Opinion

Training in the UK’s renewables sector

Posted by stephen avv

11-Jun-2019


Training in the UK's renewables sector

Around the world, the renewables sector is a growing industry — and that means it needs an increasing number of new employees to support and drive it to further success. In 2017, renewable power generation increased to 29.4% from 24.5% from the previous year, which is an indication of our growing reliance on renewable sources and technology, and the people who work with them.

But what routes can you take to make a successful career in the renewables sector? Within this article, we'll explore the renewables sector in the UK and the training courses involved with entering the industry.

Breaking into the renewables sector
By 2040, the World Economic Forum expects that the global average annual net capacity for renewables will be 160 GW, compared to approximately 50 GW for gas and 20 GW for coal. If this comes to fruition, the renewables sector will be even greater than it is now, leading to a heightened demand for skilled workers.

The International Renewable Energy Agency created approximately half a million new jobs in the renewables energy sector last year, which brought the total of global workers in the industry to around 9.4 million. In the UK, there are around 126,000 renewables employees, according to the Renewable Energy Association, and with record growth in areas such as onshore wind power construction, it's no surprise that this sector is a popular one for career starters.

“Wind and marine energy currently supports around 30,000 direct and indirect jobs and there is the potential to generate a further 70,000 over the next decade,” states Sophie Bennett, RenewableUK's policy manager for employment, skills and training.

She added: “Working in renewables offers the chance to be part of an exciting, diverse, growing industry as well as playing a part in the fight against climate change. You could work on land, at sea, in an office or in a laboratory.”

The renewables sector appears to be an attractive career choice for those looking for fulfilment, growth and variety. But what is the training landscape for the renewables industry?

Essentially, there are two main avenues that you can go down to secure a job in this industry: universities — offering undergraduate and master's degrees — and non-university institutions that offer apprenticeships and nationally-recognised qualifications.  

Looking online, you can find a range of establishments offering what seem like a variety of course styles to break into the renewables industry. Although these training programmes generally feature similar modules, such as health and safety, the key when selecting the ideal course for you is to have a clear idea of the type of role you want. Here are the major career opportunity areas and examples of 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.

To work in this sector, qualifications in core STEM subjects are required for almost all positions. You can gain entry to a career via an apprenticeship route — the benefit of which is paid, practical experience — or take the higher education path by achieving a degree in a STEM subject.

Options are great and allow for a wider network of people from all backgrounds to launch a rewarding career in renewables — but is there a clearer way into the industry? Apparently so, with steps being taken to standardise the entry route for many roles. For example, in March 2018, the Global Wind Organisation developed a new Requirement for Performing Basic Technical Training (BTT) Gap Training and Merit Assessment. The aim of this new training programme is to bridge the gap between different training courses and is expected to be especially beneficial to 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.

Routes of entry for the renewables sector

The Engineer's Salary Survey revealed that the lowest proportion of workers qualified via apprenticeships in the renewables sector, at just 28.8%. In contrast, the sector has the highest proportion of employees who have qualified with a bachelors or honours degree at 58.6%. What's more, 54.5% of those surveyed are professionally registered in the energy, nuclear, and renewables sector. This clearly highlights the sector's high entry levels and demand for education.

Of course, the qualifications you need will depend on the type of job you wish to pursue. Jobs within the renewables sector are broad and far-reaching, including engineers, analysts, and project managers. Whether you wish to launch a renewables vocation, already work in the industry, or are thinking about changing career, the growth of the renewables sector seems set to continue.

Sources

http://www.climateactionprogramme.org/news/over-9.4-million-people-employed-in-the-renewable-energy-sectorhttps://www.prospects.ac.uk/jobs-and-work-experience/job-sectors/energy-and-utilities/careers-in-the-renewable-energy-industry

http://www.globalwindsafety.org/gwo/training_providers/requirements_for_performing_btt_gap_training_and_merit_assessment.html

https://www.windpowerengineering.com/business-news-projects/the-global-wind-organization-starts-an-industry-wide-technical-training-standardization/

https://www.theiet.org/apprentices/area-engineering/renewable-energy.cfm

http://www.irena.org/newsroom/pressreleases/2018/May/Renewable-Energy-Jobs-Reach-10-Million-Worldwide-in-2017  

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-23509211

https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/opinion/3035269/jobs-and-investment-cools-in-the-uk

http://www.climateactionprogramme.org/news/bp-predicts-a-400-growth-in-renewable-energy-by-2040

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/22/fears-for-future-of-uk-onshore-wind-power-despite-record-growth

https://s3-eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/centaur-wp/theengineer/prod/content/uploads/2017/06/14164613/Salary-Survey-Web2.pdf

http://www.renewableenergyjobs.com/content/complete-guide-to-finding-a-renewable-energy-job

https://cleantechnica.com/2017/07/25/nearly-126000-people-employed-uk-renewable-energy-industry/ http://www.globalwindsafety.org/gwo/news/news_q2_2017/the_basic_technical_training_has_now_been_released.html

 



New service from OilVoice
Trip Shepherd is for companies who need to track their staff in areas of risk.
It's free to use, so we invite you to try it.

More items from madfool2008


Take advantage of controlled bolting techniques

For all operations, controlled bolting is highly important. It ensures that the tightening and loosening of bolts are done in a controlled manner. If you rush through this process, then you could risk complications further down the line. If you correctly use a controlled bolting technique, then it c ...

stephen avv


Posted 6 days agoPress > Mech-Toolasset integrity engineeringHydraulic control systems +9

A review of nuclear power and predictions for future performance

Amongst the growth of the renewable energy sector and the negative coverage surrounding the industry, it hasn't been plain sailing for the nuclear power sector of late. However, is the negativity surrounding the industry justified? Looking behind the headlines and scratching the surface on the perf ...

stephen avv


Posted 2 months agoPress > Nuclear PlantNuclearNuclear Reactors +2

Can apprenticeships address the UK’s STEM skills gap?

Deemed to be a national crisis by some industry experts and costing the UK economy £1.5 billion a year according to a report published in the Institution of Mechanical Engineers , the shortages of workers in STEM sectors are a significant point of concern. But could improving and developing STEM a ...

stephen avv


Posted 4 months agoPress

How to correctly manage hazardous waste

For businesses that produce hazardous waste, it is of vital importance that the waste is dealt with correctly. This waste has the capacity to harm both the environment and human health, which is why there is such an emphasis on safely storing and treating it correctly. Hazardous waste is classed a ...

stephen avv


Posted 4 months agoPress > OIl wasteharsh and hazardoushazardous waste +5

The Future of Fuel

Diesel has received a lot of scrutiny lately for the levels of Nitrogen Oxide it emits from our vehicles, so much so that the UK government plan to ban the sales of new diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040 in a bid to clean up air quality across the nation. As a result, the electric vehicle market ex ...

stephen avv


Posted 1 year agoOpinion
All posts from madfool2008