As sustainability and climate change become increasingly urgent world issues, the renewable energy market has grown rapidly. In turn, the job market has expanded too with more opportunities and new types of roles being created. Worldwide, in 2018, 11 million people worked in renewable energy worldwide, an increase of 700,000 jobs in 2017 and that number is growing fast.
UK renewable energy industry jobs are on the rise
Under the Climate Change Act of 2008, the UK vowed to reduce CO2 emissions by 80% before 2050 and also created the Climate Change Committee to advise the government on ways to do that. However, after the declaration by parliament of a climate change emergency in May 2019, this commitment was increased to 100% reduction in emissions. One of the ways in which the government plans to do this is through investment in renewable energy sources, such as offshore wind and tidal energy. In addition, the Contracts for Difference scheme is promoting investment and growth in low carbon electricity generation.
The UK energy sector already contributes over £28 billion to the economy and the renewable energy market is adding more to that every year. It’s thought that by 2023, direct and indirect employment in the wind, wave and tidal energy sectors could grow from 30,000 to over 100,000. Within those new jobs there will a huge diversity of roles created for all types of professionals from engineers and project managers, to geologists and consultants, not to mention a host of support roles.
The impact on the job market will be huge, as it’s only now that these new technologies are being taught in universities and other educational establishments around the country to create the talent that can help the UK hit its climate change targets.
Getting the skills for a new job
With a huge jobs market covering solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels and hydropower, it’s a good idea to research the opportunities out there to see which sector and which role appeals to you most. For instance, right now, there is a big demand for engineers to design and build the infrastructure needed for renewable energy initiatives throughout the UK. Another area to look at is domestic renewable energy. This is just one of a number of new trades created as a result of the government’s commitment to renewables.
Once you know the career direction you’d like to take, it’s a matter of finding the right training programme, whether through a third level qualification or a specialist training course, such as an apprenticeship. The Open University is a good option as credits from various modules can count towards a number of qualifications at every level from certificate/diploma of higher education to a foundation or honours degree.
Starting salaries in renewable energies vary hugely depending on the job role, company and location. Clearly, the more experienced you are, the faster your prospects and the potential rewards will grow. If, as anticipated, there is a skills shortage in the UK energy industry, salaries are likely to rise rapidly in response.
To meet their targets, the UK needs to fill more than 120,000 renewable energy jobs by 2030. To find these and other UK energy industry jobs, start with a quick search on Zoek.
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