New wind farm programmes

Francesca Emms Energy, News, NZ Apprenticeships

With wind recognised as a key source of renewable energy in New Zealand, that will help enable decarbonisation of the energy sector and help the country reach its net zero climate change target, wind farms represent a growing and exciting industry to be a part of.

A significant number of new wind farms are expected to be built over the next 30 years with forecast capacity increasing from 940 megawatts in 2022 to 6500 MW by 2050. With an average wind farm capacity of 100 MW, that’s around another 55 wind farms.

All of that means a demand for more wind farm technicians, which is why Connexis | Te Pūkenga has released two new wind farm programmes. The NZ Certificate in Wind Farm Maintenance (Level 3) focuses on the servicing aspects of wind farm maintenance. The NZ Certificate in Wind Farm Maintenance (Level 4) focuses on wind farm diagnostic and repair maintenance activities.

Connexis executive director Kaarin Gaukrodger says the New Zealand certificates in wind farm maintenance meet a growing need within the electricity supply industry (ESI) and offer employees the chance to upskill in a sector that is crucial to the country’s carbon neutral goals.

“Wind is recognised as a key source of renewable energy in New Zealand. The New Zealand qualification level 3 to level 4 Wind Farm pathway sets the standard for best practice and provides recognition of the technical skills required to meet the projected growth of the sector. Upskilling the ESI workforce is a critical step in the implementation of changes to New Zealand’s energy infrastructure, supporting the move toward our carbon net zero climate change targets.”

New Zealand Wind Energy Association (NZWEA) supports the launch of these new programmes. NZWEA chief executive Kevin Hart highlights the importance of the programme to the future of the wind industry. “This training programme is fundamental to successfully managing industry growth. It will ensure technicians can develop the skills to safely support a major expansion of the wind energy sector.”

The New Zealand Certificate in Wind Farm Maintenance (Level 3) recognises and develops skills to be able to maintain New Zealand’s wind turbine fleet and provide the country with clean green electricity. Learners will hone their skills and knowledge to provide the ability to service and maintain wind turbines. They’ll get to be involved in servicing, repairs, scheduled maintenance tasks, and all the things that keep the turbines producing power, while they are safe to work in and around.

This Level 3 programme is suitable for those entering directly into the industry, or for people who work on a wind farm. Although not an entry requirement, this programme can build on the New Zealand Certificate in Electricity Supply (Introductory) (Level 2) with a strand in electrical works.

It takes around nine months to complete this programme and is achieved through on-job assessment. On completion, learners will be qualified as a wind turbine service technician, and will be able to operate under limited supervision. This programme can lead into the New Zealand Certificate in Wind Farm Maintenance (Level 4).

Benefits to the employer include:

  • motivated, upskilled, quality employees
  • consistency of skills and competency within your team
  • increased health and safety awareness in your team

The New Zealand Certificate in Wind Farm Maintenance (Level 4) recognises the skills and knowledge to work safely while diagnosing and repairing wind turbine systems, to meet legislative requirements and manufacturer’s specifications on a wind farm. Learners will gain the confidence to operate independently, boosting the number of projects they can get their hands on.

Training includes how to monitor the workplace and respond to issues as required to maintain a safe and effective workplace in a wind farm environment and how to diagnose and repair faults in electrical, mechanical and hydraulic systems used in wind turbines to comply with manufacturer’s and asset owner’s specifications.

This Level 4 programme has no entry requirements but it does build on the New Zealand Certificate in Wind Farm Maintenance (Level 3). It takes around 12 months to complete and is achieved through on-job assessment. This programme can also lead to the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (Level 6) with strands in civil engineering, or electrical engineering.

Graduates of this qualification will be able to work with electricity generation companies in roles such as wind turbine technician, technical specialist, blade repair technician, commissioning engineer, site manager or senior manager.

Benefits to the employer include:

  • stronger tenders
  • increased productivity and capability
  • reduced operation and maintenance costs

Want to enrol or find out more about either of these programmes?