A boss at the company behind a wind farm project off the north Norfolk coast, has spoken of the need to build a local work force as the company starts work on a new base near Wells.

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The technical operation base, which will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm, is being built in Egmere, four miles south of Wells.

Einar Strømsvåg, general manager of Scira Offshore Energy, the company behind the wind farm project, said: “Sheringham Shoal is just the beginning. There will be many more wind farms built in the North Sea in future years and there are enormous opportunities for people in this region.

“It is much more beneficial to us to have workers who are based and settled locally as we need people who will be committed to it for the long-term.

“In this industry we need support from businesses located locally as well. We may see many more businesses moving to this area in the future to provide services for the offshore energy industry.”

The 88 turbine Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm, 10 miles north of Sheringham, is due to be completed by late September. The technical base, on the Walsingham Estate, could be finished as early as November.

Once complete there will be about 50 permanent workers based in the Egmere offices and another 20 to 30 people working on Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm. Many are already based in Scira’s temporary home at Wells Field Study Centre, but Mr Strømsvåg said further job opportunities would arise in the future.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has talked of his hope that the Rural Norfolk Federation construction training unit in Fakenham, due to close next year because of funding cuts, could be turned into a training centre to give young people the skills to work in the green energy industry.

Mr Strømsvåg said: “We have not been involved in the talks over the training centre in Fakenham yet, but we are open to holding talks at some point in the future over the possibility of running apprenticeship schemes with Scira.

“There are going to be many opportunities in this region, and it is important that people grab them as early as possible, and for young people here to feel optimistic about their futures.”

Swaffham-based Mansell Construction Services Ltd is building the offices and Elizabeth Meath Baker, of the Walsingham Estate laid the foundation stone for the technical base this week.

adam.lazzari@archant.co.uk

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