On 1 October energy company Vattenfall and regional training center Nova College organized a special challenge for young people. Exam candidates bilingual mavo from the Haarlemmermeer Lyceum, together with MBO students “Junior consultant Sustainability” and “MyTec” from Beverwijk, got a scoop: a unique glimpse into the world of offshore wind farm builders. British students from the Norfolk UTCN taught the young people what is involved in building a wind farm in various roles. From project leader to designer, from responsible for involving local residents to environmental requirements experts. One of the most important means here is virtual reality.
“This integrated approach fits in seamlessly with how we should approach the issues of the energy transition. Because building a wind farm is about so much more than technology alone”, explains Peter Smink, CEO of Vattenfall Netherlands. “How you deal with the environment, with nature in the region, but also how you practically realize a connection to your wind farm is just as important. It is therefore good to familiarize young people with technical knowledge and commercial advisory skills with this at an early stage. I am proud that we can use Vattenfall’s expertise to inspire young people for a future in the sustainable energy sector. ”
The strength of the Vattenfall wind program lies in the fact that students in higher education are trained, so that they can then explain to peers in their vocational training what they should pay attention to. In terms of perception, the so-called peer mentors connect well with the perception of young people. This method was developed in the United Kingdom and will also be rolled out in the Netherlands. Under the guidance of university students – who also gain a lot of experience as a result of this guidance role – the MBO students and 4th year mavo students work in groups. Given data – such as different types of wind turbines and cost plates – work is being done on the digital construction of a wind farm that must meet all kinds of requirements, such as legislation and regulations and environmental involvement. The end result can then be admired in 3D with VR glasses. This approach fits well in the collaboration within the ‘Techport region’ where education and business work together intensively.
“Although the number of MBO students in our technological MBO courses is growing, there is a growing shortage of young technical staff and we are working in all sorts of ways to attract additional new students”, explains Lucas Land of Nova College. “Results from the British approach show that by working with professional resources and materials, young people get a realistic picture of what their careers can look like. And that works! We look forward to using this program in other events and hopefully to be able to train enough experts in the energy transition. And of course, with attention to this program, we hope to inspire more students for a technological follow-up course. ”