in their CVs for consideration – after the placement was heralded as a huge success last year, the first time we’d worked with Community Windpower.
Andrew Brown, one of two students selected in 2015, said “I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Community Windpower. I have learned a lot and I am very sure this will benefit myself for future employment.”
Now that Andrew has finished his studies, he has indeed found employment within the wind energy industry.
So we’ve decided to catch up with James and Billy to find out how they found the placement this year.
I thought it was a great opportunity to get hands-on experience within the renewables industry, and see what goes on behind the scenes. The course we’re doing at Ayrshire College is a lot more maintenance based so I was interested to see how it works as a business, and what goes on behind the maintenance role.
I’ve always been fascinated by the technology. I went up to Whitelees one day through my last job with Scottish Power and as soon as I saw it for myself, I realised what I wanted to do. I wanted to work with these machines and get into the renewables industry.
It’s a job to be proud of, I feel like I’m making a bit of a difference.
So we went away for two weeks, just outside of Chester. The first week I was with the Planning and Development team, where I was in charge of doing a site assessment report. They gave me a location and took me through the process of finding it on the map, putting all the constraints on top of it – the issues and boundaries that they come across – and then I had to report on it. At the end of the two weeks I had to actually present to the team, with the opportunity for it to be turned into a live project.
The second week was with the Operations and Technical team, dealing with SCADA systems. They monitor the windfarm and the turbines, and on a daily basis download all the data from the turbine: how much energy it’s produced, what faults occurred, any downtime on the turbine. They then need to report on that.
We learn a lot about SCADA systems within the College so it was good to get hands-on experience of working with them.
One of the highlights for me was going to one of their windfarms at Dalry. They took us on site and we got into the base of the turbine. We met with some of the techs and the site manager who gave us plenty of advice too.
The experience was totally invaluable.
I decided to apply because I was really looking for as much experience as I could get from this industry. I thought if I could get in with Community Windpower, it’d be a good start.
Billy and I swapped during the two weeks, so the first week I was working with the SCADA systems, communicating with the people working with the turbines.
The whole experience was brilliant. You got to see a site from development all the way up to operations. When a site’s actually in operation you then got to see the working of it on a day-to-day basis.
I’d thought about getting into the industry for ages. I’d worked for Motorola in East Kilbride and then when that was closed down, I gave it a lot of thought, but someone talked me out of it. It’s always been at the back of my mind and finally I got back around to it; I’m really enjoying it.
A big thanks to Community Windpower for taking us down, being really accepting of us and helping us out with everything that we were asking. They gave us a great insight into what the industry is like.
Ben Fielding is a Project Manager with Community Windpower, and he has been instrumental in developing the company’s relationship with the College.
Ben said “The placement scheme has been designed to provide the students with invaluable work experience within the industry.
“Ayrshire College and Community Windpower are committed to further student placements.”