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Between COVID and the shift towards greener sources of energy more than one million jobs have been lost in the so called fossil fuel industries of coal and gas. By comparison the renewables sector is experiencing boom times and according to figures from the Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review about 12 million were directly employed in this green energy sector. That might seem like a lot until you consider that by 2050 this is predicted to rise to 43 million.

As to which areas of the renewable energy sector these jobs will fall in it seems as if between now and 2050 the biggest changes will come in the solar and bioenergy technologies. The biggest growth areas for jobs themselves will fall to the biofuel supply occupations, with construction and installation also seeing massive growth.

Can people switch industries?

If you’re working in coal or gas industries then you might well be looking at these clean energy sectors and wondering how – and if – you can move your work over. The good news is that there are many transferable skills between the different jobs. Job roles such as project management, engineering, construction, finance and operations should see that there is still a demand for their skills.

The following are the roles that are most in-demand in the renewables sector:

Project Management

Supply Chain Management

Civil Engineering

Geotechnical Engineering


Marine Engineering

Foundation Package Managers

Fabrication Managers / Superintendents

Client Site Representatives

Offshore Construction Specialists

Offshore HSE Reps

HSE Site Reps

QA/QC Professionals – Welding, NDT, Coating

Installation Managers

Cable Installation Engineer and Site Representatives

Subsea Engineers

Environmental Surveyors

There are several other areas where there is a direct correlation between job roles. One of these is offshore specialists. These may originally have started on North Sea Oil Rigs, but the same offshore or floating skills are still very much in demand for off-shore wind farms. Equally, safety specialists including health and safety specialists are very much in demand. Anyone with knowledge of high voltage electrical equipment can be vital for either industry. IT workers and project leaders are also essential and should expect to be welcomed with open arms by the renewables sector. 

Advice for Transferring

Number one – be aware of the sort of training opportunities provided by organisations such as The Association of Energy Engineers. They provide certification opportunities for workers looking to get into the renewables sector.

Number Two – make sure that you know what it is that companies are looking for. Many companies use automated CV readers to help them weed out applicants who don’t have relevant skills. Read the job advert closely and make sure that you reflect what it is they’re looking for.

Number Three – it’s true that there are many transferable skills between these two different sectors, but it’s important that you let the employers know that. Explain to them in your cover letter and your CV how closely the role is to your previous work in coal or gas – don’t assume that they’ll join the dots.

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