Learning skills from on high in Lowestoft

It has an eagle's eye view of Lowestoft and is playing an important role in training the region's small army of offshore workers in vital skills.

Standing at 18m, this wind turbine training tower at Lowestoft College has helped to show more than 100 people how to work safely and rescue colleagues on offshore turbines.

Since September, the �100,000 steel tower has been used by the college and National Wind Farm Training Centre (NWFTC) to train offshore workers how to transfer onto turbines from boats, climb them properly, work safely in confined spaces and at height, and carry out rescues.

The tower was set up in partnership between the college's maritime and offshore centre and Essex-based NWTC as it complements the college's large survival training tank, which can simulate the harsh conditions of the North Sea.

The NWFTC trains offshore or potential offshore workers on the tower which has seen dozens of local renewable-based companies take up the offer of using the turbine replica and the centre's other facilities.

Next Friday, the tower is to be officially opened and there are plans to cover it like a working turbine and install a blade on it to increase the training experience.

Ian Pease, manager of the college's maritime and offshore centre, said: 'The partnership between us and the NWFTC has enabled us to offer this one-stop shop for offshore training.

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'It is excellent to be able to do everything on one site to help train people to stay safe and work safely offshore.'

Training facilities at the centre include a ships bridge simulator, first aid suite, radio communications, emergency response control rooms.

The NWFTC and the college offers various training packages of up to five days designed to meet the working at height, marine safety and survival requirements of the North Sea.

Daniel Smart, training manager at NWFTC, said: 'We are the only partnership in the area to offer this type of training.

'Many businesses within 100 miles of here have been contacting us about using the tower and so have companies from across the country.'

For information on all the training courses run from Lowestoft College maritime and offshore centre and the training tower, visit www.lowestoft.ac.uk

anthony.carroll@archant.co.uk

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