As more wind energy farms are constructed and contribute to employment, demand for the training and retraining of people to work on wind turbines will increase, which has consequently resulted in wind turbines safety training provider AID Renewables’ investing in improving its training processes and training-related infrastructure.
The local wind-energy industry is expected to grow, as the Integrated Resources Plan 2019 has allocated an increased wind-energy contribution to the energy grid in the coming years.
AID Renewables director Mark Campbell mentions that the company offers international body Global Wind Organisation- (GWO-) approved training courses, which provide important skills – such as working at height – that are required for working on wind turbines.
The company also provides specialist rope access services, equipment and consulting.
Campbell argues that local legislation is not up to date with European work-at-height regulations, which are based on GWO-approved regulations, particularly with regard to working on wind turbines.
Consequently, in the years prior to AID Renewables’ receiving the first GWO accreditation in Africa, many local wind-energy companies sent staff to Europe to receive training in wind turbine maintenance and working at height, he adds.
However, the company’s GWO accreditation allows for people to be trained locally at a lower cost, says Campbell.
“We have invested in upskilling our existing, as well as new, local trainers to provide the training courses for clients. This accreditation adds to the localised content that we offer and increases local commitment to adhering to GWO-approved standards.”
The company has also expanded the current accreditation scope of its training courses to offer the latest training standards.
“With a growing industry and increased competition from other training providers, we have to invest in our infrastructure to create a more improved and simulated environment for an actual wind turbine. The courses are specifically focused on safety and basics, so trainees do not have to learn a technological element that changes regularly,” describes Campbell.
Therefore, training focuses on learning from ‘accidents’ and improved techniques, which are shared through reports from the GWO, and AID Renewables’ partners in Europe.
Campbell adds that, owing to the Covid-19 virus, the company has also had to increase the scope of its health and safety procedures to prevent the spread of the virus.
This has involved reducing class sizes and amending certain practical exercises to ensure physical distancing.
The company was also required to find a specific natural sanitiser to clean personal protective equipment as the equipment would be compromised if exposed to certain chemicals.