Turbine service company trains refugees

GERMANY: A project named "Empower Refugees" to train refugees living in Germany to service wind turbines has been launched in Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia.

Four refugees from Syria and Iran are being trained at PSM
Four refugees from Syria and Iran are being trained at PSM

The programme is the brainchild of Erkelenz-based wind turbine and solar service provider PSM Nature Power Service & Management and training centre Kraftwerksschule.

"When the wave of refugees entered Germany, we discussed what contribution we could make as a company and helping the refugees to integrate, and giving them a perspective in the labour market seemed the most effective. At the same time, we can get qualified new young talent," said PSM managing director Ian Paul Grimble.

Refugees who already have relevant skills in electricity engineering are re-trained as industrial electricians specialised in operations technology. The training includes examinations for a final certificate from the Chamber of Industry and Trade.

The retraining concept was drawn up by PSM and Kraftwerksschule supported by the state of North Rhine Westfalia Energy Agency. The training is paid for by the state-run unemployment and job centre.

PSM is installing a fully-functional Südwind MD 1.5 MW nacelle with blade mounts on a 15 metre tower at the training centre in Essen, as well as comprehensive electrical equipment, fulfilling Global Wind Organisation requirements. The training plant is expected to be ready in August, said PSM.

Twelve refugees have proven they have a head for heights by climbing a wind turbine, have undertaken safety training and begun the first of four 5-week internships at wind energy companies.

The formal retraining then begins in August and will be completed in December 2019, said PSM. The company currently has four refugees working as interns.

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