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How To Start A Career In The Renewable Energy Sector

Our world is at a precipice of change and evolution. Driven by technological advancements and digital-first strategies, there has been an increased demand for electricity along with a focus on reduced carbon emissions in recent years. The renewable energy sector has never been more in demand and offers many exciting career opportunities that align with a sustainable future.

Understanding the Renewable Energy Space

The energy industry is largely divided into traditional and renewable energy. The traditional sector includes fields related to coal, oil and natural gas. Renewable energy focuses on solar energy, wind, hydroelectric power, and biofuel. This is also where more growth opportunities lie, with a consistent CAGR of 8.4% predicted for 2022 to 2030. The question is how can you get a head start on career options in renewable energy, and highlight some of the key skills and qualifications to keep in mind?

Joining the workforce of the renewable energy industry can enable you to become a true change maker, as every step taken leads to a positive impact on our planet. Moreover, with proper technical training applicants can bag some of the highest-paying jobs in the world. While climbing the ladder may seem like a daunting challenge, the approach is similar to other markets. Here is a step-by-step guide to keep track of where you are in the process, and understand how it works better:

Choosing a functional area

The first step is finalising a specific field that you want to explore. Some companies provide equipment and services, while others may operate within repair work of tools and machinery. Businesses are segregated according to:

  • Upstream companies: Dealing directly with energy sources and fuels, their extraction and supply.
  • Midstream companies: Dealing with the storage, transportation and logistics of energy sources, like pipeline transportation.
  • Downstream companies: Creating usable products by extracting fuels through coordinating with midstream companies, to provide the finished product to end consumers.

    Once applicants decide which kind of business they are interested in, they need to look at the various functional areas within companies, to explore where they fit. Typically, a renewable energy business has diverse departments dedicated to specific functions, aligned with the demands of its consumer base. These roughly include finance, marketing, accounting, sales, information technology, skilled trades, customer service and transportation. It is up to you to decide which department you are best suited for, based on your aspirations and professional qualifications. This is also something people switching careers should be mindful of, as they can look at in-house departments related to their previous fields.

    Holistic personal development

    While an academic degree is definitely beneficial while applying for job roles in the renewable energy industry, it may not be a hard and fast requirement for some job profiles, including the likes of repair, installation and energy distribution. Higher-level roles such as engineers, management leads, and scientific research may need a bachelor’s or master’s level degree. A well-rounded profile that highlights the candidate’s goals, aspirations and soft skills also has a higher chance of landing them a role that is not too technical.

    On the other hand, if you are looking to apply for a niche position, it is important to upskill yourself with the latest accreditations and certifications. Having good technical know-how and training can definitely be a strong differentiator. There are many flexible distance learning courses that can aid such learning.

    Building industry knowledge through news

    The renewable energy industry is one of the fastest growing in the world. It is important to stay up to date with the latest happenings and innovations. The best way to maintain this knowledge base is, of course, to follow the news. Simple habits like setting Google alerts and following social media trends go a long way in identifying growth opportunities. In addition, academic journals from leading energy organisations like the Renewable Energy Institute can provide potential applicants with important information to aid their career development.

    Networking with industry specialists

    This may seem like a no-brainer, but meeting and greeting others form an incredibly critical part of the job-seeking process. Whether it is through conferences, seminars or specific business events, networking with industry specialists can provide you with invaluable insights that you will not find elsewhere. Additionally, these events enable you to interact with renewable energy experts who are at the forefront of their fields and are shaping the growth of the industry. Online platforms like LinkedIn can also prove beneficial for building a strong contact base and finding a specialist who will be able to guide your decision-making process. Your next employer may just be an event or online profile away!

    Finding the right position and customising your profile

    Finally, once you have a clear idea of the potential job you want and an employer who operates in that area, it is time to get down to the basics and update your profile in line with their requirements. Research the role and the job description in detail, make a note of the technical and soft skills needed and connect with like-minded professionals who can help you get to the next stage. Joining a professional association specific to the renewable energy sector can also help while searching for niche jobs as it enables candidates to network with like-minded professionals. Be sure to strengthen your management skills and customise your resume for different roles, as a one-size-fits-all approach is unlikely to work for skilled positions.

    The other way to locate and land your ideal role is to get in touch with recruitment agencies who focus on this industry specifically, as they will already have a database of jobs available, the level at which these positions are open and they can advise you on whether you fit the requirements. Having a consultant review your profile and share it with the right prospective employers not only builds confidence but ensures that an industry connection is maintained. At Pangea, we strive to provide this support at every stage of the recruitment process. To know more about how we work and how we can help you kickstart your career, get in touch with our expert teams today!