Case studies, fact sheets and interviews offering hints, tips, and inspiration to help your business grow. 

From 7 May 2024, the North East Growth Hub is a project of the North East Combined Authority. We may still refer to "the North East Local Enterprise Partnership" (or "the North East LEP") in some of our older articles. 

Addressing skills gaps in the wind industry

Across the North East, Skills Bootcamps are helping to meet the demand for green skills in growing industries like offshore and renewable energy. 

Since the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP) was awarded funding from the Department for Education to deliver Skills Bootcamps, the demand for training in the fast-moving wind sector has grown. As a result, more training providers have been brought on board. 

We spoke to three of the newest training providers who are each delivering Skills Bootcamps focusing on different areas of the wind sector, to find out how the Bootcamps are helping to address skills shortages. 

Lee Hoyland, Operations Manager, The Wind Academy 

At The Wind Academy we provide Skills Bootcamps that give people access to accredited training and focus on the technical skills people need to work in offshore wind, particularly looking at high voltage cabling and fibre-optics. 

We’re training up new entrants to the industry and also upskilling people who already work in the sector. Businesses have been telling us they’re experiencing real shortfalls in terms of skilled recruits so we’ve shaped our Skills Bootcamps to focus on the reality of doing the jobs that businesses need to fill, like electrical engineers and field technicians.

The courses are around 20% theory and 80% practical learning and everything is based on the reality of what it’s like offshore. So we have a 44 metre high wind turbine which means people can experience what it’s like to work in a confined space or to carry out an emergency evacuation, and we have access to the sea and indoor pools for training on sea survival. 

And using trainers with specific sector experience, and co-delivering our Skills Bootcamps with industry partners, enhances our courses and orientation into offshore wind for our learners.

Just today we’ve had 20 people start their fibre optics field technician training and, by the end of the month, we’ll have had 100 people go through Skills Bootcamps since we started in January. This training is already giving back to the economy in our local area. 

We want to help people get their first opportunities in the industry and from there, it will grow and grow. At the end of our Skills Bootcamps, people will have the real skills they need to work offshore. 

Find out about The Wind Academy’s Skills Bootcamps here

Heather Lynn, Business Development, Renewable Field Services 

Renewable Field Services is a blade repair company and we also have a Global Wind Organisation training centre, where we deliver our Skills Bootcamps. 

Our Skills Bootcamp include training on blade inspections, working with drones, access, advanced blade repair and also mental health – the reality is that people can be working in an inhospitable environment with limited contact with friends and family and we don’t shy away from acknowledging this. People need to understand what the job really involves and we want our training to equip them to deal with every aspect of the roles they’ll be going into. 

We wanted to be able to recruit people from the Skills Bootcamps back into the business and it’s worked amazingly well. It’s an opportunity to spend three weeks with candidates before recruiting and it means we can see how people learn and interact with each other, which is so important in this industry. People are travelling together, working together and they need to be happy doing that. 

We’re immensely lucky in that a large proportion of our technicians stay with us for a long time, even though they’re generally self-employed contractors. And by delivering these Skills Bootcamps we can recruit more people to the team who will have the skills and the attitude that we’re looking for in our sector. 

Find out about Renewable Field Services’ Skills Bootcamps here

Jonny Burgess, Director, Advanced Blade Repair Services 

Our business specialises in blade repair and we’ve designed our Skills Bootcamps to give people the skills they need to go into roles such as maintenance technicians, rope access specialists and offshore blade repair technicians.

We started delivering the training in December and it’s taken off immediately. We’ve had participants getting in touch to take part, we’ve had major companies who are looking for skilled workers, and the people we’ve been training up have been stepping straight into employment. 

We’ve got everything under one roof in terms of the training, from the health and safety elements through to electronics and rope access and I think that’s part of the reason the Bootcamps are so successful – people can gain all the skills and knowledge they need in the one place. 

In the North East we’ve already seen a massive increase in jobs because of developments like Dogger Bank and there are going to be more and more skilled technician jobs created over the next few years. Companies need to be able to fill these jobs and Skills Bootcamps are helping a lot of people move into  work. 

There are skilled people out there who want to retrain but can’t necessarily afford to put themselves through an expensive course. With Skills Bootcamps, people can access training that’s fully funded and that gives them the skills they need to walk into a job in a growing sector. 

Find out about Advanced Blade Repair Services’ Skills Bootcamps here

Skills Bootcamps are part of the National Skills Fund, a £2.5 billion government initiative to help adults gain the skills that are sought by employers and support the economy. Skills Bootcamps give people the chance to benefit from free training and guaranteed job interviews in high-growth areas, like renewable energy and green transport, to help people upskill, reskill or move into employment. 

Find out about all the Skills Bootcamps on offer in the North East here.