Stowen, a UK-based offshore project management and service company, launched its own training business after noticing a gap in how technicians were trained for statutory inspection and maintenance.

Seeing the need for a standardised approach, Stowen, along with the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) and sector leaders, decided to address this gap collaboratively.

Hexis Training – developed by Stowen’s management as an independent body – began by identifying the deficiencies in existing training benchmarks.

“Our aim was to create a place where technicians could be trained in the maintenance and inspection of commonly found equipment on offshore wind turbines, but to a standard that is clear and agreed by those in the sector themselves,” said Kieron Ford, managing director of Stowen and Hexis Training.

Eastern Daily Press: Kieron Ford, managing director of Stowen and Hexis TrainingKieron Ford, managing director of Stowen and Hexis Training (Image: Stowen)
To create a unified standard that would elevate the competence of technicians across the industry, the working group – hand in hand with developers, service companies and other stakeholders – embarked on establishing a comprehensive training standard.

The first step involved a careful examination of the existing training landscape. Stowen and the team pinpointed specific areas where competence benchmarks needed improvement. They recognised the importance of specialised courses covering offshore wind turbine service lifts, compact cranes, and working-at-height equipment.

To achieve this, a series of courses was developed over an 18-month period, focusing on the technical aspects of inspecting and maintaining these critical pieces of equipment. The goal was to ensure technicians had a deep understanding of the procedural process to undertake such tasks.

A standout course emerged from this effort – named CORE as it serves as the foundation of all other modules.

This course goes beyond the technical aspects of equipment operation and explores the legislative framework surrounding inspection under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) and Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER).

Eastern Daily Press: The training is contributing to a safer offshore wind industryThe training is contributing to a safer offshore wind industry (Image: Stowen)
The CORE course provides technicians with comprehensive knowledge about the legal requirements governing their work, emphasising compliance and safety.

The collaborative effort between Stowen, Hexis, ECITB and industry leaders resulted in the establishment of a standardised training framework. This framework provides a clear guideline for training companies, offering a single location for technicians to receive comprehensive training up to the agreed industry standards under the ECITB accreditation.

Technicians now undergo rigorous theoretical and practical examinations to demonstrate their competence. The standardised training not only enhances the skills of individual technicians but also contributes to a safer and more efficient offshore wind sector.

The commitment to excellence in training is a proactive approach to safety and compliance, reinforcing the industry’s reputation as a responsible and forward-thinking player in the renewable energy landscape.

The proactive approach, coupled with the collaborative efforts of the ECITB and industry leaders, addressed the competence gap in offshore wind turbine inspection and maintenance while reducing cost to employers.

Eastern Daily Press: The Energy Skills Centre at East Coast College in LowestoftThe Energy Skills Centre at East Coast College in Lowestoft (Image: Stowen)
To date, over 30 people have completed the training, which is delivered at East Coast College in Lowestoft, Suffolk, providing an additional 30 benchmark-proven technicians to the sector.

Alongside the ECITB offering, Hexis Training also provides the sector with Global Wind Organisation (GWO) accredited courses, providing its target clientele with a single training provider solution when it comes to offshore wind.

“The addition of Hexis to the Stowen Group has allowed us to develop robust training programmes for our employees,” said Spencer Whiley, training manager at Hexis Training. “When we see a competence gap, we are able to actively pursue a suitable bespoke course such as the recent addition of confined space in monopiles.”

The Confined Space Medium Risk course includes emergency rescue techniques in a bespoke-made module located at Hexis. Trainees are provided with a state-of-the-art facility to learn theoretical knowledge in the modern classrooms, along with fully functional, full-height climbing frames in the practical area.

Eastern Daily Press: Spencer Whiley, training manager at Hexis TrainingSpencer Whiley, training manager at Hexis Training (Image: Stowen)
“Having the support of East Coast College has been a huge advantage to Hexis as our goals align,” said Kieron Ford. “It provides a venue where people can come and trade their own time with positive learning, while providing various sectors with a proactive training partner.”

In Q2 of 2024, Hexis will release its Offshore Wind Confined Space High Risk course, which will provide delegates with specific training for entering the monopile of a wind turbine.

For more information, contact Hexis Training on or 01502 449 639, or visit the website at