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Transitioning skills and knowledge from oil & gas to renewable energy jobs

  • Publish Date: Posted 3 months ago
  • Author: James Kenealey

One of the lasting impacts of the coronavirus pandemic was a sustained downturn in the oil & gas industry.

However, the renewable energy sector defied Covid-19 and saw record growth in 2020.In the early months of 2020, the power generated in the UK by clean, renewable sources was greater than that which was generated by traditional fossil fuels. This was the first time this had happened before and signals a change in the energy industry and consequently energy jobs. The sector will need to restructure in line with changes in the global energy demands and the Paris Agreement (as well as the USA’s re-entry into it) will further accelerate these changes.

So what does this mean for the future of jobs in energy, in particular in oil & gas? The downturn in demand may result in several traditional roles becoming obsolete over time, but contractors with skills in oil & gas need not panic, because a lot of these skills can be transitioned across to the renewable energy sector. We guide you through how, and what the most sought-after skills are:


Oil & gas skills in demand in the renewable energy sector


Offshore skills

Offshore technology and processes that are like those which are used in oil & gas are used extensively in the renewable energy industry and the construction, engineering and management skills required to execute them are just as similar. Candidates with civil engineering backgrounds and oil & gas experience with offshore structures are highly sought-after in the renewables space.

Electrical engineering & high voltage

Working with high voltage electrical equipment is something that is parallel across both oil & gas and renewables. Knowledge and experience in this area makes you a suitable candidate to transition between the industries.

Safety and general engineering

Although each sector will tend to have slightly different standards, health and safety skills are highly transferrable between industries – additional training may just be required when changing industries.

Top tips for transitioning between the oil & gas sector and renewables:


Know the market

Stats from RenewableUK suggest that if the Government takes steps to maximise the economic benefits of renewable energy, a surge in contracts for renewable energy projects will result in a tidal wave of £20billion in investment and 12,000 new jobs in energy and construction. With that will come recruiters looking for transferable skills but these recruiters won’t necessarily be fluent in the terminology used in the oil & gas industry.

Research the terms that are equivalents across each industry to make your CV more likely to appear in searches. Recruiters use keywords on platforms like LinkedIn, so make sure your profile is up to scratch along with your application and CV.

Making yourself as visible as possible is important, particularly in areas where there is a high concentration of renewable energy candidates. Our research indicates that some of the key areas where there is a high density of renewable energy jobs include areas of the southwest of England, like Brighton and Guildford. Standing out from the crowd is even more important in these areas.


Know qualifications and what fits

There are a lot of broad skills which are easily transferable between industries. Some of the key roles would be Project Management or Supply Chain Management. If you’re applying for these roles in renewables, don’t think that this means you have to eliminate all mentions of oil & gas from your CV. If you have experience managing large energy projects, you will have relevant industry experience that is valuable on its own. Make sure you reference key qualifications across leadership, health and safety or management that are relevant regardless of industry.


Training

Global Energy Group, for example, invested in Global Wind Organisation training for its technicians who already had relevant experience, qualifications and transferable skills to make them suitable for renewable work. The crew undertook a week-long course specific to the offshore wind sector including Working at Height and Sea Survival.

Keep your eyes open for training opportunities either before you are looking for a new role or as part of a potential new role. If you have qualifications in oil & gas and experience, there’s a good chance a renewable energy company will be able to provide training to get you over the line.

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