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Back to Press Releases 03 October 2023

ESB announces funding for Marine Mammal Observer Training Programme

  • Industry-approved training courses and medicals will be funded through the initiative  
  • Support being provided by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, The Marine Mammal Observer Association, and The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology  

3 October 2023

ESB has today announced plans to fund a Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) training programme which is open to graduates, final-year undergraduates and postgraduate students who are studying or working in the area of marine science or related disciplines.

The aim of the programme is to assist in developing marine ecology education and skills to support successful applicants at the early stages of their careers in the marine environmental profession.   

ESB will award up to five places on the MMO training programme. All applicants must be available to participate in person for training at Kilrush, Co Clare on the 4th and 5th of November 2023. Application forms can be requested from ESB via The deadline for application submissions is 12th October.

Industry-approved training courses and medicals will be funded to bring individuals up to the standard level of competency for offshore work. These courses include Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training (BOSIET), United Kingdom's Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) MMO training with Irish Guideline certifications, and Offshore Energies U.K (OEUK) approved medical and Fit-to-Train certifications.

The training programme is being endorsed by the Marine Mammal Observer Association, which will offer one-year complimentary affiliate membership to successful candidates and provide further advice and mentoring support for pursuing a career as an MMO. The programme is also being endorsed by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST), which will offer one-year complimentary associate membership and one-year access to its career development pathway.

The MMO training will be provided by the Irish Whale & Dolphin Group and will include classroom-based training, two nights’ accommodation and a half-day at sea experience onboard the research vessel, Celtic Mist. IWDG will also offer one-year complimentary membership to programme participants.

ESB Offshore Ecology Team, said: “As we continue with our drive at ESB to deliver offshore wind projects as part of our Net Zero by 2040 strategy, we are committed to promoting the MMO role in Ireland, and increasing the number of qualified and experienced local professionals that will play such an important role in the future of the industry. Training programmes such as this will not only add to the creation of employment opportunities but will also contribute positively to help protect species as Ireland develops offshore renewable wind energy.”

Simon Berrow, Chief Executive Officer of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, said: “Over the last 30 years the IWDG has been at the forefront of whale and dolphin conservation in Irish waters. Now, with increasing pressures on our seas, especially the coastal zone, there is more demand than ever for trained and experienced marine mammal mitigation experts. The IWDG is delighted to be working in collaboration with the ESB to provide pathways to joining the offshore industry in an environmental capacity, to ensure the continued safeguarding of marine mammals in Irish waters.

Ashleigh Kitchiner, Chair of the Marine Mammal Observer Association, commented: “MMOA believes that investing in developing emerging professionals is vital for the growth and sustainability of our industry. We are confident that this MMO Training Programme coupled with our endorsement and support will contribute to the success of each candidate”.

Gwynne Lewis, Chief Executive of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology, added: “IMarEST is delighted to endorse this MMO Training Programme. As the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology, nurturing the next generation of marine professionals and ensuring their access to the resources, networks, and educational opportunities essential for their development is central to our work. It is vital that we inspire, encourage and support young people to want to have a rewarding career as marine professionals.”

Qualified MMOs are environmental professionals who specialise in monitoring marine megafauna species and ensure the implementation of mitigation requirements during various industry operations. Such roles will play an important part in the delivery of offshore wind projects over the coming decade. Ireland has a unique capability given its prime location to take advantage of the potential of offshore wind.