The offshore wind energy labour market in Poland could create up to 80,000 new jobs over the next few years. A major challenge will be the preparation of qualified personnel. One university that is responding to market needs is the Maritime University in Gdynia. In February, the first graduates of the one-year postgraduate course ‘Risk management in the offshore industry and wind energy’ will leave the walls of the university, with the next edition starting in March. Recruitment is ongoing. PGE Baltica, a PGE Group company, is the main partner of the studies.
The postgraduate studies are intended for managerial and technical staff of companies with offshore operations – both in the offshore wind and oil & gas industries.
Knowledge transferred in practice
When creating the programme of postgraduate studies, we tried to select such a subject matter which would complement the offer of postgraduate studies present on the market,” says Agnieszka Blokus-Dziula, Manager of Postgraduate Studies. – Our studies combine knowledge on broadly understood risk management in projects, regardless of the industry, with knowledge strictly related to offshore wind energy and the offshore industry, adds Agnieszka Blokus-Dziula.
During the two semesters of study, students attended classes that lasted a total of 190 hours. A feature that characterises and distinguishes these studies is the practical dimension of the knowledge provided.
Theoretical knowledge, but without being overly academic, combined with practical knowledge provides a strong foundation in terms of knowing and understanding risk in the offshore sector. This is a powerful load of information, definitely accelerating the understanding of the offshore wind and oil & gas sector,” assesses Konrad Wróbel, an offshore wind professional and risk management practitioner.
The area of the Baltic Sea is 397,978 km2. The estimated potential for offshore wind energy development in this area is 93 GW, of which one third is in the Polish part of the Baltic Sea.
From my perspective, my studies have allowed me to acquire knowledge that could have taken several years to complete without my studies. I see a clear professional progression. Combining these studies with professional practice is the best thing we can do for ourselves if we are serious about dealing with the offshore industry in our careers,” he adds.
How to plan for risk
Planning risk management and controlling and managing it appropriately in projects is an essential factor at every stage of projects, such as when preparing contracts, carrying out expert appraisals, scheduling component deliveries, planning construction, maintenance and repair tasks and many other activities.
During the first edition of the study, Rafał Żendarski, senior manager for port and offshore logistics of offshore wind farms at PGE Baltica, introduced the students to topics relating to the offshore wind industry in its broadest sense.
As a typical practitioner with many years of experience working offshore, I also conducted a case study based on real analytical documentation, thus familiarising the students with conducting risk assessments in real working conditions on ships, says the PGE Baltica expert about the classes he conducted. The company is the main partner of these postgraduate courses.
Risk management is a key issue for the offshore industry and for many reasons. Not only does it provide the basis for ensuring the feasibility of investments, but it is also the basis for making business decisions and directly affects the costs of projects, not to mention the health and lives of people involved in them,’ notes Łukasz Sikorski, lecturer at the postgraduate programme and Director at Offshore Wind Consultants. – The students of the first edition had a chance to take part in exercises based on real and very up-to-date case studies – they conducted the legal and technical due diligence process for an offshore project acquisition transaction and analysed risks related to investing in the Polish offshore wind energy industry, emphasises Łukasz Sikorski.