Tasked with heading up a major project on their home turf felt like a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for GE Renewable Energy’s Nathan Fahey and Peter Dixon.

Now the pair who are leading the company’s involvement in the Dogger Bank Wind Farm project are making sure they leave behind a legacy for the area with the appointment of 14 new offshore wind turbine generator technician apprentices.

Delivering the apprenticeships alongside Redcar and Cleveland College, GE project director Nathan said: “Investing in future talent seemed like the ideal way to make a tangible difference right here in the Tees Valley.”

“These are incredible apprenticeships that will see the learners trained in both mechanical and electrical engineering, making them well rounded installation technicians and opening up so many future opportunities for them.”

Having installed projects all over the world with General Electric, Nathan, who is originally from Redcar, and deputy project director Peter from Hartlepool, explained that they have never had the opportunity to deliver a project so close to home.

Peter said: “We both jumped at the chance to be back in the region where we are from and wanted to make sure we left a lasting legacy by investing in the area’s young people.”

First offering 10 apprenticeship places at the college, with a mix of level 3 and level 4 qualifications, the quality and quantity of the applications quickly saw them increase the total to 14.

Nathan said: “There were hundreds of applicants and the selection process was difficult.  We could have filled the roles ten times over.”

Among the new recruits is Ryan, a dad-of-five from Redcar.  He said: “Engineering is something that I have always wanted to do, so this is an amazing opportunity for me.”

A former SSI worker, the 33-year-old has spent the last few years self-employed as a handyman.  A qualified painter and decorator, slinger and shot blaster, to name but a few, he said: “I have kept training all the time in order to be a decent handyman.”

It was after the Covid-19 lockdowns struck and work dried up that he thought about retraining as an electrician and is now studying a HNC in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, at the college.

He said: “When I saw the GE apprenticeship come up it was just ideal timing for me. Though with so much competition, it didn’t feel real when I took the call to say that I had got it.”

GE Renewable Energy is supplying wind turbines to Dogger Bank Wind Farm located between 130km and 190km off the North-east coast.  The project will be delivered in three phases by joint venture partners SSE Renewables, Equinor and Vårgrønn.  Once all three phases are complete in 2026, it will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

GE deputy project director Peter said: “This means there will be opportunities to bring the apprentices through the project, so they complete with knowledge, skills and experience.

“I would have loved an opportunity like this when I was first starting out. These learners will be helping install massive turbines in the middle of the North Sea.”

Redcar and Cleveland College’s principal Jason Faulkner said: “It is fantastic to be working with GE Renewable Energy to bring these opportunities to these learners. The future career chances this has the potential to bring, opportunities in building, commissioning and maintaining equipment on and offshore, and the potential to go on to install projects all over the world, is remarkable.”

GE Apprentices Jessie Baguley And Peter Dixon 1 GE Apprentices 1 Ryan Stubbs
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