3Sun Group Apprentices: A breath of Fresh Air for Wind Energy Museum
An innovative resourcing partnership between Norfolk heritage centre The Wind Energy Museum and energy engineering firm 3sun Group has seen 5 apprentices tackling a wealth of engineering challenges from another era.
Maintaining an impressive collection spanning 200 years of wind power history from around the world, owner Debra Nicholson of the museum in Repps-with-Bastwick requires specialist support to ensure the upkeep of these larger than life exhibits. From windpumps to waterwheels, the centre hosts some of the Broads area’s most ingenious contraptions for harnessing the power of wind.
MOVING RESTORATION PROJECTS FORWARD
One exhibit that was in urgent need of restoration was the museum’s Lucas “Freelite” wind-driven lighting plant, one of the world’s first ever wind generators. Needing reconstruction from scratch it was an ideal first project for the apprentices. Investigating the designs, researching heritage manufacturing techniques and applying their own up-to-date engineering skills has brought the apprentices closer to getting the turbine to run, providing museum visitors with a demonstration of the power it can generate.
RETAINING HERITAGE SKILLS
With fewer millwrights available with traditional skills nowadays Debra explains “The apprentices are picking up the mantle, making sure these important skills aren’t lost forever.”
Colin Drewitt of 3sun Group said “The apprentices thoroughly enjoyed the project and were amazed to see how the wind energy industry first started out and what it’s evolved into now. It’s given them an appreciation of the sector’s heritage and the engineering challenges and solutions that have been developed along the way.”
SECURING WIND ENERGY EXPERTISE FOR EASTERN ENGLAND
Throughout their placement at the museum the apprentices have, by exploring wind energy heritage, gained an appreciation of the relevance of wind power to our future as well as our past.
With the growth of large scale wind farms off the coasts of East Anglia, the importance of the wind energy sector as a source of future employment is growing rapidly. The Wind Energy Museum is keen to work collaboratively with schools and businesses to run events to encourage children to consider careers in the sector.