Although subject matter expertise is highly sought after by employers, most people working in clean energy didn’t start in clean energy. Skills developed and deployed in other industries can be highly relevant and transferrable to a career in clean energy.
Any electrical trades workers from any sectors or backgrounds could be useful to renewable energy power generation. Anyone with an electrical license should think about the option of a career move towards clean energy generation, storage or transmission. There may be some upskilling needed to serve the specific duties of the role or industry, but often employers are happy to support further training.
For non-electrical trade roles, a background in heavy machinery, any industrial energy settings, any experience and training working around high voltages are highly transferable. A mechanical fitter or diesel mechanic from the construction sector, manufacturing, or mining and metals might need some targeted training to attain specific skill sets but the pathways are likely to be straight-forward and worth investigating.
Blade technicians on wind farms are key team members. They inspect, maintain and repair wind turbine blades that can be damaged by dirt, general fatigue or weather events such as rain, hail or lightning strikes. Wind turbine blades are built using a combination of advanced innovative materials, including polyester, fibreglass, carbon fibre, Kevlar and epoxy. Knowledge of and experience working with composites is therefore required. Technicians from marine or aerospace industries are often well suited. Employers might also look favourably on individuals from the surfing industry, accustomed to repairing surf boards.
The graph below shows the overlap between skilled workers needed in the coal sector and those in renewable energy generation. Although the overlap is not perfect, there are opportunities for electrically trained and experienced people, as well as steel construction workers and drivers.
Globally there is high mobility between oil and gas, transmission, and the renewable energy generation or storage sectors. Demand for talent from clean energy employers is highest at the mid-career level – around 8 to 10 years – which suggests that professionals with experience in any sector could be competitive if transferability of skills and knowledge can be demonstrated.
A review of LinkedIn data of Australians employed in four renewable energy roles chosen across the spectrum of technologies and job types – electrical engineer, development manager, wind farm technician and community liaison manager – showed talent flowing from and to such diverse sectors as:
So whatever your background or experience, there is likely to be an opportunity to join the future growing workforce that delivers Australia its clean and reliable electricity.
For information on specific occupations and other relevant industries, visit the Clean Energy Careers by Occupation and Demand page.
Take the time to look through the various resources in this Clean Energy Careers Guide that apply to your own situation. We will be continually updating it with new and topical information and links.
The Clean Energy Council's Clean Energy Careers Hub is where many clean energy employers post jobs across the renewable energy and energy storage sector. This a good starting point to understand what jobs are in demand and who is employing so that you can start applying for opportunities.
Universities and vocational education and training providers also generally offer career services.
Networking is a good way to get a foot in the door. The Clean Energy Council runs Careers Expos, Women in Renewables events and industry events, all either online or in most capital cities. Visit the Events page on our website to see our upcoming events or subscribe to our mailing list to stay informed about new events as they are announced.