A new course preparing students for the future renewables’ jobs market has been launched by Pembrokeshire College. Two global renewable energy companies - EDF Renewables UK and DP Energy – have joined forces with Pembrokeshire College and designed a curriculum enrichment programme that promotes the world of work to 16-18 learners.
The 2-year course - Destination Renewables - will educate learners about renewable energy technologies and project development processes across a host of technologies such as wave, tidal, onshore wind, solar and offshore wind. Working collaboratively with industry partners to showcase the diverse range of careers within the sector, the aim is to bridge the skills gap and engender an inclusive work environment, all the while supporting net zero targets and maximising regional benefits.
In September, the pilot programme will be rolled out to Diploma Level 3 Engineering students, and a further opportunity for Business, IT and Construction learners to participate in sessions. Following on from the first year pilot, DP Energy and EDF hope that the course can be offered to a wider cohort of students to attract skills and talent from all disciplines into the diverse career pathways offered by the sector.
Pembrokeshire is already a centre for energy, having played host to established technologies such as gas and petrochemicals, it is now providing a home for emerging sectors in renewables. EDF Renewables UK and DP Energy are themselves developing Gwynt Glas, up to 1 GW of floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea, off the coast of Pembrokeshire.
Nancy McLean of EDF Renewables UK who is leading the Gwynt Glas project, said: “With an increasing focus on tackling climate change and securing energy supplies, renewable technologies have to be developed and rolled out quickly, and we need to build a skilled workforce to deliver our plans. The partnership with Pembrokeshire College helps us to develop homegrown talent and meets the Welsh Government’s aspirations to develop green skills to achieve net zero. In addition to developing the Gwynt Glas floating offshore wind project, EDF Renewables UK is investing in onshore wind, solar, and battery projects right across Wales, so future career opportunities are plentiful.”
Chris Williams, Head of Development UK and New Markets at DP Energy, said: “There is a wealth of renewables expertise in the County, which is one of the reasons why we recently opened our UK headquarters here in Pembroke Dock. By introducing learners to the many career pathways within renewables we believe we can build the workforce needed to support projects like Gwynt Glas and DP Energy’s wider ambitions in Wales including tidal, onshore wind, solar, batteries and hydrogen. Having this skill base is crucial for Wales to maintain its position as a leader in renewable energy generation and technology development and is knowledge that can be exported across the world.”
Pembrokeshire College is the County’s largest provider of post-16 education and Head of Engineering, Arwyn Williams, said: “The College is delighted to be working so closely with industry to develop the talents needed for future careers in a sector that is so important to all our lives, and one which already has an established home right here in Pembrokeshire. Like our delivery partners – EDF Renewables UK and DP Energy – we are keen to maximise the regional benefits that renewables projects can bring, and we will focus our efforts on developing a skilled local labour force to work across all disciplines.”
Destination Renewables is underpinned by the skills and talent programme of the Swansea Bay City Deal, jointly funded by the Welsh and UK Governments, alongside private sector investment. Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum will support the renewables industry in the delivery of this private sector and education partnership. Their specialist education team will manage high-quality industry content standards to ensure a positive learner journey.