Martine Rondeel, Commercial Manager, Renewables, Atlas Professionals
The offshore wind industry is growing around the world. That’s encouraging for the environment — and also for industry professionals on the look-out for career opportunities, says Martine Rondeel from Atlas Professionals.
The offshore wind industry is entering a boom phase. To date, the sector has largely been confined to western Europe — but now China is stepping up its capacity, and the offshore wind markets in Taiwan and other countries in Asia are growing rapidly. And even though the US is home to just one working offshore commercial wind farm, more than 25 are currently in development. Meanwhile, Europe’s love affair with offshore wind shows no signs of stopping. Growth in The Netherlands is particularly remarkable with 4000 people working in the wind sector at present; although, by 2023, this figure is expected to increase to more than 12,000.
All this activity is good news for the planet says Martine Rondeel, Commercial Manager, Renewables, at Atlas Professionals — but it’s also good news for employment. Netherlands-headquartered Atlas has been providing personnel to the onshore industry for the last 30 years and the offshore industry for the last 12 years. It has offices around the world and an expanding pool of talent in every area, from planning consent, construction and installation to operation and maintenance.
Working closely with clients
“Offshore wind is a varied sector requiring vast amounts of expertise and offering lots of opportunity,” says Rondeel. “It needs surveyors, environmental engineers, project engineers and electricians, cable-layers, riggers, barge pilots, operations and maintenance technicians and document controllers — to name just a few. The wind farms that are expanding across the world all need to be built, maintained and, after a certain time, decommissioned.”
Supplying personnel to this industry means that manpower companies have to fully understand their clients’ needs and expectations. That means working in partnership and being on call around the clock. “This is a 24/7 sector,” says Rondeel. “A personnel issue can arise at any time, so it’s important to work closely with clients, and to be open, responsible and accountable, to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible.”
It isn’t, however, a one-way street. Manpower firms also need to look after the best interests of industry professionals by ensuring that they can certify their professional skills and are able to develop within their field. For example, Atlas have created an accredited Competence Management Programme so that employees can confirm their level of competence to potential employers and also have the chance to progress to the next grade within their discipline or another function. “A company like us has two clients: companies within the industry and the professionals they rely on,” says Rondeel. “One can’t exist without the other.”
A dynamic and fast-paced sector
Professionals in the offshore industry are a special breed. “They need to be good team players,” says Rondeel. “They can be working in all kinds of conditions while living in a confined space with each other. They also need good health and safety awareness and understand that the actions they take can have an impact on others.”
This is a fast-paced and sometimes pressurised industry. But whatever the role, Rondeel says that it’s a thrilling sector to work in — and particularly now. “With the 2016 Paris Agreement, countries around the world joined together with the aim of reducing CO2 and making improvements to our environment. That’s exciting. By working in this industry you feel you are doing something good — something important.”