A new engineering apprentice, who grew up just a stone’s throw from one of the sites of the Dogger Bank Wind Farm onshore works in East Riding of Yorkshire, has said he was thrilled to start his career working on the largest offshore wind farm in the world.
Fin Needham, 18, from Nafferton in East Yorkshire, spent five weeks working on site with Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK before starting the classroom portion of his higher apprenticeship scheme.
The teenager is now studying towards his higher national certificate in civil engineering at Coleg Cambria, North Wales, with plans to move on to a degree-level higher national diploma in the future.
He says his family are over the moon to see him on his way to a career in a growing industry.
“Both my parents were really pleased when I found out I had been successful in applying,” he said.
“I’d completed my A Levels in maths, physics and geography, and didn’t initially know what I wanted to do next.
“I had been looking at apprenticeships online, as had my mum, and in the end I applied to Jones Bros as we both recognised the company because we often drive past the Dogger Bank site.
“I really enjoyed being able to start close to home, getting involved with the hands-on aspects of engineering, using the GPS surveying equipment and helping out with trenches and the ducts that the high voltage cables will run through.
“Everyone has been incredibly welcoming, particularly two of the other apprentices who are a bit further along the course who I worked alongside so I could get my bearings.”
Jones Bros has six higher engineering apprentices and two general construction operatives on site across the three phases of Dogger Bank, with four plant operatives having completed their qualification while working on the scheme.
Fin says the company’s involvement in renewable energy projects was a big incentive in choosing the Ruthin-headquartered firm.
He added: “Low carbon projects like Dogger Bank Wind Farm are only going to get more important in future, so the skills I’m learning will be relevant for a long time.”
Dogger Bank Wind Farm is being built in three consecutive 1.2GW phases; Dogger Bank A, Dogger Bank B and Dogger Bank C. Each phase is expected to generate around 6TWh of electricity annually, totalling 18TWh annually across all three phases – that’s enough renewable electricity to supply 5% of the UK’s demand and equivalent to powering six million UK homes.
Dogger Bank A and B is a joint venture between SSE Renewables (40 per cent), Equinor (40 per cent) and Eni (20 per cent). In November 2021 SSE Renewables and Equinor, 50:50 joint venture partners in Dogger Bank C, announced Eni will take a 20 per cent stake in the final phase, with SSE Renewables and Equinor maintaining 40 per cent stakes each. The deal is expected to complete in Q1 2022, subject to regulatory approvals.
Garmon Hafal, training manager at Jones Bros, said: “We’re pleased to see how well Fin has started on the apprenticeship, and everyone out on site was very complimentary of his work.
“We are always keen to invest in our staff. Our higher apprenticeship offers degree-level qualifications with further opportunities to progress towards a Master’s in engineering and chartered engineer status.
“Higher apprenticeships are a fantastic way to start in the industry, and I would encourage anyone considering a career in civil engineering to give it some thought.”
Dogger Bank onshore works manager Oliver Flattery said: “It’s great to see our supply chain giving opportunities to young people in the communities where we’re building our onshore infrastructure.
“We hope this is the start of a rewarding and exciting career for Fin.
“We welcome him to the Dogger Bank team and look forward to working with him as we build the vital infrastructure to support our net zero future.”