Destination Renewables launched its second year this month at Pembrokeshire College and welcomed a new cohort of first year students onto the pioneering programme preparing learners for the future renewables’ job market.
EDF Renewables UK and DP Energy, the partners behind the Celtic Sea Gwynt Glas Floating Offshore Wind Farm, first joined forces with Pembrokeshire College in 2022 to establish Destination Renewables. The two year award winning programme transfers real-world sector knowledge to 16-18 year olds and aims to educate learners about low carbon technologies, including wave, tidal, onshore wind, solar and offshore wind and associated project development processes. The programme brings business leaders into the classroom to offer meaningful employer-to-learner engagement.
In its first year, the course engaged with over 90 learners and some 40 industry organisations came forward to participate in the programme. It was also awarded the ‘Offshore Wind Energy Skills accolade at the inaugural Renewables UK Offshore Wind Awards. The programme has been shortlisted for this award again this year and was shortlisted as a finalist in two Wales STEM Awards. The Wales STEM Awards shines a spotlight on businesses creating an impact on the Welsh economy, those addressing the STEM diversity gap and skills shortage, and those inspiring and raising aspirations of the next generation.
Mark Hazelton, Gwynt Glas Project Director said: “Destination Renewables is the first programme of its kind in Wales. It aims to inspire students to explore future career options in the renewable energy sector needed to build the net zero energy system of the future. We want to ensure that young people in Wales are aware of the opportunities and well placed to maximise the benefits from potential future floating offshore wind projects like Gwynt Glas that could be on their door step.”
Joshua Thomas second year Destination Renewables student at Pembrokeshire College said: “I signed up to Destination Renewables as I am concerned about climate change. I would love to work in the renewable energy sector following my studies. I hope that this course will help me stand out. I am most looking forward to meeting businesses, learning how they got to where they are now and finding out what I need to do to get there too.”
Arwyn Williams, Head of Faculty Engineering, Computing, 14-16, Quality Nominee and Strategic lead for Higher Education at Pembrokeshire College said: “It has been an incredible experience for the learners to have so much meaningful engagement with industry involved within this exciting sector. The partnership with Gwynt Glas has enabled the college to connect with important players and we are very excited to embark on this next stage of the programme with the second cohort.”
There has been a real appetite and sense of excitement from learners and partners around this programme. The sessions have been a mix of interactive workshops, hands on activities, presentations, lectures and a site visits. This has been topped up by traditional classroom learning.
Learners are about to embark on their second year which involves an Extended Project Qualification.
Destination Renewables is a curriculum enrichment programme which culminates in an Extended Project Qualification (WJEC EPQ). This is in addition to learners Level 3 Qualification in Engineering, Business and Construction and can secure additional UCAS points. The programme is underpinned by the Skills and Talent programme of the Swansea Bay City Deal, jointly funded by the Welsh and UK Governments, alongside private sector investment. Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum has supported the renewables industry to create a positive learner journey in the delivery of this private sector and education partnership.