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A Helpful Guide on How to Break into the UK’s Renewable Energy Sector

The renewable sector is an ever-growing industry in all pockets of the world – which means it needs an increasing number of employees. With additional support from experienced staff, the industry can expect to enjoy further success.

The amount of renewable capacity added across 2021 to 2026 is expected to be 50 per cent higher than from 2015 to 2020, which is an indication of our growing reliance on renewable sources and technology and those who work within these fields.

But what training options do you have if you want to make a successful career in the renewable sector?

Breaking into the renewables sector
Global renewable electricity capacity is forecast to rise more than 60% from 2020 levels to over 4 800 GW by 2026.

Additionally, the quantity of renewable capacity added over the period of 2021 to 2026 is expected to be 50 per cent higher than from 2015 to 2020.

If we reach this target, the renewables industry will be even stronger than it is today, which will result in a bigger demand for skilled employees.

In 2021, employment in the renewable sector reached 12.7 million across the world – an increase of 700,000 new jobs in one year.

According to Energy UK, as of 2022, there are around 743,000 people employed in the industry, with energy graduate schemes available through EDF Energy, ScottishPower, and Shell.

Those looking for a career that offers fulfilment, growth, and variety will be most attracted to roles within the renewables sector, but what do the necessary training routes look like?

There are typically two main paths that you can go down to secure a role in the industry: university (where you can obtain undergraduate and master’s degrees), and non-university institutions (where you can achieve an apprenticeship and other relevant qualifications).

You can find a vast sweep of establishments online that offer various courses, helping you break into the renewables industry.

While these training programmes generally offer similar modules, such as health and safety, the key when selecting the ideal course for your requirements is to have a clear idea of the role you want.

For example, here are some fruitful career opportunity areas alongside possible job roles that fall within them:

·        Research and development:  analysts, ecologists, tech experts, scientists, and engineers.

·        Maintenance: technicians and inspectors.

·        Design: tech designers and grid connection designers.

·        Support services: public relation advisors, financial experts, and business developers.

·        Construction: civil engineers and site managers.

Qualifications in core STEM subjects will be required for almost all positions in the industry. Both the university and apprenticeship routes will allow you to take on these job roles; the former will require achieving a degree in a STEM subject, whereas the latter offers paid, practical experience.

Having these various available options is great as it enables individuals from diverse backgrounds to access a fulfilling career in the renewable energy sector. However, is there a more straightforward path into this industry?

It seems that efforts are being made to establish a standardised entry route for a few roles.

For instance, in March 2018, the Global Wind Organisation introduced a new program called Requirement for Performing Basic Technical Training (BTT) Gap Training and Merit Assessment. This training initiative aims to bridge the gap between various training courses and is anticipated to be particularly advantageous for smaller traders and independent workers.

Jakob Lau Holst, CEO of Global Wind Organisation, said “The result will be a global pool of technicians whose basic safety and technical training competences can be validated in the GWO database WINDA and transferred from one employer to the next, helping employers avoid unnecessary spending on retraining, and providing certainty across the supply chain.”

Offered by training providers — including hydraulic torque wrench specialist, HTL Group — the BTT standard is designed to streamline the training process and will reportedly lower the time it takes to complete the training.

Renewables sector entry routes
According to The Engineer’s 2021 Salary Survey, just over half of the sample group (52 per cent) have a degree, while 34 per cent entered the renewables sector through an apprenticeship – an increase of jusy two per cent since 2020.

Naturally, the qualifications you need will depend on the type of job you hope to secure. Roles within the renewables sector are broad, including analysts, project managers, and engineers, so you need to narrow this down beforehand.

The growth of the renewable energy sector seems set to continue, so now is the perfect time to launch a renewables vocation!