A major step forward for wind turbine training

PLANS to develop a replica wind turbine tower to provide authentic training for the offshore wind and related sectorswill take a major step forward today.

The training company 3C Humber, formed out of a strategic partnership struck between Grimsby’s Blackrow Engineering and Norwegian specialist AAK, will sign a memorandum of understanding with operators of training facility Catch.

It paves the way for the conversion of the Stallingborough site’s existing 22m column and supporting structure to mimic a typical wind turbine tower.

This would be used to deliver safe work at heights and related training programmes, including rescue, rope access and ladder working, essential skills for the rapidly expanding offshore wind sector, and existing offshore oil and gas industries.

Barry Taylor, chief executive of 3C Humber, said: “When we came to look around Catch it was obvious that the tower and surrounding structures were ideally suited for conversion into the type of facility we need to deliver our comprehensive training programmes for the offshore sector.

“This facility will be unique in this region, and right on the doorstep of the offshore operations and maintenance companies that are based in Grimsby.

“We’re very excited to be signing this memorandum of understanding today, and look forward to finalising details with Humber Chemical Focus and the Catch facility over the summer.”

The partnership between Blackrow and AAK, a pioneer of safe work at height, and the plan to provide vital training and skills, was revealed on the front page of the Grimsby Telegraph in February.

It is understood working with an existing training provider will make the plans to support the burgeoning industry – bolstered by the arrival in Grimsby of energy giants Centrica, Siemens, RES, E.on and potentially Dong – more viable than starting from scratch on a green field site.

The new training provision from 3C Humber would add to the training already available for the renewables sector at the £12-million Catch site, that includes confined space entry and access zones, engineering workshops, process plant, tank farm and control room simulator.

A final decision on the project will be made by September.