North Lancashire-born Brett Wallbank is forging a new career in the global wind industry after leaving his former life working aboard cruise ships.
40-year-old Brett spent six years travelling around the world on cruise ships helping to manage the onboard sporting facilities. It was a great lifestyle while it lasted but Brett was keen to spend more quality time at home and pursue a more conventional career.
He decided to train in rope access as a route out and after a determined six months looking for a start in his new career, Brett secured a role with a specialist structural company. For the next five years, he built his rope access experience, working on everything from inspecting bridges to completing structural and maintenance work on high buildings.
Brett eventually made the leap into freelancing and, after enjoying a couple of offshore trips and working on high-profile projects such as the Forth Road Bridge and Hinkley Point, he decided to transition his skills into the global wind industry.
Shortly after completing his GWO (Global Wind Organisation) mandatory training and a GWO Blade Repair course with AIS Survivex, Brett scooped his first wind job in Ireland preparing leading edge protection and following that won a contract on Farr Wind Farm in Scotland.
“With so many wind farms being built around the UK, I decided that working in the wind industry was the right way to go. It’s certainly worked out – I’m enjoying every minute and haven’t regretted my decision once.
“AIS Survivex is my number one choice for training. As well as all my GWO training, I’ve completed loads of courses here such as OPITO Painter Blaster, Confined Space and Offshore Survival. Having all the training in one location makes it really easy and with courses running every week you can always find a slot on the course you need.
“The quality of the instructors is also second to none. I’ve remained in close contact with some of the AIS Survivex instructors and those relationships have proved invaluable in helping me identify potential wind contracts.
“For anyone thinking about changing careers into wind, I’d say don’t be put off. Some people believe that to mend wind turbines you need to be a level 3 rope access but that’s not true. I’ve found many companies looking to take one level 1 and level 2 rope access guys and you can easily build your experience on-the-job. In my past career, I’ve done repairs, I’ve done inspections – it was all relevant experience and stood me in good stead for my new wind career.”