A former Ron Dearing UTC student has told of her excitement after completing the first year of an apprenticeship to become an Offshore Wind Turbine Technician.
Ryah Russell, 19, from west Hull, is completing the three-year apprenticeship with RWE Renewables, the third largest renewable energy generator in the UK and one of the largest electricity generators in the worldwide offshore wind sector and solar industry.
Studying at Coleg Llandrillo, a college in Llandudno, North Wales, Ryah has recently completed two weeks work experience at the Triton Knoll wind farm off the Lincolnshire coast during her summer break from college.
She shadowed her mentor, Dec Clarke, working 12-hour shifts to carry out maintenance tasks on wind turbines including tightening bolts, carrying out various checks and changing components.
Ryah, who achieved a double Distinction* in Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC before leaving in summer 2021, said: “I absolutely love my apprenticeship and it’s such a good experience.
“My two weeks on shift have made me want to carry on working and putting my skills into practice, even though I’ll be back at college and won’t be back on shift until next summer.
“During my shift, I lived on a Service Operational Vessel (SOV) in the North Sea and I had my own cabin. We call it a floating hotel, as it has a cinema and a gym.
“I was taken to the wind turbine by boat and the Authorised Technician carried out the safety checks before isolating the turbine and going through the list of jobs each day.
“How many people can say they’ve been to the top of a wind turbine? You definitely need a head for heights but it doesn’t feel so high when you’re inside – unless you look down the ladder!
“RWE Renewables is a great company to work for. I even had the opportunity to go the Houses of Parliament for a renewables event, meeting MPs and networking.”
Ryah is living in shared student accommodation in Chester with 11 other RWE Renewables Offshore Wind Turbine Technician apprentices from as far afield as Newcastle and Brighton and travels to college Monday to Friday.
She spent the first assignment-based year of her apprenticeship learning about the mechanical and electrical elements of engineering, while the second year will see her focus more on wind turbines, including hydraulics, with exams to complete.
She will start work at Triton Knoll in her third year, working two weeks on and two weeks off and completing a logbook of tasks, and will complete the course with an NVQ Level 3 in Wind Turbine Operations and Maintenance, as well as a Level 3 Diploma in Wind Turbine Maintenance.
Ryah, who joined Ron Dearing UTC’s sixth form in September 2019, said completing her studies at the Ofsted Outstanding-rated school set her up for success.
She said: “I knew I didn’t want a desk job. When Ron Dearing UTC’s Employer Partners came into school to speak to us, I found out more about apprenticeships and becoming an Offshore Wind Turbine Technician.
“Ron Dearing UTC helped us with mock interviews and interview skills and they really want you to succeed. They check how you’re getting on with applications and the staff are lovely and so supportive.”
Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal and Head of Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “It’s fantastic to see Ryah progressing so well in her apprenticeship and giving it her all, as she did with her studies at Ron Dearing UTC.
“This is an excellent opportunity with a brilliant company in a rapidly-growing and important industry. We’re looking forward to seeing more of our students following similar paths towards exciting future careers.”