Offshore wind steers cadets towards North Star’s training programme

Source: press release, 12 October 2022

North Star deck cadet Lewis McGougan putting his college learning to task onboard the ‘Grampian Conqueror’
North Star deck cadet Lewis McGougan putting his college learning to task onboard the ‘Grampian Conqueror’ (photo: North Star)

A recent spate of renewables industry reports showcasing the scale of opportunities for careers in the sector has sparked a sharp rise in applications for the next generation of seafarers, according to North Star, the UK’s leading offshore infrastructure support vessel operator.

The Aberdeen headquartered business which also has bases in Lowestoft and Newcastle, is the country’s largest employer of offshore cadets and invests GBP 1 million annually in their development. Its 3-year industry-recognised training programme has been running for 26 years and currently has 94 people at various stages of their training at nautical colleges around the UK. Cadets also spend time on board some of North Star’s 41-strong fleet of emergency support vessels, which are on duty around the clock, 365 days a year for 50 North Sea oil and gas installations.

With the application process currently underway for the next intake of new starts, the company has received a substantial increase in people applying. Feedback from the wannabe seafarers cites positive media coverage highlighting the UK as a global energy hub for renewables, and news of North Star securing four long-term charters for its first hybrid-propulsion offshore wind service operation vessel (SOV) fleet as the main reasons for applying.

A former cadet, North Star’s SOV operations director Steve Myers says, “North Star’s expansion into offshore wind has created a clear path to a long-term career for our seafarers. With our approach to integrating innovative technologies into our SOV newbuilds, we are confident we can continue to inspire future generations of mariners and fulfil their career ambitions.”

Attending RenewableUK’s Floating Offshore Wind event at Aberdeen’s P&J Live venue Wednesday, 12 October 2022, to support North Star, is first-year cadet Lewis McGougan. The Aberdonian is following in his father Gary’s footsteps, an operations and maintenance manager at Moray East Offshore Wind Farm, who has worked in wind energy for over a decade.

The former Old Meldrum Academy student has just returned from his first sea phase as a deck cadet, learning navigational skills offshore. He says, “I jumped at the chance when I heard about North Star’s cadet programme, especially after reading that the company was involved in the Dogger Bank Wind Farm project. Like so many other people my age, I’m really passionate about producing cleaner energy for the planet, so the prospect of working on the ships supporting the world’s largest wind farm development, is a huge motivation for me to join this sector.”

“Watching my dad’s career over the past decade has also inspired me. From being a youngster and being taken by him to visit the impressive structures, to now championing offshore wind, I’ve always been very interested in the innovative solutions and exciting developments the industry has made. I’d highly recommend this route to others,” he continues.

RenewableUK’s CEO Dan McGrail says, “It’s great to see initiatives like this from North Star providing career opportunities for young people like Lewis. The offshore industry is scaling up so fast that we’re set to employ nearly 100,000 people in highly skilled, high quality jobs by 2030. The offshore wind revolution taking place in the North Sea will help to secure a just transition to net zero for coastal communities like Aberdeen and provide young people with a long term, sustainable economic future.”

North Star’s Steve Myers adds, “Lewis is just one of a number of very ambitious, talented and enthusiastic cadets that North Star has been lucky enough to attract. It is testament to the company culture of North Star that the future generation wants to work for us, and with our expansion into offshore wind, we’re able to demonstrate the longevity and options this career choice offers.”

North Star’s cadet programme has a twice annual intake, with new cohorts starting every January and September. To find out more, go to www.northstarshipping.co.uk/career/cadets and to apply, email crewing.jobs@northstarshipping.co.uk.