Successful working life as a Vestas wind turbine technician

Begüm Demirtaş is a wind turbine technician and a member of the wind turbine support team at Vestas, Skane, Sweden. In this article she shares her story.

Begüm Demirtaş, Wind Turbine Technician, Vestas

Begum Demirtas

Begum Demirtas was born in Turkey, spent some time in Sweden as a child and then returned to Sweden to study. She now works as a Wind Turbine Technician. Begum is the first woman to join the all-male team at Vestas in Skane.

Background and path to becoming a Wind Turbine Technician at Vestas

You studied public relations and then international relations? What attracted you to those subjects?

My university education took much longer than I expected because I wanted to do a job where I could be happy for the rest of my life. So, I needed to get the right education and study what would open the right doors.
To make sure I made the correct choice, I moved on to other areas. So, I had the opportunity to meet and work with people from many different nationalities and fields. And of course, the training I received opened my horizons.
All in all, my studies led me to work in an international environment, but within the scope of the project management of wind turbines.
In fact, I can say that everything I have studied in the past has contributed to me in a different way. I fully believe that I have unknowingly prepared myself for my future!

Wind Power Management

You then studied wind power management which is very different. What caused you to make this change?

As I answered in the previous question, I was trying to find what I wanted to do career wise. I came from Turkey to Sweden for educational purposes and my family is still in Turkey. They have a solar energy business. So, I was never very far from renewable energy, but I don’t know why, I never thought of working in this field. Then, I was accepted to a wind turbines introductory course as a side course during one semester. I realized that it was something I really enjoyed and that I felt it would be my future. Therefore, I dropped out of the department where I had been studying and started a full-time wind turbines project management course at Uppsala University.

wind turbines at sunrise

Now I am working in one of the leading companies in the sector. It has been four years since wind energy entered my life and I have no regrets.
My excitement when I applied on the first day continues in the same way. I hope it stays like this for the rest of my life, because as a sector, we work with a technology that is open to innovation and constantly developing. Every day we try to overcome different difficulties.
It would not be wrong to say that we work in a different office every day. For this reason, I am very happy with the sector and field I have chosen.

Childhood interests

Were there any childhood interests which were a factor in changing to a technical subject?

I moved to Sweden with my family when I was young. The reason was my father’s transfer as an engineer from Turkey to Sweden’s largest automation company.
Since I was a child, electrical and electronics have always been a part of our home. These are the things I believe you should be interested in as a Turbine Technician.
The part I’ve studied is mostly about management, even though it’s about turbines and wind.
Once I was applying for a job and trying to enter a field where I didn’t have any experience, this interest in engineering subjects was a great help to me. Even though I didn’t have specific work experience, I did have an interest and I emphasised this in my application letter and in my interview. I believe that this helped me to get the job.
Thanks to my childhood, I can easily understand the functioning of engineering systems. I believe that it has had a great impact on me.

Working and studying

You were the Campus Representative for Windbaba whilst you were studying. How did you balance working and studying?

You were the Campus Representative for Windbaba whilst you were studying. How did you balance working and studying?

This was more of an organization I was involved with to provide myself with field-related information and training, rather than a job. This organisation offers training in the field of wind turbines. I had the opportunity to benefit from these training courses while promoting them as their representative. It gave me the chance to establish good connections with both the management and other working students.

Did one help the other?

Of course! Throughout my education, I always tried to be in organizations like Windbaba. While we are studying at university, we may have free time even if we are not aware of it. I recommend all fellow students who read this interview to take an active role in institutions other than university during their education. I even had the chance to take a role as their translator in a project thanks to Windbaba and published in Simple Renewables.


You speak three languages. How quickly did you learn Swedish? Was it easier because you already spoke English?

Since I came to Sweden when I was very young, I had a chance to learn a little. Thanks to completing my education in English at a Swedish university, today I can speak (non-professional) Swedish as well as academic English and my mother tongue Turkish.

You worked at the Translation Officer for TWRE, what did that involve?

TWRE is a renewable energy community founded by Turkish women. It was a system that I joined to be included in a group that was active outside of my education. They gave me very valuable information when I was writing my thesis. Its members are comprised of leading women in the industry.

blades of turbine

Women in Engineering

What is it like for you being the first woman to be hired in your current team?

Frankly, it’s kind of funny and a new experience for me and my team. In my opinion, the wind energy field is a rapidly rising new technology. So, women technicians are at the moment very new to a male-dominated work environment. Prejudices exist in every field, but my job is very enjoyable for me. It is an honour for me to show that women can be in any field, and to be the first female person in the team.

How important is physical fitness at work for you?

To be able to work as a wind turbine technician, you must have good health. Before starting work, you must go through a very detailed health check. For myself, I need to maintain my physical fitness. I think this is one of the hardest parts of our job. You need to use your mind and body very well to be successful.

What would you say to a woman who is considering working in the wind power industry?

It’s a tough job but from what I have seen so far, they have a great system for the Technicians.
Our company offers all kinds of possibilities in terms of equipment. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re physically a man or a woman when the equipment is used wisely. Of course, there is a strength difference that we can’t deny, but this is one of the best parts of our work as a team. We are a team and as a team we always support each other. One of us completes what the other one hasn’t done. So, to any women considering this industry – break through prejudices for a great job in a great industry.

wind farm

Typical Day as a Wind Turbine Technician for Vestas

What’s your typical day like?

We start the week with our team meeting. As you may know, we work in teams of at least two people. The team size increases based on the difficulty of the job.
I work in the south of Sweden and usually drive an average of an hour to reach the turbine. Our weekly plans are determined from the previous week. Especially as a new technician, I definitely need to prepare for the job I’m going to do, since I don’t have the experience to know if it’s a small job or not.
Usually after we’re done at the turbine, we return to the office to finish the day and complete our paperwork. If you love your job and you are lucky like me and have a very nice team, the day goes by very quickly anyway. I always try to rest after I come home. We have some online platforms that the company offers us. When I come home, I always take a look at them while I rest.

How much of your time is spent ‘hands on’ and how much on admin or other tasks?

The answer to this varies depending on the job. Sometimes we do paperwork two days a week. Sometimes we spend half an hour just filling out the necessary paperwork after work. However, we always have a preliminary study to prepare before completing the given task. In doing this, we obtain all kinds of information that will make our work easier when we go up onto the turbine.

Workplace support

Which other people in the workplace give you support?

Our planner, team leader, supervisor and in fact thousands of employees working in our company are with us every day. We can get online support from a second level technician working anywhere in the world just with a message. The technicians we work with in the same region, who are more experienced, are always helpful.

Challenges working as a Wind Turbine Technician for Vestas

What do you find most challenging when you are working?

There is a significant difference between the first month I started working and now.
We work in a narrow area due to the large components inside the nacelle.
I constantly hurt myself physically for a while until I got used to it. It gets better as time goes on and you do get accustomed to it. Because we often spend hours in a brand-new environment, that can be challenging for me.

Interior of a nacelle

Have you ever arrived and found that it’s been much easier than you expected? For example, have you just needed to switch something on?

I wasn’t there but something like this happened at work last week. This is what happened.
We often do very intense work for long periods of time under difficult conditions. Little things can cause huge problems. A small valve that needs to be closed after hours can cause the entire turbine to stop. Or a thermostat left in the wrong setting may prevent the turbine from going into production. Luckily one of our team noticed it immediately. Thanks to his experience, he solved the problem very quickly.

New Wind Turbine Technicians

What are the three key things to do in your first month as a wind turbine technician?

There are three key things I would recommend.

I definitely recommend taking notes. I take a note of everything I do right now because everything is new and sometimes it can be too much to remember. We’re human and can forget quickly, even if it’s something simple.

A regular routine will definitely help. Resting well and protecting our health during our working days is the key to working with less fatigue and more enjoyment. We also work with a specific plan and so being off sick can affect not only us but the whole team. Honestly, this might be the most important item for me. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s work life.

Make sure to follow the rules. You should start as you mean to go on as we work in a risky industry. New people should definitely not ignore security steps and should never skip them. You should get into good habits and establish a routine.

wind turbine with crane

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