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Your skills are transferable! – What can you bring to the renewable sector?

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 5 Feb 2021

Renewables Hero ImageIt’s not a surprise that there is a skills shortage in engineering. There is a rising need for engineers in renewable engineering sectors but where are these engineers going to come from? Some renewable forms of engineering are new or becoming more and more popular, but the skills needed to do these jobs are similar to other engineering jobs found in different sectors. The IET is dedicating time to help deliver net-zero plans in the UK. We know that the UK’s engineers have the skills necessary to help this generation and future ones over come the challenges that we face today. More companies than ever are spending more time, effort, and budget working towards helping their businesses be more sustainable and they need engineers like you to work towards that change.

Believe it or not, you don’t need to have a renewable energy or sustainable engineering background to be able to get a job in this sector. You have transferable skills that are priceless to companies looking to hire!

What is the UK working towards?

The UK has net-zero plans which include decarbonising quickly and effectively to hit our target by 2050. This includes investing more time and money into resources such as electric vehicles, providing UK homes with energy created by wind power and using our engineers to come up with further long-term ideas.

As engineers, you are creative and able to adapt to new and difficult situations. You have the skills, insights and ingenuity to help tackle these challenges in ways that optimise efficiency, economy, safety and reliability. Without the engineering and technology community seeing these problems and becoming part of the change, there is a chance that we won’t meet targets that we need to make critical change. Investing in retraining and transferring the skills you already have into a new sector, might just be the answer.

Find your place in the sector

If you haven’t thought about changing sector before, it might initially be a challenge to try and find where you would fit into the re­newable sector at the beginning. However, it’s good to start off simple. Why do you want to work in this sector and what kind of job role would you like? It’s all about finding a job that would fit well for you and one that would make you happy.  Think about what you do now and how you can try and find something that fits around that and your skillset?

For example, Maybe you’re an engineer that works at sea. You could be looking into roles that involve working for the offshore wind energy industry or a company that specialises in wave energy. You can then start to look for companies that do this type of engineering and see what they have to offer. Or, if you want to start working for the industry in a new job title, think about your transferable skills and how you could start learning in a completely new job role. There will be both soft and hard engineering skills that you are able to transfer and if you would like to make a career change, definitely worth looking into new and different roles in the renewable sector.

What skills are necessary?

Being an engineer in any sector means that you already have a wide range of skills that can be transferable to any other sector.

Creativity – Being able to come up with creative and innovative ideas is what builds the foundations of a growing sector. Renewable businesses and companies looking to become more sustainable need engineers that are going to tell them how to do it! They want your ideas and your talent to help these ideas come to life. Creativity is an important skill to have in any job, but hopefully engineering allows you to be creative every day, depending on your job title. 

Problem solving – The ability to be able to come up with great ideas for a growing sector is great, but not every single idea will work straight away. With new and innovative ideas, comes new problems and challenges you must face. However, a skill a good engineer will have is the ability to think on their feet and try to come up with a solution.

Project Management – The renewable engineering sector is just like any other, it’s going to need people to take hold of these new ideas and new projects and make sure that they come to life. Being able to be a good manager and work with a team is an excellent skill and definitely one the renewable sector needs.

Communication – You might be thinking that this one is a bit obvious, but having good communication is a key skill in any job. Whether you are team leader, a team member or working on the side-lines of a project, you need to be able to effectively communicate your worries and your achievements. Communication is the glue that holds together a team and without it, nothing would really work.

IT Skills – Renewable engineering isn’t just about solar panels and other stereotypical forms of sustainable energy. Of course, they’re there, but there is so much more to the sector than that. You will have teams built up of different people, I.T is still very much an important part of any team.

There can be something for everyone in the renewable sector and although there might be things for you to learn about the sector, there are skills that you have and are using right now that the renewable sector needs. There are way more useful skills than stated above that are highly transferable, but I just picked a few key ones that stand out!

You might have been thinking about working in renewables for a while, you might have only just started considering it. But the important think to take from this is knowing that there is nothing stopping you. I can’t say it will be easy, like any other sector within engineering, it can have its challenges. But is knowing that you and your job will be making a difference enough to sway you? Might be time to start adding renewable jobs into your job alerts!