Event for students ‘fires up imaginations’ by showcasing offshore wind industry opportunities.

Held at East Point Academy on Thursday 30 March, the Lowestoft Skills Conference was a hive of activity with students and experts from the offshore wind industry enjoying a successful showcase of career opportunities.

Led by Nwes World of Work (WoW) and supported by OrbisEnergy, the event connected employers with educational institutions, and focussed on raising aspirations relating to STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to help to secure an energy industry workforce for the future.

In the region of 450 students and staff from high schools across the area were able to talk to industry leaders, including ScottishPower Renewables, Innogy, James Fisher Marine Services, Global Wind Service, Survitec Group, Cefas, and Seajacks, as well as enjoying the interactive activities they had brought along.

Jan Cockburn, Education Projects Manager for Nwes WoW said: “The Lowestoft Skills Conference at East Point Academy has been staged to inform and engage students about potential career opportunities across the offshore wind supply chain.”

Introducing the event was Johnathan Reynolds, Business Development lead from OrbisEnergy, who spoke about the rapid growth of offshore wind in Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth and the wider region. He encouraged students to make the most of the event by being inquisitive and asking lots of questions of the businesses supporting the event to broaden their knowledge.

“The support from business has been incredible and underlines how important major industry players take the development of the next generation of young learners who could be part of this fast-growing sector. With the sheer scale of offshore wind in the east – across projects already generating power, under construction, and in development – there will be thousands of new job prospects over the coming years. I believe it’s our collective responsibility to educate, inform, and inspire today’s youth who will be tomorrow’s workforce.”

Joseph, a student from East Point Academy said.  “I’m interested in engineering.  I’ve looked around the stands today and have even tried on some of the gear – it was hot but a good experience!”

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“This event serves to showcase the kinds of opportunities that are available in the local area.  The key feature of which is to bring the operations to students, show them what is available, thus firing up their imaginations and raising aspirations.”  East Point Academy Vice Principal, Damian Weare

The Lowestoft Skills Conference has been in the planning since November 2016 and has received an extremely positive response from the energy industry major players, key developers and local industry businesses.

John Best from The Ogden Trust was delighted to be attending and supporting the event.

“The Lowestoft Skills Conference is important, as it is encouraging a joint approach from industry and education to help create career paths for young people.”

Agreeing with him was David Harper from James Fisher Marine Services, who had brought an operational subsea ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) worth around £100,000 to the event to help to engage and inspire students.

“As a 19-year old trainee engineer, I wish I’d had this opportunity when I was at school.”  He said.

Complementing the marketplace of industry stands and activities were workshops delivered by Scottish Power Renewables and Siemens Wind Power, Cefas, James Fisher Marine Services and SSE, and Global Wind Service, offering more in-depth detail about their work.

Great Yarmouth High School Careers Advisor, Suzanne Pulford was impressed with the showcase of activities and workshops on offer.

“This event is vastly important to our Year 10’s to understand opportunities, resources and future developments on their own doorsteps.”  She said.

Acknowledging that events such as these can act as vehicles to inspire the workforce of the next generation, East Point Academy Vice Principal, Damian Weare comments.

“This event serves to showcase the kinds of opportunities that are available in the local area.  The key feature of which is to bring the operations to students, show them what is available, thus firing up their imaginations and raising aspirations.”

Mr Weare continues. “Knowledge is key to their future.”

Find out more about Nwes World of Work and how it helps to shape the workforce of the future.

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