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Youngsters find out about working on offshore turbines with VR sets

PUBLISHED: 17:01 05 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:01 05 November 2019

“I’'m in the sky!” A young budding offshore wind turbine engineer enthralled by his virtual reality at the top of a 150m high turbine in the southern North Sea. Pic: submitted

"I''m in the sky!" A young budding offshore wind turbine engineer enthralled by his virtual reality at the top of a 150m high turbine in the southern North Sea. Pic: submitted

Working at the top of an offshore wind turbine was brought to life for children in Norfolk by Swedish wind farm developer Vattenfall using virtual reality technology.

Holding on tight and looking out to sea on a virtual reality tour of an offshore turbine. Pic: submittedHolding on tight and looking out to sea on a virtual reality tour of an offshore turbine. Pic: submitted

Technology and games that tell the story of the new industry taking shape off the east coast and the wide range of job roles it is creating were part of a skills programme designed by Vattenfall and its student 'consultants.' Children - and their parent and grandparents - from across the county used VR headsets to discover what it feels like to inspect the engineering at the top of a 150m turbine tower generating electricity off the coast.

The VR experiences then took them 'by boat' to turbines 40km off the coast where they then took a virtual lift to the top and inspected the mechanics as part of Vattenfall's implementation of the offshore wind sector deal in Norfolk.

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Looking into the future: – primary school children discover the range of careers created by offshore wind off the Norfolk coast in the programme by Swedish energy group Vattenfall. Pic: submittedLooking into the future: – primary school children discover the range of careers created by offshore wind off the Norfolk coast in the programme by Swedish energy group Vattenfall. Pic: submitted

Susan Falch-Lovesey, Vattenfall's local liaison officer and skills champion, said a number of people had experienced the tours and discovered more about offshore wind development and its careers at its latest event at Norwich Science Festival.

"Children, young people, parents and grandparents leave knowing more about the offshore wind industry, the range of jobs it offers and the green clean energy being produced."

Vattenfall, driving for fossil-fuel free living within a generation, plans to build two of the world's biggest wind farms, Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas, off the Norfolk coast.

Six-year-old Caleb Fadhel queued patiently for his tour to the top of a turbine with his mum, Rachael, and three -year-old sister, Aiyah.

He described the VR experience of standing on the top of the turbine and the boat trip as "amazing and exciting." His mother, Rachael, of Norwich, said: "This is a great careers tool, especially for children because it's fun and informative. It is good that children can grow up finding out about more careers than the fire, police and doctor-type jobs that they see."

Vattenfall hopes to win consent in December for its 1.8 GW Norfolk Vanguard offshore wind farm, more than 47km from the Norfolk Coast adjacent to its proposed Norfolk Boreas, which also 1.8GW.

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