The energy sector is so incredibly vast that it’s hard to know where to start. There are multiple avenues into the industry and equally multiple sub-sections within that, and it’s a sector in which innovation is happening all the time.
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What is the Energy sector?
Firstly, we all know there are two key strands to the energy sector: renewable and nonrenewable. Both of these strands are incredibly important, as the products developed within these strands help to fuel our homes, transport and lifestyles.
It is a supply and demand industry – and there seems to be ever more demand
The production of energy, refining it and distributing it is incredibly valuable to the majority of the population. It is a supply and demand industry – and there seems to be ever more demand and, in the nonrenewable strand, weaning supplies.
Within these sub-sectors are different forms of energy, including (but not limited to):
The use of energy has always been a key driving force behind significant industrial developments across the globe and often underpins the most significant advancements made by humanity.
Although this has helped create myriad positive developments across the world, it has also worsened the global warming crisis, caused numerous environmental disasters and is behind many political disputes – but businesses are now focusing on how to tackle these issues.
All in all, it is a very powerful industry to be involved in.
The use of energy often underpins the most significant advancements made by humanity
Job roles in the Energy sector
Now, when it comes to actual roles in the industry, there are multiple and they are global. It is so broad that those with an interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects will be well placed. Some roles include:
On top of these there are multiple roles in more general specialties, such as project management, human resources, customer service, law, sales and other sustainability roles.
To break into the industry, most entry level positions require a 2:1 degree in a related subject (for example in a STEM subject) and potentially also an accredited degree or postgraduate qualification in a specific engineering discipline.
For example, becoming a Chartered Engineer or Chartered Energy Manager can pay dividends for your career in energy.
There are also many other qualifications available in Renewable Management & Finance, Electric Vehicles, Solar Photovoltaic, Biomass, Energy and Resource Efficiency and more. Organisational bodies such as the Energy Institute and the EU Energy Centre can provide further details on these courses.
For some of the more general energy roles listed above, most degree subjects are accepted.
The industry is often blamed for a number of environmental issues and natural disasters, so it isn’t the most PR friendly sector to join. Some companies from the industry, particularly those in the nonrenewable sector, seem to be constantly trying to improve their standing with consumers and the media.
Essentially energy businesses are faced with the issue of providing affordable energy that is safe and sustainable. Meeting these three criteria is something businesses in the past didn’t necessarily manage well, but start-ups within the industry and savvier marketing professionals are starting to pull back the fairly negative perception of energy sector companies.
There are also new targets being set by governments as they begin to recognise the connection between types of energy use and environmental problems affecting a country’s population. Because of this, there are new jobs for engineers, IT professionals, chemists, physicists and geoscientists available across the board, but there is a distinct lack of talent coming through. Therefore graduates from these sectors are in high demand.
Essentially energy businesses are faced with the issue of providing affordable energy that is safe and sustainable.
Work experience in the Energy sector
There are global opportunities for work experience within the energy sector, with numerous companies operating on a multinational level and having well-established internship programmes, sandwich-year placement opportunities and the chance to shadow professionals on the job.
A number of major companies in the UK, including Shell and E.ON, offer such opportunities.
Pros and cons
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