Addressing the Renewables Skills Gap

The UK’s renewable energy sector is booming right now. As the government’s 2050 Net Zero pledge approaches, we’re making significant strides towards creating a cleaner, greener future.

The ban on new petrol and diesel cars is edging closer, most of the UK’s power stations are winding down and new build homes are set to be more energy efficient and cost effective than ever.

While this is fantastic news for both our carbon-neutral goals and our national economy, it does present a significant challenge for employers across the sector.

From wind power and solar technologies to ground source heating and battery storage, renewable energy employers have struggled to recruit staff with the technical skills for these in-demand areas.

So what can renewables businesses do to encourage a new generation of engineers, analysts, installers and project managers into the industry?

In this month’s blog, we explore four ways employers can begin to narrow the widening skills gap.

 

HARNESSING SENTIMENT

Perhaps more than any other event in our recent history, the pandemic has prompted workers to reassess their careers.

During lockdown, the one thing we heard most from our candidates was that they wanted a career that was not only secure, but that would make a real difference in some way.

In fact, in the last 12 months, we’ve seen a huge growth in people switching to jobs which are having a positive impact on society and the world as a whole.

By harnessing candidates’ need to contribute, the industry can connect with future talent at a more powerful emotional level by showcasing the importance of these technologies in reducing the effects of climate change.

 

IMPROVING AWARENESS

In our 2020 survey, we found that one of the biggest barriers to candidates’ engagement in the renewables sector was lack of understanding.

While 75% of respondents said they’d consider a career in renewable energy, the vast majority (77%) said that what stopped them progressing further was not knowing enough about it.

We believe this represents a significant opportunity for industry employers to create more widespread awareness of their technologies and the various opportunities available, in order to position renewables as an attractive, satisfying and lucrative career path.

 

WIDENING THE RECRUITMENT NET

It’s broadly recognised that there’s a need to attract and upskill engineers from other fields; engineers will always be the most in-demand skilled workers in renewables.

Upskilling may be a quicker route than training from scratch, but what other industries can renewables employers draw from?

The answer may lie in engaging candidates not only from the dwindling oil and gas sectors, but from the booming but unpredictable construction industries, the building services sector, related industries like heating, plumbing and electricals and even from science and technology.

Project management is another key skill, and there are multiple industries with skills crossover.

 

TRAINING TOMORROW’S TALENT

One of the most frequently cited challenges in recruiting from the oil and gas sectors is its aging workforce.

This, combined with the fact that emerging renewable technologies can quickly outpace the training available, presents an even greater challenge.

More and more courses are becoming available, but there’s still a long way to go.

Companies can help to bridge this gap by partnering with colleges and universities, teaming up with training providers and leading industry bodies, running apprenticeships, providing mentoring programmes and investing in building bespoke, in-house programmes.

A&D Recruitment are specialists in recruitment for the renewable energy and building services industries. For more tips, visit our blog section or contact us today for a friendly, informal chat about how A&D Recruitment could help you fill your next role.

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