Cammy Keith, Business Manager at TMM Recruitment, suggests that we all need to keep learning about jobs in renewables and the routes to skilled employment in a sustainable energy industry.
Renewables, energy transition, low carbon future, blue economy, green economy, sustainability, and net zero are phrases we’re all familiar with now, but the associated career opportunities are less recognisable.
Job types are evolving as the transition to net-zero builds momentum, but it’s a complicated picture and we all need to be better educated about the pathways to skilled employment in a sustainable energy industry.
We’re gradually learning about the potential of the energy transition on jobs. I learn a little more every day from the experiences of my candidates and clients. If I’m honest, the scale of the work being undertaken by organisations including ETZ, OPITO, NESA and NESCOL to map skills, define training needs and engage the future workforce is hard to wrap my head around. I’ll leave that to the experts and admire from afar how they are translating skills strategies into actionable plans.
What I am sure about is the lack of understanding around how companies in the supply chain are contributing to the transition. A quick Google of “Renewable energy job in Aberdeen” throws out a search result that is a mix of pure play renewable companies and businesses considered oil and gas employers. It’s surprising how often candidates don’t appreciate that oil and gas employers are part of the solution, making considered decisions to improve their resilience, decarbonise operations and explore growth through diversification and applying products and services in low carbon technologies. I’ve had many conversations with job seekers around how their personal interests to work in renewables can be met by an employer that has revenue streams across the energy mix.
What image springs to your mind when you think of renewables? I guess there’s a solar panel, wind turbine and a man wearing a hard hat. Pictures like this overlook the myriad of backgrounds, experiences, and skills needed to address the challenges in an industry working through significant change. I believe it could be eroding the appeal of the sector because people, of every age, can’t imagine themselves working there.
And yet, we’re doing it all the time at TMM Recruitment, helping operations and business support staff start new jobs thanks to the value of their transferrable skills.
It’s reported that the energy transition workforce will be bigger than the UK offshore energy workforce and that over 90% of the UK’s oil and gas workers have medium to high skills transferability and are well positioned to work in adjacent energy sectors. The challenge of enabling access to energy that is affordable and doesn’t destroy the planet will be enduring.
These messages must get through to people so they can see that there is the potential for a long and satisfying career in energy.
Without question we need more events like Energy Voice Net Zero Futures and Peterhead Port: Embracing the Energy Transition Opportunity to learn about developments and opportunities around skills, training, and low carbon industries.
I implore every employer and organisation committed to the transition to tell their business story and shout about their plans and successes. Recently, a candidate I represented found himself in the fortunate position of receiving two job offers. Despite the lower salary he chose the employer he perceived had a larger renewables portfolio – it’s no coincidence this was the employer that did a better job of sharing and upselling their sustainability credentials.
Employers must retain employees who have the appetite for learning and capacity to adopt new skills, and they simply cannot rely on recruitment to plug knowledge gaps. Internal mobility could be a successful strategy. For this to effectively work you really need to know your people, the level and breadth of their skills and personal aspirations and be committed to personalised, adaptable learning plans.
We need to learn how to take greater ownership of our personal upskilling and reskilling, otherwise we wait for our careers to happen, rather than taking steps to make careers happen. It’s so important to share every development that supports these decisions, guiding people to look in the right places to learn about training and careers.
When I think about the new qualifications and career paths in renewables that are opening-up through apprenticeships and scholarships, “If you can see it, you can be it!” comes to mind.
As the next generation of industry leaders start out on their careers, I’m convinced that sustainable jobs will address the transition challenges - so long as we keep learning together.
Contact Cammy to discuss how TMM Recruitment can support your renewable focused recruitment on T 01224 327 000 and firstname.lastname@example.org.