How to get started in wind

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What’s the best way to get a job as a wind turbine technician? I have spoken to hundreds of techs and site managers over the years and here are my recommended routes in and top tips to those wanting to join a growing industry trying to solve a global problem.


Get a trade

In my opinion this is the most surefire way of getting into wind. It shows employers that you already have the transferable electrical or mechanical skills. People with backgrounds as mechanics, electricians, fitters or HVAC engineers are highly desirable.
If you want to learn to be a mechanic buy a non-starting car (preferably a classic), take it a apart, figure out why it doesn’t start and put it back together again. You are more likely to get a job at Halfords than you are at a WTG OEM from a standing start. The good news is that they are desperate for skilled people and competition for entry level techs with practical experience is lower than apprenticeships and graduate schemes.

Top Tips for passing an wind technician interview.

  • Show that you are keen and curious. Learn how a wind turbine works, use turbine specific knowledge (see diagram below). Ask good questions that the internet can’t answer.
  • Most engineers are bike or are car guys. If you have a good project car on the go, it will give you something to talk about and it’s a good rapport builder as well as showing competency
  • Don’t sweat the turbine, focus on how you would solve a problem or chase a fault. All the wind turbine specific stuff like working at heights and the other safety certs will be paid for by the company. When you start you will shadow someone else for a while (like an electricians mate) whilst you get up to speed with the nuances. Companies will also provide technology specific training to ensure that you have the best and safest start in wind.

Wind turbine nacelle diagram

The nacelle is a confined space, employers think very carefully about how well small teams will work together.


There are a growing number of apprenticeships that are wind specific and sponsored by the big utility companies, wind turbine manufacturers (OEMs) and independent service providers (ISPs). Typically, they would take a handful of candidates, working in partnerships with situational colleges and developing them over the course of a few years, the successful candidates being offered a job at the end of it. Think about what the companies want: enthusiasm for renewables, teamwork, engineering curiosity and ability to communicate technical problems concisely. Have you taken apart a car, do you have a passion for electronics, have you fixed or repaired anything? Think about how you can stand out. Presume everyone applying has the same qualifications, what initiatives have you taken in your free time to make the cut?

Typical candidates are studying a HND, under 22, are excellent communicators and show troubleshooting aptitude. The wind courses are very specific (see certs and qualifications below) and would stand you in good stead if you can beat the hundreds of applicants for what is a few spaces. There are numerous interviews online with some of the successful few and given their ability, communication, skills and eloquence I would imagine that their tenure on the bottom rung of the wind industry would be short lived and would be destined for upper management and sponsored further education.

Always worth applying for, but for the mature student not really an option.

Graduate Schemes

Typically, with engineering degrees, graduate programs can be a very good way of gaining a lot of experience in different areas within wind such as SCADA, Operations, distribution and WTG Engineering. Again, these are highly competitive (see apprenticeships). Not only do you have to shine academically you also have to be able to communicate, present yourself and ideas well and have management potential. Assume everyone is highly qualified and that your internships, extracurricular interests and initiative will win you the interview. Character will land you the job.

The three-to-four-year scheme will see you sent around the country to different sites and offices but at the end you will be highly employable. Typically, the technicians will solve the turbine level problems and the engineers solve the big problems that face the wind farm. These include: contractual issues, lift plans, serial defects, compliance and root cause investigations.

Most engineering degrees will give you next to no practical experience in fixing things and a lot of graduates don’t have to soil their white collars. Jobs in data, HSE, HV and sales are there for the effete or acrophobic. My advice is to get your high-vis dirty, and the best engineers are close to the wind turbines and the people that look after them.



If you have any mechanical or electrical engineering training through the military fixing helicopters, tanks, signals or anything really, you’ll be in good company in wind. In addition to the technical training, teamwork, working away from home and in large organisations conditions suit veterans very well.

Confident and well spoken, normally they interview well, and you can find “ex-squaddies” at most wind farms where war and mess stories flow like a failed hydraulic valve.
The cynical could join the military for two years in an engineering regiment, get paid, free food and board, get their training paid for and then offer a two fingered salute. This, of course, is not without its risks but running the same amount of time as paid education it is not a bad option for the hard up or those in their late twenties.

Certifications and Qualifications

Do not get yourself GWO qualified without a job first! Don’t get me wrong, it shows that you have initiative, you are keen and it is something that you can put on your CV but save yourself the £1500 and a week. All employers will put you through the training when you start and if you don’t have a mechanical or electrical HND you are wasting your time and money.

If you want to go for the paid qualifications route technical courses such as blade repair courses and Danish Wind Power Academy will stand you in greater stead. They are a bit more expensive but will give you far more relevant education than some manual handling training and the best part is that they don’t expire! GWO’s last between 2 and 4 years and the moment they expire, you cant work and have to go on a refresher. It’s a racket, let your employer pay for it.
HNCs or HNDs in any electrical, mechanical or engineering discipline are much better, can be done part time at most local colleges and open universities and more relevant to technician work. Whatever you choose I would always recommend some relevant work experience on top.

Who are they looking for and how to into wind

In summation employers want to know that you’ll work well in a team, safely and have the right mindset to chase problems through a ten page hydraulic schematic. Be curious, enthusiastic and friendly. I’ve often felt that as an industry, whilst wind is crying out for new people, it can be difficult to break into. Once you are in though, you’ll never be out of work and can travel the world doing it. Most people are incredibly friendly and generous and there are so many problems to solve for the curious and dedicated.
I love it so much, I wrote a book about it called where the wind takes you. For those unsure about a life of adventure and travel, its worth a read.



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