Top three skills needed for a career in green and clean energy

Top three skills needed for a career in green and clean energy

Leaders from RMIT’s global alumni community shared their insights on the skills needed in the renewable energy sector at a recent RMIT global career webinar.

The Transformation in Renewable Energy Global Career Webinar, which was hosted by RMIT Europe and RMIT’s School of Engineering, gave RMIT students access to RMIT alumni leaders working in renewable energy around the globe at organisations including Solarcentury Africa, Meridian Energy Australia and Siemens Energy in Germany

Facilitated by RMIT’s Associate Professor Bahman Shabani and Associate Professor Lasantha Meegahapola, the three alumni leaders said that the future workforce needs an understanding of changing technologies, a passion for a global green energy future as well as competencies in both technical and soft skills. 

1. An awareness of changing and emerging technologies in energy

Technology has a huge role to play when it comes to the Australian energy market and its push to decarbonise, according to RMIT alumnus Justin Mulder, General Manager of Energy Markets at Meridian Energy Australia.

Mulder, who studied an RMIT Bachelor of Business (Transport and Logistics) and a Graduate Diploma in Commerce sees STEM knowledge, particularly in engineering and computer sciences, being the skills in demand to tackle the technological challenges Australia faces.

"In Australia, while we see around 70% of electricity generated from coal, recent years have seen renewable generation from wind and solar coming to market," he said.

"Technology is one of the key factors for the integration of renewables in Australia and the shift to reduce the carbon intensity of the generation assets in the energy market.

"We’re already seeing technology cost curves coming down across batteries and solar, and this is critical as the renewable energy system gets built out in the transition from coal assets to renewable assets."

Alt Text is not present for this image, Taking dc:title 'undefined' Experts in Australia, Germany and Africa shared their views at RMIT's recent global career webinar on the transformation of renewable energy.

2. A passion for green energy and sustainability

For RMIT alumnus Laura Stolle, Head of HVDC Upgrades and Refurbishments at Siemens Energy in Germany, taking your passion from your studies and putting it into practice is key.

"Working with likeminded people who are passionate about what they're doing makes it even more rewarding when we’re tackling the challenges we see in the energy sector," she said.

Stolle, who studied power electronics at RMIT as an exchange student, started her career in the renewables sector in offshore wind.

"When I was a student, I completed an internship in the northern region of Germany at a renewable energy group, working with around 20 people in the offshore wind department," Stolle said.

"It had a real start up feeling, making it exciting to work in this space and sparking my interest in renewable energy.

"I could see it as a sector that is evolving and growing – one with a future that is going to be of benefit for all."

3. A combination of technical and soft skills

When it comes to the skills needed to be job ready, it’s a combination of both technical and soft skills, according to RMIT alumnus Drew Cormack, Head of Operations at Solarcentury Africa.

"In terms of specific programs and systems in my industry, HOMER energy for hybrid energy systems is one of the fundamental ones. And if you're going to be a solar engineer, the likes of PVSyst and PVcase will also be valued," Cormack said.

"Complementary qualifications such as in project management will also be very helpful, depending on what area of the sector you’re aspiring to enter."

Cormack, who studied a Master of Engineering (Sustainable Energy) at RMIT, also said soft skills such as communicating with confidence are needed. 

"Be prepared to get out of your comfort zone, even if it's a bit awkward and a bit difficult," he said.

"Human skills such as confidence, perseverance, focus and determination will really help you succeed. 

"Maybe you're going to make mistakes along the way, as we all have done, but put yourself out there and go for it – those who dare, win."

 

Story: Karen Matthews
Photo: George Becker from Pexels

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