A State-led programme to train wind turbine technicians is being expanded as the need to move to domestically generated sustainable energy becomes more urgent due to the rise of electricity and gas prices.
Minister for Innovation and Science Simon Harris announced the expansion of Green Tech Skillnet’s wind turbine technician programme at Raheenleagh Wind Farm near Arklow, Co Wicklow, on Tuesday.
“With energy prices increasing, the need to move to domestically generated sustainable energy is becoming ever more apparent,” said Skillnet Ireland. “The programme will provide a vital pipeline of workers with the green energy skills needed to meet Ireland’s 2030 targets for CO₂ emissions reduction and renewable energy provision.”
The programme is aimed at people with electrical, mechanical or engineering backgrounds and, once complete, the trainee will be certified as a wind turbine technician.
The course is delivered in two stages, the first being in-person technical training followed by an industry placement.
Wind Energy Ireland director of external affairs Justin Moran said: “With a massive ramp-up in investment in onshore and offshore wind in the coming years, there is a skills shortage in the number of wind technicians in Ireland. This programme designed in partnership with enterprise will train 30 wind turbine technicians in 2022, providing essential skills needed [to] help meet Ireland’s Climate Action Plan targets.”
Skillnet Ireland chief executive Paul Healy said the organisation was “committed to delivering a talent pipeline so businesses are equipped with the skills needed to take climate action, which we all know is urgently needed”.
“We are working across multiple sectors, from FDI to SMEs, to develop industry-led training and upskilling initiatives which will be critical to achieving our climate action targets,” he added.
Skillnet’s five-year strategy, unveiled in 2020, targets increased engagement with business and industry, providing supports for up to 100,000 workers a year by 2025 and doubling investment to €100 million.
More than 22,500 companies availed of the agency’s services last year, with 93 per cent classed as small- and medium-sized enterprises, and a total of 86,500 participants recorded in 2021, a 5 per cent rise year on year.