Transitioning to a Career in Renewable Energies – Part One

2021, Job Market

The future of the Australian economy and our collective well-being may well require a comprehensive response to the climate crisis, including a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies. It will be impossible to mitigate climate change – and hit our greenhouse gas reduction targets by 2030, or even 2050 – without quickly transitioning to solar, wind, and other renewable sources of electricity. Yet this transition cannot move at the speed the country needs if elected officials don’t address the politics around renewable energy’s geographic impact, particularly the threat of losing fossil-fuel-related jobs in specific places.

As concerns about the environment grow and investment is poured into creating a ‘greener’ planet, jobs in renewable energy have skyrocketed. Matching innovative technologies with global monetary support, renewable energy is a booming sector.

Those with careers in renewable energies are paving the way for the future, while developing advanced feats of engineering. From offshore wind farms or hydropower plants, to solar panels or sustainable farming, globally, there are hundreds of thousands of unique jobs in renewable energy.

The oil and gas industries may be nearing their peak, and jobs related to fossil fuels extraction and support activities are beginning to show signs of decline. This means people are looking for new job opportunities, and in 2020, renewable energy was responsible for 27.7 per cent of Australia’s total electricity generation, the first time that more than a quarter of the country’s energy came from renewable sources. This was an increase of 3.7 percentage points compared to 2019.

Renewable energy companies cite the lack of experienced field technicians and experienced engineers in areas like performance engineering as a massive roadblock to meeting growth targets. For oil & gas professionals, the good news is that you likely possess these in-demand skills and many others that can help you transition to a career in renewable energy. 

Transitioning to a Career in Renewable Energies

Businesses have also realised that sustainable innovations are key to long-term performance and success, so investments in the renewable sector have the potential to provide more job opportunities than the fossil fuel industry. The important thing to remember is that the positions open within renewables now are no longer limited to green energy specialists, start-ups or small-scale businesses hoping to train up the youngest generation of workers. With major players diversifying their core businesses, renewables are now a large property of existing firms.

With diversification comes a consolidation of skills – will companies who have made billions over many years put their newest investments in the hands of a generation of inexperienced engineering graduates who have yet to prove their capability in a major business? Or will they rely on experience from other sectors – engineers who have proven themselves to solve problems, lead teams, manage safety protocols? Whether or not you’ve come from an oil platform or a wind turbine – there are skills you will have gathered that will be a demonstrable asset in a new industry. 

And never forget the importance of understanding a company’s hierarchy and culture. Contractors on projects for Oil & Gas majors will know how these companies work and what is expected of them. Even if the task itself is different, the way they work is likely very similar. 

So your experience is valuable, but what about the opportunities? Careers in the renewable industry are experiencing a spike in popularity, with many lucrative roles expected to be in demand by many world-class technology companies. What’s more, the industry offers well-paying entry-level, mid-level, and high-level job opportunities, so there are good chances you can land a job based on your current skills and education.

So how do you transition? Those who have already made the move from Oil & Gas to Renewable Energies have offered plenty of advice for anyone now seeking a transition. But the essentials are fairly straightforward. Where are you hoping to work? Is it in offshore wind or energy storage? Construction of new projects or operation and maintenance of existing ones? Compare renewables roles to your existing experience and find where the equivalent may be. Use your experience to your advantage. Don’t think that just because you are looking for a role in renewables you have to eliminate all mention of your Oil & Gas experience from your resume. As we’ve seen above, there are many reasons why this experience can still be relevant and transferable – it’s your job to demonstrate it. 

At Select Resumes we’ve got years of experience authoring compelling transition resume and we’re now concentrating our efforts on helping Oil & Gas professionals make the move into Renewables. In the next part of this blog, we’ll give you some more tips on how to make the move, and also take a look at the most in-demand renewable energy roles that you should be looking at.

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