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Case Study

Holly – An offshore wind skills transition course candidate (Energy Skills Partnership, Wind and Marine Training Network)

Holly McBeth, a young woman from Ayr decided, upon leaving school, that she wanted to be an engineer and at that time she felt that aeronautical engineering was the direction for her. She decided to attend Ayrshire College to see her goals come to fruition. Over the next two years she achieved an HNC in Aeronautical engineering.

However, it was at this time that she felt that this was not the right direction for her. She looked at options available, especially those that have a beneficial environmental impact. Having discussed them with staff at the College, Holly decided to move within the engineering arena towards the exciting renewables sector, specifically the Wind Turbine Technicians course, an area where cutting edge technology is the norm.

This was not an easy option as this course includes a range of awards rather than the one most courses offer, these awards are all industrially driven and ably supported by partners including the Energy Skills Partnership. The course includes the C&G 2339-44 Diploma in Power Engineering along with EALs SVQ 2 Performing Engineering Operations. It’s worth is further enhanced by the students undertaking and achieving a raft of training GWO certificates in Working at Heights, First Aid, Manual Handling, Fire Awareness required to allow workers access to turbines.

Holly liked the idea of the practical theory mix the course afforded and appreciated that the delivery team had industrial partners that supported the college delivery. She liked the fact that student groups had a mix of ages and gender.

Holly started the course and was from day one, an extremely enthusiastic and diligent student. One that demonstrated a consistently positive attitude towards all aspects of the course. She was clearly driven to succeed. The drive to do rather than watch was evident in her and this is a huge plus for any up and coming engineer and Holly had this in abundance.

She was always working on other related materials broadening the scope of the course. Further she established positive relationships with all her lecturers and her peers, supporting and being in turn supported those around her as needed.  Hollys confidence levels, her belief in her own abilities, grew with her gaining of skills and knowledge further enhanced by the working within and in control of the mixed gender groups mirroring as much as possible the working teams she may encounter in the workplace.

Her clear career goal was in sight, and she was determined to progress into it. The staff, Paul Harland and Iain McSherry were sure she would become an excellent engineer and upon her successful completion of the course she has since moved into employment with Ingeteam. Here she has been able to demonstrate how driven she is, utillising her excellent Communication skills as well as showing her grasp of Mechanical / Electrical skills. Her stamina and strength have been tested but never found wanting, importantly, as engineers work in all weathers in physically challenging environments.

Her hard work has seen her achieve competent status and move toward authorised status within Ingeteam on the Mark Hill site located in the hills of Ayrshire

You may think Job done, No Holly is now coming back to college and assisting those that are currently training by giving them the benefit of her experiences and her enthusiasm for the work. Holly stated that” I love the job and it’s nice to give something back to those that helped me. I liked the ex-students coming back to give us their insights and thought I should do the same”,

Ewan Granger, Curriculum manager, Ayrshire college stated that “this type of young engineer, young person, is exactly the type the country need and I applaud all of the people involved in her story directly and indirectly ”.

Holly works on the Mark Hill Windfarm Located near Barrhill, South Ayrshire, construction was completed there in June 2011. The 28 turbines present at this Scottish Power Renewables site are capable of generating up to 56 megawatts of cleaner greener power.