Powering your future: Why Martin hasn't looked back since his career transition to offshore wind
- Credit: Martin Hardy
This week, we will be running a series of "Powering Your Future" stories focused on the fantastic career opportunities in East Anglia's exciting offshore wind industry. From the military to wind farm site manager, Martin Hardy shares the story behind his career transition.
“Every day is different when you work on a wind farm,” says Martin Hardy from Siemens Gamesa. “That may sound clichéd, but when you head to the offshore turbines, you never quite know what challenges you’ll face – and that’s what makes the job so diverse.”
Sheffield-born Martin started his career by training as a fabricator and welder, before joining the RAF at age 21 as an aircraft electrical engineer. Martin later joined Siemens Gamesa as a wind turbine technician, but the need to relocate caused him to change his path to the oil and gas industry, where he stayed for more than seven years.
“It was clear to see that wind power is the future, both for the planet and my career, so I decided to move back to the East Anglian coast, where I started my current role for Siemens Gamesa two years ago,” says Martin.
Since starting in this position, Martin has continued his studies, undertaking training management courses and working towards his project manager certification IMPA level C.
Martin and his team are responsible for 102 7mw wind turbines. As site manager, it’s Martin’s job to ensure each turbine is working correctly and processes are running smoothly. The team consists of onshore and offshore branches, and is responsible for conducting essential repairs, inspections and services.
Turbine maintenance requires a vast range of skilled professionals: from apprentices who can later train to become senior technicians or managers, to specialist suppliers, planning and co-ordinating experts, and warehouse and administrative staff, to name a few.
Martin’s responsibilities include overseeing Siemens Gamesa’s apprentice programme, which he describes as "the backbone of the company", explaining that the education they receive sets a high standard of knowledge, which is fundamental to the business.
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Apprentices complete an EAL level 3 Diploma in advanced manufacturing and engineering, in which they receive hands-on experience while being fully supported by Siemens Gamesa.
For the first two years, apprentices attend college in Newcastle, before being assigned a place on site in Norfolk to complete their two final years. Once the apprentices have completed their studies, they’ll be offered a full-time role, entering the company at a good level and knowing they have been trained to a high standard.
Norwich-based Alex French, an apprentice at Siemens Gamesa, says: “Being an offshore technician, I can confidently say that the stunning views you get to witness are nearly as good as the sense of pride you feel for being part of a green future.
“In the short time I’ve been working offshore it’s given me an invaluable insight into what wind power has to offer and the power generating capabilities of wind turbines.”
Martin adds: “I see wind power as my future, the future for my colleagues and the future of the industry and planet. Since changing my career and moving back to Siemens Gamesa, I’ve been able to continue with my studies, while supporting other members of staff, such as Alex – I've never looked back.”
Find out more about getting your foot in the door and helping generate the clean green energy we all need for a greener, zero-carbon future that will benefit future generations for years to come in the Powering Your Future supplement, produced in partnership with ScottishPower Renewables.