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Success story article13 January 2014

Training at the top

Network partners

A training facility for technicians in the offshore wind sector is to open in the UK thanks to the Enterprise Europe Network. For the past three years, Network members Enterprise Europe in Yorkshire and Innovation Norway have been building a platform for collaboration in the industry, and this is one exciting outcome.

The emergence of offshore wind farms in the North Sea region has brought with it an array of new opportunities to the Yorkshire and Humber region of the UK.
With the East Yorkshire coast increasingly occupied by wind farms, the British firm Blackrow Engineering was keen to branch out into the green sector. It met AAK Group, a technology and support services supplier for the international oil & energy industry, at two Enterprise Europe Network events held in the UK and Norway.

The Network organises regular events to bring companies from different countries together, and helps them set up joint ventures. In 2011, Enterprise Europe Network in Yorkshire and Innovation Norway from Trondheim organised the North Sea Offshore Wind Mission in Stiklestad, Norway. The following year, the Network repeated the North Sea Offshore Wind mission in Hull, Yorkshire.

After having met thanks to the Network, the two companies agreed to set up an offshore wind training facility in Grimsby, the hometown of Blackrow Engineering. "The North Sea Offshore Wind Mission events organised by the Network were vital in setting up this cooperation," says Leif Røv, Director of Business Development at AAK Group.

The proposal will see an investment of £500,000 into the facility, which is capable of equipping 1,500 wind technicians a year with vital skills to take offshore. The centre is scheduled to open this year.

"This joint venture is an excellent example of two companies with a wealth of experience and contacts coming together to position themselves to take advantage of this opportunity", says Tim Barraclough of the Enterprise Europe Network in Yorkshire

"The Network's proactive approach contributed greatly to what we hope is a bright future for our business," says Barry Taylor, Blackrow Engineering's Commercial Director.