The Endless Possibilities of going Green

“I was asked to set up a refugee camp in a disused school and organise bedrooms, kitchens and medical centres. I was an administrator, and I spent most of my time sorting out tribunals and taking information on behalf of families. Unfortunately sometimes I had to transfer bodies to medical checkpoints, it was a tough atmosphere to work in so I wasn’t worried when I starting working in the offshore industry, I was ready for the next challenge.”

UK Renewables

In 2012, Julia Brockbank began her career in the renewables industry as a Project Coordinator. Since then she has moved up in the ranks to become Site Manager for a number of Offshore Wind farms across the UK. “Some members of my family are saturation divers so I wasn’t going into the offshore world completely blind. I was working as Assistant Site Manager at the London Array Offshore Wind farm when I got a call from my mum saying that she had terminal cancer. So working on the Array project was good because she was only 20 miles away and if I needed to go and see her at any point of the day the client was very understanding and they would let me go. This was one of the most poignant projects for me.”

Julia is currently working as a Site Manager on the Rampion and Dudgeon Offshore Wind farms, “so my day will start at 5:30am because you’ll have crew coming on at 6am,” explains Julia. “You have to make sure that all the crew have their PPE, paperwork and certificates before boarding the transfer vessel. It’s a 2 ½ hour journey to get to the wind farm so we have to wait for the rest of the crew to come back so we can organise all of their taxis to the airport. After the crew have gone we have to transport 20 palettes of food to the site, we don’t want it to sit out in the sun for too long so we need to transport it as quickly as possible. Every day is different we may have to transport a crew member to hospital or a vessel breaks down and we need to find a new one to carry out the operation. The most challenging project I worked on was Gwynt y Môr. The weather was bad and UXOs were found. It was definitely a strenuous experience but also gave me the opportunity to work with some great people.”

Women in Renewables

With Renewables leading the way in the offshore industry, Julia explains how the current market has affected her progression. “I did struggle to find work last year and at one point I did question whether it was because I’m female? I talked to some colleagues and they said it was because there just wasn’t enough work for everybody. I think it’s brilliant that more women are breaking into the industry. On the recent projects I’ve worked on I’ve seen women come on board as Turbine Technicians and Project Engineers, I’ve never seen a divide between men and women working offshore, which sends a great message to the industry and beyond.”

Next Step: Offshore

“I actually love working in renewables, I think I’m very lucky that I’ve gone from being a receptionist to a qualified Site Manager and I still learn something new every day. I’ve already paid for my GWO certificate so the next step for me is to go offshore. I would like to go and see the monopole and TP installation. I would also like to see the ROVs in operation. You are never too old to learn a new career.”

Over the last year, Julia has been working through Atlas’ Offshore Wind team based in Bristol, “the team have been brilliant to work with, and I can honestly say that if I need something whatever the time of the day one of the team will answer and solve the problem. It’s a streamlined process for me and the Atlas crew on board as well, if they have an issue Atlas can sort it out, no problem.

I think the renewables market is an open-ended industry, it’s always adapting to ensure that there are even more processes to generate more clean energy. Right now I know they are working on a method that uses water currents on the wind farms to generate more energy. You just look out at all that water and think there are endless possibilities for being able to provide good green energy to the world and I’m sure Atlas will be with me on that journey.”