Boosting job prospects in Wind Energy through specialized training programs

Written by: Paige Griffin, Wind Program Coordinator of Green Skills Academy

“This summer I had an irreplaceable experience in the wind power industry thanks to Relay Education. Completing the training at Holland College allowed me to gain valuable certifications for a future career.”

Megan MacDonald is a Green Skills Academy participant and a third year engineering student at University of New Brunswick.

Megan MacDonald is one of 73 participants who graduated from the Wind Energy Operations course. The Wind Energy Operations course is part of the Green Skills Academy, run by Relay Education. The Green Skills Academy offers fully-funded career training programs in different sustainability focuses. Nine Wind Energy Operations courses have run in Prince Edward Island and Alberta since May 2023. The four-week long courses were delivered in partnership with Holland College and Lethbridge College. 

The training programs have helped to address the shortage of qualified workers in the renewable energy industry. Some participants have become employed in the wind industry. A participant who was recently hired as a Wind Turbine Service Technician by an industry-leading organization in Alberta shared, “The month-long course was a core reason for my success as a candidate.” 

The courses are available to people who are looking to work in green jobs and want to learn about wind power. They must also not be afraid of extreme heights. A priority of the Green Skills Academy is to make these programs available to communities that are underrepresented and underserved. We marketed and prioritized the courses to people who are Black, Indigenous, Women, Gender Diverse, from Racialized Communities and Newcomers.

Graduates gain skills they’ll need to begin working as entry level Wind Operations Technicians. The course includes industry standard training, theory lessons and safety certifications related to working in the wind industry. Networking events provided participants time to meet potential employers. They also learned what working in the wind industry is like from professionals.

"I received certifications in working at heights, confined space and high-angle rescue, and lockout/tagout training (LOTO). I can't thank everyone enough for their support and guidance towards my future as an aspiring electrical engineer." Said Megan MacDonald, a Wind Energy Operations course participant.

Relay also partnered with Work Based Learning Consortium (WBLC), a technical training organization to offer course graduates more career training in Wind Turbine Blade Repair. 22 graduates enrolled in the added course. The students also received support from a job placement firm to help them obtain employment in the wind industry. These participants would not have been eligible for this opportunity had it not been for their earlier experience of taking Relay’s wind program.  

It’s been incredible watching the wind program come to fruition as the Wind Program Coordinator. A huge highlight for me has been getting to see the relationships built between participants and instructors, as well as getting to speak with the participants as they take part in the course. I’ve heard great things from them about the program and their time spent in Lethbridge, Alberta or Summerside, PEI. I’m proud to be a part of Relay, who strives to reduce barriers for people, whether it be geographically, demographically or financially, and encourage folks to grow their job skills in the green economy. 

More of Relay’s Wind Energy Operations courses will be launched soon. The next programs will be a mix of in-person and virtual training. The virtual part will be offered to those who wish to take part but may not be able to commit to attending four weeks of in-person training. 

This program is funded in part by the Government of Canada's Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program.

The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.