Massachusetts Maritime Academy First in Nation to Offer Five Module GWO Basic Safety Training
You really want things to go off perfectly when performing a demonstration in front of the governor and that’s exactly what recently happened when Massachusetts Academy Maritime (MMA) put on a Global Wind Organisation (GWO) Basic Safety Training (BST) demo for Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and other state officials.
In cooperation with Reylon Nutec, the globally recognized GWO Basic Safety Training program at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts campus has been up and running since November 2019; in less than three years some 200 participants have successfully completed training.
MMA is recognized as the first facility in the nation to offer all five modules (First Aid, Fire Awareness, Working at Heights, Manual Handling, Sea Survival) of GWO Basic Safety Training for Offshore Wind, with blended course delivery allowing participants to complete the full program in just three days’ time. Upon completion of the GWO BST delegates possess an awareness of the potential hazards encountered when working within the wind industry and know how to control and mitigate against these dangers.
The training modules also equip participants with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to respond appropriately in the event of an emergency.
Speaking to the origins of the GWO program, Capt. Michael R. Burns Jr., Executive Director of Maritime Center for Responsible Energy at Massachusetts Maritime Academy noted the importance of “applying our decades of experience in teaching people how to work offshore to the emerging Offshore Wind Industry.”
The MMA GWO program has been the recipient of state funding over the past three years, including three grants from the Massachusetts Clean Air Center (MassCEC) to support the program’s establishment and to conduct a feasibility study to understand the need, interest, and business case for developing and delivering a crew transfer vessel operator training program and specialized helicopter transfer training.
Most recently, In June of this year, Mass CEC awarded MMA a grant to develop and offer a 40-hour basic seamanship course for the Pile Drivers and Divers union. Additionally, plans are in process for MMA to expand its GWO course offerings in 2023.
Without question, offshore wind holds enormous promise as a source of clean, domestic, renewable energy to meet the needs of communities along our nation’s shorelines and has captured positive political attention. This according to a recent report by Global Wind Energy Council titled “Global Offshore Wind Report 2022,” which points to the Biden Administration’s 30 GW by 2023 offshore wind target. In his first week in office as president, Biden issued an Executive Order that included expanded opportunities for the offshore wind industry as a means to drive job opportunities and economic prospects along the nation’s coastlines.
And in Massachusetts, U.S. Congressman William Keating has sponsored “H.R. 998 Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act” to establish an offshore wind career training grant program. The bill, introduced in February of 2021, remains in the first stage of the legislative process.
As far as that demonstration before Gov. Baker, it not only confirmed his awareness of the need to expand Massachusetts’ investment in the offshore wind industry workforce but also of the Academy’s commitment to provide the education to ensure a pipeline of skilled personnel.