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College friends land ‘dream’ windfarm job together after more than 60 rejections

PUBLISHED: 15:36 21 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:27 21 February 2020

Global Wind Services’ first apprentices Alfie Leonard, right, and Ethan Talbot, get down to the hard work condensing two years’ study into one at East Coast College before for a year in industry with Global Wind Services. Photo: Deryn Corbett, East Coast College.

Global Wind Services’ first apprentices Alfie Leonard, right, and Ethan Talbot, get down to the hard work condensing two years’ study into one at East Coast College before for a year in industry with Global Wind Services. Photo: Deryn Corbett, East Coast College.

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After being rejected from more than 60 job applications between them, two young men are celebrating after finally getting their dream jobs together.

Pictured (left to right): Katy Cassidy, apprenticeship and training manager at East Coast College, Ethan Talbot, apprentice, Chris Varley GWS resource manager, Iain Webster, GWS inspection technical manager, Alfie and Susan Falch-Lovesey, Vattenfall’s Local Liaison Officer and Skills Champion. Photo: Deryn Corbett, East Coast College.Pictured (left to right): Katy Cassidy, apprenticeship and training manager at East Coast College, Ethan Talbot, apprentice, Chris Varley GWS resource manager, Iain Webster, GWS inspection technical manager, Alfie and Susan Falch-Lovesey, Vattenfall’s Local Liaison Officer and Skills Champion. Photo: Deryn Corbett, East Coast College.

19-year-old Alfie Leonard and 17-year-old Ethan Talbot became close friends while studying electrical engineering at East Coast College.

The two friends were excited as they finished their courses to begin looking for jobs, but began to lose hope after they were both rejected from more than 30 local apprenticeships.

However Mr Leonard, from Gorleston, and Mr Talbot, from Beccles, are reaping the benefits of perseverance after they were both accepted as two of the first ever global wind farming apprentices for a prestigious energy firm.

The boys say they have had their "dream start" in the offshore wind industry as they became apprentices with the Global Wind Service (GWS).

The two college friends got their lucky break when they sent in applications to be apprentices at the renewable energy firm which employs 1,000 wind technicians across the globe.

GWS instantly recognised how promising both students were and how talented they would become with training, and offered them both jobs.

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An over the moon Mr Leonard said: "I've always wanted to work offshore. Offshore wind is such a growing industry here."

And Mr Talbot added: "The opportunities to travel the world with your skills are growing all the time."

The two apprentices will spend three years learning engineering and assembly skills alongside the inner workings of turbines at East Coast College's £11.4million energy skills centre in Lowestoft, close to GWS' office at renewables hub OrbisEnergy.

Keen to set up an apprenticeship programme GWS sought advice from Swedish energy group Vattenfall at one of its supply chain events in Norfolk for its Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas projects.

Susan Falch-Lovesey, Vattenfall's Local Liaison Officer and Skills Champion, connected the business with East Coast College (ECC), which then worked with the business to adapt a programme to meet GWS' unique needs.

"It is wonderful to work together with Global Wind Service and ECC on a bespoke programme aimed at developing a pipeline of qualified offshore wind technicians for the burgeoning industry off the Norfolk and Suffolk coast," Falch-Lovesy said.

Chris Varley, resource manager for GWS, said the renewable energy industry needed to create its own future workforce so training Alfie and Ethan was the ideal solution.

He said: "Introducing an apprenticeship programme is such a positive step for us as we plan to expand and take on more work. To be growing our own personnel to the standard that we would like them to be makes perfect sense."

Stuart Rimmer, East Coast College principal and chief executive, said: "This is a brilliant example of how collective endeavour through close supply chain working leads to opportunities for local people into high skilled, high paid work"


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