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What does a community and stakeholder engagement professional do?

Stakeholder and community engagement professionals are an essential part of all renewable energy projects, from initial development stages right through to project end of life. These roles work to advocate, educate and organise to improve industry practices, deliver local benefits and ensure relationships with project landowners, neighbours and local communities are both positive and constructive. This is a role for someone that loves working with people and sharing the incredible benefits of renewable energy with communities.

Are there different types of community and stakeholder engagement professionals?

These roles are generally employed by renewable energy developers who are developing, constructing and operating large-scale renewables projects. They are jacks-of-all-trades with knowledge across a broad spectrum of community and project requirements. In addition to office-based roles, community and stakeholder engagement professionals can be based regionally and look after local engagement within small towns including presentations, fund management and community events.

What qualifications are needed? 

There are no qualifications required to attain these roles, however experience and attitude are key, and some form of university education is generally helpful. Tertiary qualifications in business communications, public relations, marketing, stakeholder engagement or a related discipline can be good foundations. Certification in IAP2 public participation or similar methodology is an advantage.

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What other skills and attributes are important? 

Community and stakeholder professionals need good written and verbal communication skills and an ability to work effectively with a wide range of local stakeholders including project neighbours (individuals or family units), local government representatives, local business chambers, leading businesses, local union representatives, social service organisations, Traditional Owners, local farmer organisations, local media leaders, local environment group leaders and others. They must be comfortable in managing conflicting views and difficult situations.

A current drivers licence will likely be required to attend meetings and events. Some locations may be remote so the odd overnight stay or evening work can be required. These roles work well as part-time positions and those wanting a more equal split between life and work. Similar roles in other industries from which there may be an easy transfer of skills include community engagement or community consultation in large regional infrastructure projects. This includes mining, oil and gas, and transport.

Can I make a career? 

Absolutely! These roles are in high demand and will remain an essential part of any large-scale renewable energy project. They can also provide good opportunities to build industry knowledge and skills to move sideways within the business and provide an entry point to project development.