Equinor’s new energy apprentice: Mom said this sounds like the future!

Irma Denic (19) and Philip Domert Gulliksen (20) are Equinor’s first apprentices within renewable energy, and among the youngest on the company’s wind power team. They are hoping their hands-on wind power experience will turn into career opportunities both in Norway and Japan.

NES apprentices
Irma Denic and Philip Domert Gulliksen are Equinor’s first apprentices within renewable energy

Irma and Philip will spend the next eight months working at the Sheringham Shoal wind farm off the UK coast. Both were students in the power-supply operator programme at Dalane Upper Secondary School in Egersund.

“Yes, well, my plan was to become a regular electrician, but then Dalane Upper Secondary School came to visit one day when I was still in middle school. They explained everything about the power-supply operator programme, and I thought it sounded exciting,” explains Philip.

“I told my mom about the study and she searched on the internet and found out that this sounded like the future. She said that this was something I should go for.”

I’ll be the first one in the family to have a job in renewable energy!

Irma Denic, apprentice

Irma tells us that she has always wanted to work offshore and in the field of energy production:

“I’ll be the first one in the family to have a job in renewable energy!”

The two young people from Stavanger will take their final trade exams in March 2020, and are on their way to Sheringham Shoal, the wind farm operated by Equinor some 20+ kilometres off the coast of Norfolk in England. They will spend eight months there participating in all the various jobs within the automation, electrical and mechanical fields. Their paths toward Sheringham have included assignments at the natural gas plant on Melkøya and the oil refinery at Mongstad.

“I think it’ll be exciting to go to Sheringham Shoal – mostly because it’s a different country,” says Irma about the upcoming stay. Philip is most excited about the daily boat trips to and from the wind turbines:

“Maybe I’ll get seasick!”

The upper secondary programme Irma and Philip attended takes three years, and then it’s off to an 18-month apprenticeship. So far, Dalane Upper Secondary School in Egersund is the only school in Norway to offer this programme, and the school will now apply for national programme status where students from all over the country can apply to Egersund.

Need skilled apprentices for renewable energy jobs
Equinor and the new energy solutions business area were approved as training establishments for power-supply operators in 2018 – since the company has technical expertise and more than ten years of offshore wind experience. The two apprentices are partly financed by the Erasmus + programme, and coordinated via Hordaland County Municipality.

“Power production using wind turbines is a growing industry, and more specially-trained operators will be needed in the future,” says Nenad Keseric, operations supervisor for Hywind Demo and executive supervisor for the power-supply operator apprentices in Equinor.

Nenad explains that certain other supplier companies are also focussing on apprenticeships within renewables.

“This expertise is needed. Equinor wants to establish profitable industrial positions within renewables, which means that we will need more skilled workers in the future. We have to stay on top of this to ensure expertise for the tasks to come ,” he says

This expertise is needed. Equinor wants to establish profitable industrial positions within renewables, which means that we will need more skilled workers in the future.

Nenad Keseric, operations supervisor for Hywind Demo and executive supervisor for the power-supply operator apprentices in Equinor.

NES apprentices

Happy to work in Japan in 10 years
In ten years’ time, both Irma and Philip hope they will be working within renewables, such as wind operations. Irma can see herself working in Norway, and she would be happy to work offshore.

“I really believe in more offshore wind, and I hope to see this also in Norwegian waters,” she says.

Philip adds:

“In ten years’ time, I’ll be working in wind power, either offshore or onshore. I hope so. Most of all, I’d like to travel to Japan or China to work on the wind farms they have there. I find those countries fascinating.”

As a broad energy company, it is important for Equinor to highlight that the energy landscape is changing, and that the company will need new expertise in the future, in addition to what the company already has.

“We are pleased to have the first power-supply operator apprentices working on our offshore wind projects. This is a milestone for us. We must build both wind farms and future-oriented competence to succeed,” says Nenad.

“Who knows, maybe Philip will be working for us in Japan in 10 years, or maybe Irma will be working at a wind farm in Norway! 

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