Equinor and Polenergia - attractive employers for young people
Several thousand people - primary and high school students - visited the Equinor and Polenergia stand at the first EDU Offshore Wind Career Fair, held in Gdansk on March 14-15. This is a good sign, proving that the offshore wind industry and our Bałtyk projects can be an attractive place for them to work.
EDU Offshore Wind is the first such large and comprehensive educational event in Poland. For two days, the AmberExpo exhibition center was visited by more than 5,000 students from about 100 high schools, as well as their parents, students, graduates and those looking for a career change. All those interested were able to meet with more than 70 companies and institutions in the offshore wind energy sector and get in touch with future employers, including Equinor and Polenergia. The companies are jointly developing three 3 GW wind farm projects in the Baltic and are already looking for specialists to operate them. Poland's growing offshore wind industry will soon need tens of thousands of skilled workers. Equinor's and Polenergia's investments alone will give employment to some 10,000 people over the lifetime of the wind farms in the Baltic Sea.
The development of the new sector presents opportunities for new jobs, but also challenges in terms of the need to train specialists to work in the offshore industry. Already it is necessary to think not only about the engineers needed in the construction phase of offshore wind farms, but also about the technicians taking care of their servicing in the operational phase. Such experts will be needed by Equinor and Polenergia for the service and maintenance base in Łeba. Up to 100 specialists will find employment there. To work at the service base for offshore wind farms, both office workers (20 people) and specialists going out to sea (about 80 people) will be sought. The latter group may find it tempting to work in shifts, assuming a two-week rest after a 14-day shift.
During the two days of EDU Offshore Wind, at the stand of Equinor and Polenergia, young people could talk directly with representatives of the companies, deepen their knowledge of labor market expectations, the recruitment process, desired competencies, as well as take part in a knowledge contest and win eco goodies.
- We are pleased to see such great interest among young people in a career in the offshore wind industry. They see it as a promising, attractive place to work, enabling development and access to knowledge and innovative technologies. It is all the more pleasing because building the right personnel is one of the main conditions for the success of our investments. Personnel will be needed not only during the construction phase, but also to operate and service the turbines on the Baltic Sea throughout the life of the wind farms - says Maciej Stryjecki, director of the Offshore Wind Energy Department at Polenergia.
The industry will need specialists in a wide range of fields: from offshore structural and hydrotechnical design and project management, environmental law, maritime law, health and safety to manufacturing and services.
- We need almost everyone who likes to work and develop their competencies, because the construction of offshore wind farms is a very interdisciplinary undertaking. Specialized or technical education is important. Lack of experience does not take away job opportunities - argued Michał Sękal from Equinor during an oxford debate, in which its participants were expected to argue about whether offshore wind is already an attractive job for graduates. There was no dispute, however, as everyone, panelists and audience alike, answered in the affirmative.
- We need people who want to change the world for the better. We need that good energy of young people. We will develop our own educational initiatives, but we will also oblige our major component and service providers to get involved in training and internship programs for graduates. Siemens Gamesa or Hitachi have been doing this brilliantly for years - concluded Maciej Stryjecki, who moderated the debate.
During a panel on educational initiatives of all offshore wind developers in Poland, Magdalena Klera-Nowopolska from Polenergia and Marcin Wiśniewski from Equinor talked about the importance of building public awareness and interest in the offshore wind sector to attract young people tying their professional future to the offshore wind sector. - We need to do this early enough so that in a few years, when energy from offshore power plants will already be flowing from the Baltic to the Polish grid, we will already have educated cadres of specialists in their fields. That is why the educational campaigns we are undertaking are so important - they underlined.
Equinor and Polenergia have been involved for several years in activities to raise qualifications and professional competence necessary for the construction and operation of offshore wind farms. One of them is their proprietary Flagship Program Academy of Offshore Competence, and within its framework, among others:
- Cooperation with the Faculty of Ocean Engineering and Shipbuilding at Gdansk University of Technology, which educates future employees in the offshore wind sector.
- Cooperation with the Pomeranian Center of Competence for Marine Renewable Energy, established by local governments from Pomerania and Rumia Invest Park. The center is to be a place of practical vocational training for students from all over the province.
- A series of career counseling and offshore wind energy classes for 650 elementary school students in Rumia.
- Participation in educational events, including the OFFSHORE 2022 Career Day at Gdansk University of Technology, where representatives of the companies met with students and pupils, telling them about their activities and future job opportunities.
- Participation in the workshop "Onshore + Offshore = Our Future" organized by Employers of Pomerania for students of the Conradinum Shipbuilding and Technical School, the Energy School Complex and the Maritime School Complex. Representatives of the companies told, among other things, how cooperation with stakeholders can be shaped and projects can be implemented based on the idea of coexistence, what are the possible career paths and professional profiles in various competence areas that are key to the development of the new industry in Poland, and what opportunities the development of offshore wind energy brings.
EDU Offshore Wind - organized by the Gdańsk International Fair, Rumia Invest Park, Co-Made and the Foundation for Innovative Offshore Power Industry - was held under the patronage of the Local Government of the Pomeranian Voivodeship and the City of Gdańsk. The event was initiated by the Pomeranian Platform for Offshore Wind Energy Development in the Baltic Sea and the Pomeranian Center of Competence for Offshore Renewable Energy.