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Back to Press Releases 03 July 2024

ESB announces funding for Marine Mammal Observer Training Programme following success of first year

  • Industry-approved training courses and medicals will again be funded through the initiative in 2024 
  • Support is being provided by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, The Marine Mammal Observer Association, and The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology  

Wednesday, 3rd July 2024 

ESB has today announced plans to fund its Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) training programme for a second year. The programme is open to graduates, final-year undergraduates and postgraduate students who are studying or working in the area of marine science or related disciplines. In 2023, five participants successfully completed the programme and availed of industry-approved training courses and medicals which were also funded through the initiative. 

A key objective 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. An additional key aim is to fill a gap in the Irish offshore wind industry’s local supply chain due to a lack of locally-based MMOs on the island of Ireland. 

ESB will award up to five places on the MMO training programme again this year. All applicants must be available to participate in person for training at Kilrush, Co Clare in September. Application forms can be requested from ESB via The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, 31st July.

ESB Offshore Ecology Team, said: “The ESB Marine Mammal Observer Training Programme, launched in 2023, represented a significant milestone. We are delighted to be able to support the programme again this year to help promote the MMO role in Ireland by nurturing local talent – initiatives like this are essential in facilitating the delivery of ESB's Net Zero targets by 2040. Our funding will provide opportunities to enhance skilled work readiness and will build on our collaboration with partners such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group as Ireland ramps up delivery of renewable energy. At the heart of this programme is the inspiration and support of young professionals seeking fulfilling careers in marine ecology and sustainable 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 continuing this collaboration with ESB in providing pathways to joining the offshore industry in an environmental capacity, working to ensure safeguarding of marine mammals in Irish waters”.

Ashleigh Kitchiner, Chair of the Marine Mammal Observer Association, commented: We are delighted to be supporting this programme for a second time after the success of the first programme. Our mission is to work with newly qualified MMOs and PAM operators, amongst experienced professionals and relevant stakeholders, to improve the profession's effectiveness. The MMO Training Programme provides the platform to do just that, as investing in mitigation professionals is vital for the growth and sustainability of this industry”.

Chris Goldsworthy, Chief Executive of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology, added: “The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology is delighted to endorse the MMO Training Programme for a second successive year. It is vital that we encourage and provide the necessary support to inspire young people into rewarding careers within the marine industry – this programme provides valuable resources and fantastic offshore experience, which will be a great benefit for those participating”.

In addition to the MMO training aspect, the costs associated with the delivery of the necessary industry-approved training courses and medicals will also be funded with the aim of ensuring all trainees are 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 and the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST).

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.