• Background South West

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    Sector Overview

    Energy & Renewables

    • A focus on getting the job done rather than standard 9-5 hours

    • Potential for very high pay, with prospective starting salaries of up to £32,000!

    • Work can be very different depending on moral stance

    • The biggest generator of power in the UK is EDF Energy

    • Recent studies have found that wind farms are now an accepted part of the south coast’s landscape

    This is an ever-changing sector because of the decline of fossil fuels and an increasing emphasis on being green. It is an incredibly popular industry for graduates because it has survived the recession better than other sectors, with many jobs still being available to skilled workers. The companies in this sector are some of the largest in the world, and their actions have a real impact. There is a lot of contradiction in this sector with one part being focused on conservation and clean energy, and another resolving to make the use of the remaining fossil fuel reserves.

    There is a skills shortage in these industries because of the frequent changes to extraction and refining methods, and changes in attitudes towards clean energy. If you are willing to put in the time training, it could be a very rewarding career.


    Energy & Renewables

    Nuclear Technician

    Nuclear power, while controversial, is a resource that provides the UK with around 17% of its total electricity. As you can imagine, safety is a top priority so you’ll be responsible not just for the people in the plant, but also the surrounding country and even other parts of the world. Nuclear Technicians look after the generators, test new technology, make repairs and upgrade old equipment. The salaries in this sector are pretty high, due to the complex nature of the job. Salaries start at just under £20,000, but can easily exceed £48,000 with full training and experience.

    Laboratory Technician

    Lab Technicians work with complex chemicals to produce products we use in everyday life, such as petrol and perfume. These products are tested many times in various environments and situations before finally being passed fit for mass production. Salaries start at £13,500, but highly skilled technical staff or those in managerial roles can easily earn in excess of £40,000.

    Oil & Gas Maintenance

    Offshore oilrigs and ships require constant care and maintenance to ensure safety is kept to a maximum. This is no easy task, but it means that everybody working around you is able to fulfil their role knowing that nothing is going to explode or catch fire. Apprentice salaries are around £15,000, but you will earn more if you are based offshore.

    Network Officer

    You will have seen the pylons dotted across our landscape; these form the national grid, which is responsible for carrying power from the generators all the way to people’s homes. As a Network Officer, you’ll be in charge (no pun intended) of maintaining the grid and making sure there are no faults anywhere down the line. Starting salaries are usually around £12,500 for Apprentices, but this quickly rises with training and qualifications.

    Electrical Generation Worker

    This involves harnessing the energy created by the different sources and turning it into useable electricity. This process requires all sorts of complicated machinery, so it will come as no surprise that it’s a highly skilled trade. Apprentices can expect to earn a starting salary of £12,000, rising to £18,000 when qualified.

    Recycling Operative

    Working in recycling not only helps keep our Earth clean it provides reusable resources. Metals, glass, paper and plastic can all be reused to save money and other resources and the UK government have introduced better schemes to make recycling easier for households. Salaries start at around £17,000 a year and rise with experience.


    Energy & Renewables


    If you are aged 16 and over you could enter an Apprenticeship, which would teach you the skills you need while you work and earn a salary. You’ll spend half your time in the classroom and half out on the job. Listed below are the apprenticeship frameworks for this sector, which when completed will give you a Level 2 qualification in the form of a BTEC, Diploma or NVQ:
    Nuclear Working • The Power Industry • Laboratory and Science Technician • Sustainable Resource Management • The Water Industry

    Advanced Apprenticeships

    These are the equivalent to A-Levels and can usually be joined after completing the associated Intermediate Apprenticeship. They are ideal for people who want a practical role as they learn while gaining valuable employment experience. People with Advanced Apprenticeships tend to progress up the ladder a lot quicker than those without, as the skills they learn are more suited to management and supervisory roles. Here are some of the Apprenticeship Frameworks for this sector and all of these will result in a Level 3 qualification such as a BTEC, a Diploma or an NVQ.
    The Power Industry • Energy Assessment and Advice • Building Energy Management Systems • The Water Industry • Laboratory and Science Technician


    A-Levels are the most popular gateway into university and are sought after by employers. Here are some of the relevant A-Levels for this sector:
    Biology • Chemistry • Physics • Maths

    Foundation Degrees

    A Foundation Degree combines university lifestyle with practical, hands on work. It’s sort of like a cross between an Apprenticeship and an Honours Degree. They are often used as gateway qualifications to a full time Degree as they count towards the first two years of an Honours Degree. They usually take two years to complete and you’ll be both in the work place and on the university campus. There are a wide range of Foundation Degrees available for this sector, such as Power Distribution and Sub-Sea Engineering.

    More Info

    Energy & Renewables