The 8 Most In-Demand Skills in Renewables
The UK, like many other countries, has been shifting away from carbon fuels into cleaner, greener and sustainable sources of energy for decades. We look at the 8 most sought-after skills and attributes in renewables right now.
It’s only been in recent years, as global governments work towards a Net Zero deadline and public demand increased, that an acceleration towards a green economy has gained momentum.
Naturally, the volume of new jobs created in renewable energy sectors has soared. In 2018, there were 11,685 jobs in energy storage in the UK, along with 5,288 jobs in solar, 4,250 jobs in wind and 3,592 in bio energy.
These figures will steeply rise in the coming years. Switching to a green economy, however, requires a workforce with the right skills.
While renewable energy companies draw their staff from a broad range of professions (legal staff, administrators, salespeople and marketeers, for example, are always needed), there’s a serious skills gap in many of the more technical, hands-on roles.
As specialists in recruitment for the renewable energy sectors, we believe renewable energy represents a tremendous opportunity for candidates with valued soft skills who are looking to re-train, upskill or change careers.
It’s a booming sector in an otherwise uncertain post-COVID employment landscape, and developing your skills in renewable energy could give you a secure and hugely satisfying role for life. So in this article, we explore the skills and attributes that are most in-demand right now – and the training opportunities available:
MOST SOUGHT-AFTER ATTRIBUTES
- Communication | There are few sectors in which strong communication skills aren’t a key requirement, but in renewables, it’s a highly prized skillset. This is largely because many roles in renewables require a high degree of collaboration with other teams.
- Project Management | The ability to juggle multiple aspects of a project – under pressure against tight deadlines – is hugely valuable. Employers often prioritise candidates who can demonstrate successfully managing projects in challenging situations.
- Social Awareness | Employers like to see team members who walk the walk, as well as talk the talk; in renewables, this means having a well-developed understanding of social responsibility and sustainability, and being mindful of your own impact on the environment.
- STEM Background | This isn’t essential in all renewables roles, but overall, an educational background in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) shows you’re capable of critical thinking; an incredibly valuable skill for any technical role.
MOST SOUGHT-AFTER SKILLS + SECTORS
- Geothermal | The biggest skills gap we see is in engineers and technicians with experience in ground source or air heat pumps. Geothermal energy is a big growth area for the UK, with many new eco homes being heated by ground source or air heat pumps. So wide is this gap that we often say these people are like gold dust! Typical roles include Installation / Operations Managers, Heat Pump Service Engineers, Design Engineers and Heat Pump Installation Engineers / Technicians.
- Wind | The skills shortage in the wind sector is well documented. But with the Energy and Skills Group reporting that we will need: ’36,000 people employed in offshore wind to serve offshore arrays on the UK’s east coast by 2032, a 260% rise from 2018’, demand is becoming urgent. Typical roles include Wind Turbine Technician, Operations Manager, Wind Energy Analysts, Turbine Generator Engineers and Design Engineers.
- Energy Storage | Energy storage is a huge growth area for the UK. Batteries that store renewable energy have become as critical as the energy sources themselves, but in terms of recruitment, demand is outstripping supply. Typical roles include Project Engineering Managers, Electrochemists, Consultants, Field Services Engineers, Project and Technical Managers, Design Engineers and Business Development Managers.
- Solar | Demand for solar PV continues to rise across the country. Typical roles include Solar PV Engineers, Field Sales Engineers, Design Engineers, Energy Analysts, Business Development Managers, Planning and Project Managers, and Data Scientists.
TRAINING + RESOURCES
- The European Energy Centre (ECC) provide a range of courses, including Solar PV, Hydrogen Energy, Electric Vehicles, Consultancy, Wind Power, Electronics and Heat Humps.
- The Open University has several renewables courses which count towards OU qualifications.
- Find Courses lists almost every available training course in renewables, from providers like the Energy Institute, BPP Professional Education, the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and Activate Learning.
- Trades Courses offers the opportunity to gain nationally recognised qualifications such as City & Guilds, NVQ and ACS to help you to become qualified as a plumber, electrician, gas engineer, welder or renewable energy engineer.
- Reed also lists a number of short, self-paced online courses in renewable energy; ideal for those who are new to renewables and want to get an introduction to the industry.
- Logic4Training runs a specialised course in Heat Pump Training (LCL Awards RQF Level 3 Award in the Installation and Maintenance of Heat Pump Systems).
- TradeSKills4U provides City & Guilds and BPEC courses in Solar PV Installation and EV Car Charging Point Installation.
A&D Recruitment are specialists in recruitment for the renewable energy and building services industries. For more candidate tips, visit our blog section or contact us today for a friendly, informal chat about how A&D Recruitment could support you with your next move.
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