Offshore wind opportunity for former forces personnel

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 6 Mar 2019

Ex-forces personnel in the Humber have been handed a huge boost, after major inward investor Ørsted - the global leader in offshore wind - signed the Armed Forces Covenant .

It highlights the employer, and the industry, as “forces-friendly,” with many already helping the UK build a green energy network.

Ørsted, which is in the process of recruiting a further 100 people as it gears up to support the first two Hornsea projects out of Grimsby, will seek to support the employment of veterans by working alongside the Career Transition Partnership in order to establish a tailored employment pathway.

The company will also offer flexibility in granting leave for service spouses and partners before, during and after a partner’s deployment wherever possible, as well as supporting employees who choose to be members of the Reserve forces.

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Ørsted already has many service veterans working on projects both offshore and onshore across the UK and the signing of the Covenant is a way to formalise the company’s pledge to ensure that those who serve or have served in the armed forces, and their families are treated with fairness.

Ørsted UK managing director Matthew Wright was joined at the signing ceremony by Commodore David Elford OBE ADC Royal Navy and several ex-services veterans now working at Ørsted. They include Jason Ledden, who is leading the build out of Hornsea Two, having completed Race Bank and worked on Westermost Rough. 

Organisational, disciplined and logistical skillsets are understood to be highly sought after, with marine operations and deployment experience further prized.  

Matthew Wright, Ørsted UK managing director, said: “We have refined our recruitment processes to ensure that we attract and retain new talent from a wide range of sources, as well as supporting and employing people in the communities where we develop and operate our projects.

“In our experience, service veterans possess many transferable skills and qualities which have led to a successful transition to careers in the offshore wind industry. We are therefore delighted to formalise our pledge of support to those who serve or have served in the armed forces with the signing of this covenant.”

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Commodore Elford, the Naval regional commander for eastern England, said: ‘At its heart, the covenant commits its signatories to do what they can to ensure that members of the Armed Forces - be they regulars, reserves or Cadet Force adult volunteers - and their families are not disadvantaged as a result of their service.  For a company such as Ørsted to sign the covenant and its associated pledges sends an important message, both inside and outside the company, that the armed forces are respected and valued.  I have been impressed by the Ørsted veterans and their stories and, on behalf of all three of the armed forces, I congratulate and thank the company on taking this initiative.”

Former Royal Navy engineer Ash Hedges started his Ørsted career as a wind turbine technician and progressed through to deputy operations manager at Ørsted’s Westermost Rough Offshore Wind Farm. 

He said: “I would definitely say my career in renewable energy would not have happened if not for my military beginning. The life skill and experience I have at 34 years old is a credit to my training and the Royal Navy. The experience of working in a high-pressure environment, with huge responsibility and living with your colleague’s day in day out really set me up for my current role.”

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