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How important is GWO for crane operators?

Carlo Milone our consultant managing the role
Posted by Carlo Milone
Published on 17 April 2020
Consultants are often asked by professionals what skills and qualifications they need to be competitive in the current marketplace. Similarly, we are approached by clients to source people with specific certifications and experience to work on their projects. One of the requests we’ve seen coming through in renewable energy recently is for crane operators within onshore and offshore wind – GWO. Here’s what you need to know:

What is GWO? 

GWO is essentially a package of certifications for professionals working in onshore and offshore wind. Created by the industry, for the industry, the training standards have been implemented to improve safety and build a competent workforce. It’s estimated that 10% of the global wind workforce is currently trained according to GWO standards, but we’re increasingly seeing clients ask for crane operators in wind hold current to GWO certifications.

For onshore wind there are four modules to complete – first aid, fire awareness, manual handling and working at heights, and for offshore wind there is also the addition of sea survival to ensure you can survive if you fall from a vessel.

Why is GWO seen as important within the industry?

Within the last few years, GWO has become a priority for some organisations looking to hire onshore wind and offshore wind professionals. Some professionals have found it increasingly difficult to secure jobs on wind farms without these qualifications.

GWO certifications are believed to create a safer, more standardised industry the world over. In fact, 62% of GWO members say that the training has improved the alignment and quality of basic safety training standards for the global windpower sector. In addition, GWO can open up more working opportunities within the wind industry, as it can be used across any project and any wind farm.

In 2019, Quanta was approached by some great professionals who were seeking new opportunities in wind, however as they did not have these certifications they did not meet our clients' criteria. Wind projects can move very quickly, so not having GWO during the recruitment process can mean professionals are not considered for jobs that they are otherwise a great fit for.

Ultimately, it is up to the professional whether they are prepared to get GWO, but it may be advisable for those who want to work on windfarms this year to consider updating their GWO certificate. This isn’t limited to crane operators, either. Anyone who works in wind and has their GWO validated and ready to go is likely to have an advantage in the current marketplace. Wind farm projects spike between March and November, so if you are choosing to seek GWO certification, you should do so as a priority to ensure you're ready for peak season.

How can you get GWO?

GWO qualifications cost between £1,800 and £2,000 and are valid from two to five years, depending on the country they are obtained in. Training centres can be found nationwide, as well as throughout Europe. You can find UK training providers here.

What other qualifications should you have to work in offshore and onshore wind?

In addition to GWO, we recommend wind workers have an updated onshore medical or Fit to Work certification as a minimum. The latter can be obtained through a GP, while a more in-depth onshore medical can be carried over from recent jobs. This is a prerequisite for all our clients looking for wind professionals and will need to be valid for 1-2 years, so again we advise keeping this updated and doing so in advance of job seeking.

Onshore and offshore wind at Quanta

Quanta continues to work exclusively and with framework agreements with clients across the industry. We have multiple opportunities coming through during peak seasons for crane operators and other wind professionals. Our approach to recruitment in this space is proactive, and we are committed to finding professionals the right jobs.

To access the most opportunities, we recommend reviewing and updating the relevant industry to ensure you’re ready to hit the ground – or water – running. Are you ready? View our latest renewable energy jobs here.