Turbine blade technician is one of the fastest growing job roles in Europe and North America, and as the wind industry expands, demand for turbine blade technicians in new wind energy markets is rapidly increasing. Blade repair work is incredibly varied, taking technicians from onshore wind farms in Australia, South Africa and North America to super-sized turbines off the north-west coast of Europe, and everywhere in between.
Getting on the ropes
In a previous blog post, we covered how to enter the industry in more detail. The best place to start is to get rope access training with an Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA) authorised training provider. You can easily find a suitable training provider by searching online, but a couple of good places to start looking for providers would be irata.org or rigg-access.com. Courses run throughout the year, and it normally takes only four or five days of training per level, with training courses costing around GBP6-800 (AUD1,000-1,500, ZAR10,500-14,000).
Finding a course
Of course, you’ll also need to undertake training in turbine blade repair and maintenance. Again, there are a number of providers of high-quality courses, including Altitec, Maersk and Siemens. However, the content of each course and the training you receive will vary by provider, so make sure you’re fully aware of what’s covered and choose the course that best suits your requirements. Turbine blade repair is a highly-skilled job, and this means the training can be expensive, costing somewhere around GBP2-2,500 (AUD3,500-4,500, ZAR35,000-44,000) to become fully qualified.
However, the flip side of this is that, once you have your qualifications, you can quickly find work servicing turbines in Europe and across the world, and this is backed up by the experiences of those who have undergone the training. Good rates of pay, even for newly qualified turbine blade technicians, mean the investment in training can be comfortably made back in just a few weeks of work.
Ultimately, if you’re completely new to both rope access and blade repair, the total cost to become a fully qualified turbine rotor blade repair technician may come in at around GBP3,500-4,500 (AUD6-8000, ZAR60-80,000). But this will also include the safety courses you will need in order to be ready to start immediately, and you can find a list of these here.
And, of course, the better qualified you are the more earning power you’ll be able to command once you’re fully qualified. But, once you are, you can expect a well-paid career that allows you to travel the world and also provides a good work-life balance. Plus, as you gain more experience you’ll have opportunities to move up the ranks and take on added responsibility as a team leader.
So, while the up-front cost may initially seem daunting, it can be a valuable investment in the training and skills needed to develop an exciting career in one of the world’s fastest-growing industries – with all the opportunities, both financial and personal, that this brings with it.