Starting a Career in the Renewable Energy Sector

With planning applications for renewable energy projects hitting a new high and jobs in the sector set to rise over the next decade to meet 2050’s zero-carbon target, the future looks bright for offshore jobs in wind and wave energy.

If you’re considering starting a career in the renewable energy sector, now is the right time to make your career move. This fast-growing and innovative sector is both challenging and highly rewarding, giving you the opportunity to be in at the ground floor and shape the sustainable energy of the future.

Why renewable energy?

Opportunities to work in this exciting sector exist across the UK. You don’t have to be based offshore but with the UK leading the world in offshore wind, offshore work is particularly attractive. If you want to work in an innovative and dynamic sector, renewable energy could be the right fit for you.

It’s also a high growth area for new jobs, with at least 120,000 new jobs required in the sector to meet the Government’s ambitious carbon neutral targets. Offshore wind is a particularly rewarding industry thanks to the ambition and scale of projects being undertaken and the range of opportunities on offer. 

What career opportunities are available?

There are a wide range of roles available in renewable energy, including management, consultant and planning alongside engineering. The lifecycle of a marine or wind project offshore offers opportunities in research and design, development, technical analysis, construction and installation and management, operation and maintenance.

The breadth of roles required makes the renewable sector attractive to graduates and those seeking a change of career alike. Skills in marketing, PR, quantity surveying, architecture and design are all transferable to the sector. Construction engineers will often find a route in via practical hands-on experience but if you’re looking to change career, there are a range of vocational and training related routes into renewable energy careers.

Do I have the right degree?

There are opportunities for graduates and non-graduates in offshore energy, plus vocational qualifications and apprenticeships. For all technical careers, good maths and science are essential but there are more general opportunities in PR and marketing.

If you have a science degree, you’ll be at a clear advantage when it comes to pursuing a career in the offshore renewable sector. Engineering will open a route into design, development, installation and operation of vital equipment but if you lack an engineering degree, there are routes into careers through HNC and HND.

A business or economics degree is a great fit with career paths including sales manager, project economist or investment analyst. Coordinators and project planners are essential to keep a facility operating successfully and if you have a business degree, you can often find vocational courses that open the door to a career in renewable energy.

Careers in PR and stakeholder management usually require a degree level or equivalent qualification. Strong communication and presentation skills are also essential but this is a way into the industry for non-technical qualifications.

Professional training and development

Professional training and continuous career development are essential in this relatively new industry. Successful candidates will be those who are on top of the latest developments in renewable energy and can demonstrate competence at interview and doing the job.

Professional training is available through industry bodies, helping to future proof your career as the sector undergoes inevitable changes and professionalisation. There are a wide range of free resources available alongside subscriptions to industry websites and publications to keep on top of the technical elements. Something as simple as setting a Google News alert can give you a heads up on information that lets you stand out from the crowd.

Make sure that you develop strong professional networks using LinkedIn rather than Twitter or Facebook and update your CV and profile regularly, asking peers to endorse your skills and knowledge. Network with other industry professionals online and at conferences and training in order to stay on top of the latest news and opportunities.

Is renewable energy a good career choice?

If you’re looking for exciting opportunities, excellent remuneration and job stability, a career in renewable energy could be for you. This is an evergreen sector that will always require employees and the choice of careers expands as new disciplines and specialisms are required. Universities now offer a range of degree courses designed to meet the demands of working in offshore green energy and with the number of companies in the field expanding as the race to carbon zero intensifies, there’s never been a better time to start your career in renewable energy.

Image Credit: renewable energy via Eviart/Shutterstock

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