MARTINSVILLE, VA — New College Institute (NCI) is making it easier for offshore wind turbine technicians to become Global Wind Organisation (GWO)-certified with the addition of Sea Survival to its existing GWO Basic Safety Training (BST). Currently, the week-long training consists of four modules: First Aid, Working at Heights, Manual Handling and Fire Awareness.
The addition of Sea Survival positions Virginia and New College Institute as a leader in the GWO-certified wind training industry by providing a one-stop shop for obtaining both Basic Safety Training (with Sea Survival), and Basic Technical Training (BTT) certifications.
Additionally, according to the Global Wind Organisation (globalwindsafety.org), NCI will be one of only two organizations in the United States to offer both the complete, 5-module Basic Safety Training, as well as Basic Technical Training.
The BST Sea Survival course will give participants, by theoretical and practical training, the ability to act safely and responsibly and to take the correct preventive actions in all aspects of offshore operations from shore to installation vessel (or WTG) and vice versa. This is both during normal operations and in an offshore wind energy environment emergency.
Typical topics include recognizing and responding to cold water immersion, such as cold shock, hypothermia and contaminated water; proper use of lifesaving equipment; and practical instruction on safely transferring between vessels, handling equipment, and how to respond during a man overboard scenario.
To facilitate this single-day training, NCI has contracted with Blue Stone Dive Resort in Thomasville, NC. The former slate quarry is now a 19.5-acre lake, which already facilitates trainings for multiple open–water certifications, such as SCUBA and rescue training.
The new training is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2023 and will be led by NCI’s Coordinator of Wind Training, Evan Kissel. Participants must be 18 years old, physically fit and capable of handling the mental and physical demands required for certification. Individuals may choose from either the standalone Sea Survival course (with BST training prerequisite) or as part of the 5-module Basic Safety Training.
“Sea survival is going to be a great help to the Commonwealth, as NCI will be able to offer a complete package to wind energy companies that require GWO offshore training. Additionally, industries that may need general sea survival training will also benefit, as the training covers multiple aspects of open-water skills,” said Evan Kissel, Coordinator of Wind Training.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, wind turbine technician jobs are projected to grow 44 percent from 2021 to 2031, and earn an annual wage of $56,260 (as of May, 2021). In Hampton Roads alone, offshore wind industry could create about 1100 direct and indirect jobs annually, based on a 2020 offshore wind economic impact analysis commissioned by the Hampton Roads Alliance (https://coastalvawind.com/about-offshore-wind/creating-jobs.aspx).
GWO is a non-profit group of wind turbine owners and wind turbine manufacturers, committed to the creation and adoption of standardized safety training and emergency procedures. Independent training providers deliver GWO-certified training to technicians and students worldwide.