A 20-year-old aspiring Wind Technician, Henry Lister, went through his GWO Basic Safety training with Maersk Training. Join him on his journey.
Hi Henry, tell us a bit more about yourself?
Hello, I’m Henry Lister. I live in Scartho, Grimsby, with my family and my girlfriend. I’m 20 years old. I am just starting my career in the offshore renewable energy sector. In my spare time, I go to the gym to weight train every day, I read a lot of history books, and my favourite thing to do is practising Italian. Because my girlfriend comes from Florence, Italy, I have spent the last eight months teaching myself Italian, learning about the culture and most importantly, eating the food.
And what attracted you to this apprenticeship and wanting to pursue a career in the Renewables Offshore Sector?
This apprenticeship wasn’t my first choice, but I think it will be helpful to having background knowledge in electrical motors and generators. Understanding the basic electrical principles of how motors and generators work will help me understand the whole electrical generation process more easily. I have seen motors and generators from getting built from scratch all the way to being installed and commissioned on site.
From secondary school age, I wanted to do something engineering related. Maths and Science were always my favourite subjects. The offshore renewable energy sector attracted me the most because I love how basic scientific principles are combined with modern technology and solutions to create sustainable energy. Offshore wind is at an exciting stage right now, and it’s having a massive impact on places like Grimsby, bringing jobs and development to the area. Future generations will look at this time period as one of the most significant because of how the world’s attitude towards sustainability is being changed and improved. I don’t think I will ever become an astronaut, so offshore wind is the next best way to contribute to future sci-fi technology.
A day in the life of a GWO BST delegate
Day 1: Manual Handling and Working at Height
I started the day with manual handling. This led into starting the Working at Height part of the course. I had no experience working at height or rope access, but both instructors used the classroom session to explain things thoroughly in a way that I understood. When moving to the working at height practical, I already felt confident, and it didn’t take long to feel comfortable with what I was doing. After practising different climbing techniques, we were introduced to a piece of equipment called a “Milan”. This equipment is used to have a controlled descent from the escape hatches on a turbine. While I had to pretend I was evacuating from a turbine that’s on fire, I couldn’t help but feel like I was at Centre Parcs doing some fun high ropes challenge!
Day 2: Working at Height
We continued the working at height course by learning some rescuing techniques. I found the techniques interesting to learn, and I liked trying to figure out the steps of each rescue for myself. It is an important thing to learn because it is just one of the things from this course that I could use to save someone’s life in an emergency or someone could use to save mine.
Day 3: Fire Awareness
The practical part of this course involved using a method of escaping from a smoke-filled room, which looked like a weird dance. I felt a bit ridiculous practicing it, but once I used it to escape from a room with a blindfold on, I was really surprised at how well it worked. It was also the first time I had ever used a fire extinguisher. I used 4 different types of extinguishers to tackle different types of fires that may occur on a turbine.
Day 4: First Aid
On the final day, I did first aid. This was the first time I had done a first aid course before, so I made sure to take in as much information as possible. While it was mainly in the context of turbine first aid, I learnt basic techniques, like using a defibrillator, that can be used in normal day to day life in an emergency. I feel more confident knowing that I will know what to do in a situation like that, and it makes the first aid box under my car seat a bit more useful than it was before.
Was the GWO BST course what you expected?
I was expecting the GWO BST course to be like most training courses, something that will be a bit uninspiring but something that I must do. This was not the case. It was much more fun and practical, which allowed me to understand the things I was learning in the classroom a lot better.
What advice would you give to others who are looking to make the move into the industry?
I don’t have a lot of advice, but what has helped me the most so far has just been talking to people. Either in real life, like at training courses, or online, like on LinkedIn. Talking to different people that work in the industry and asking them questions and advice has already helped, and it’s something that I think will become more and more useful as my career progresses.
What’s next for you, Henry?
Now that I have completed the GWO BST, I will be looking for my first job in the renewable energy sector. For the next few weeks, I have a temporary job working as an NDT assistant at a local oil refinery. I’m going to be using this time to look for an opportunity within the offshore wind sector.