ScottishPower Renewables’ first-ever onshore wind apprentices helped the company mark National Apprentice Week by highlighting the benefits and potential of working to deliver a clean green energy future.
Ben Findlay (19) from Strathaven and Denver Pollock (18) from Alva joined the company as Operation and Maintenance Apprentices shortly before the start of the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow and are now hard at work and thoroughly enjoying their introduction to the renewables industry.
The four-year apprenticeship training programme includes classroom studies at Ayrshire College in Ayr – leading to HNC qualifications in Electrical Power Engineering: Wind Turbine Maintenance and Electrical Engineering – combined with on-the-job learning and work experience opportunities that bring the learning to life.
This includes working at heights training and both Ben and Denver are excited about putting that into practice on actual turbines.
On completion of the apprenticeship programme, they will become fully qualified Operational Technicians and work within the Field Operations Team looking after ScottishPower’s onshore renewables assets.
Ben initially studied electrical and mechanical engineering at Strathclyde University. However, he decided his interests lay in a more practical and hands-on role, and the new onshore apprenticeship gave him the ideal opportunity to combine both education and practical work experience.
He said: “Renewable energy is going to be such an important part of all our futures – it will always be there – and I knew it was an industry that could really offer me places to go. It was too much of an opportunity to let it pass me by and I’m so glad I took the chance, applied and am now one of the first two onshore apprentices within the business. It’s brilliant.”
Denver joined the apprentice programme straight from school where he became really interested in climate change and the responsibilities we all have to save the planet. After researching the different potential opportunities available, he decided the onshore apprenticeship route was the way to go.
He said: “I was really keen to keep learning and with my interest in how we create a greener and better future for ourselves and the planet, the renewables apprenticeship was the perfect way to build my knowledge and expertise in an industry that suits me. I’m really excited to have found a role that ticks all these boxes and could offer me a career for life. “
Lindsay McQuade, CEO of ScottishPower Renewables, said: “It’s a really exciting time to be joining the renewables industry, with more and more awareness of, and focus on, the need for action to deliver a Net Zero future. Ben and Denver are now part of that – working at the heart of our onshore business to deliver the clean green energy that will power how we live, how we work and how we travel.
“It’s fantastic to be in a position to support young people into roles like this, based at the UK’s largest onshore windfarm, that will allow them to grow and develop into our next generation of technicians and engineers – setting them up for a bright and prosperous future.
“While Ben and Denver are our first onshore apprentices, they certainly won’t be the last. The UK needs to quadruple renewable generation over the next 30 years to meet Net Zero targets, and we have ambitious plans to double our capacity by 2025 and treble it by 2030 – so there will be lots of opportunities to come.
“Apprenticeships are a great way to open the door into the renewables industry and I look forward to seeing more young people follow in Ben and Denver’s footsteps.”
ScottishPower Renewables is currently recruiting for its next Operation and Maintenance Apprenticeship, starting in August.