The Energy and Utilities sector has lots of job opportunities - in research and development, energy generation, transmission, distribution, etc.
To keep the lights on and people supplied with clean water, the production, storage and supply chain needs maintaining.
Scientists and engineers are needed to develop new technologies for harnessing energy for our future.
Routes into this job sector
There are various types of qualifications available:
- At 14 GCSEs in English and maths will help get you into this sector. Also, although not compulsory, if you know you are interested in this sector you could choose to do a vocational GCSE (if offered by your school). Your school might also offer vocational qualifications such as BTECs, OCR Nationals, etc.
- At 16 you have more options, you could do A Levels, which are general academic subjects or develop your knowledge and skills for this sector through an apprenticeship/traineeship or a vocational qualification.
- At 18 or 19 your options open further - you may wish to do higher education/university, with 8 out of 10 A Level students choosing this pathway and half of all BTEC National students. However there are other routes into your chosen career through apprenticeships and vocational qualifications
The energy and utilities sector invests heavily in apprenticeships as they believe these qualifications train staff with the right skills for jobs in this sector.
You can become a foundation engineer with good GCSE and futher education qualifications such as A Levels in science and maths or a HND in engineering.
There are lots of degree level courses which would be useful in this sector, for example, engineering, science, maths, etc.
When you have completed a degree in a relevant subject, usually engineering based, there are a number of graduate training schemes available to get you started in the workplace.
Think Power Sector is a very useful place to find out more about jobs in the sector or you can find out more about the qualifications needed by visiting the Sector Skills Council’s website: Energy and Utility Skills-careers or for careers in the petroleum industry visit Cogent.
Spotlight on... Apprenticeships in Power
The massive network of power stations and wind farms across the country and the national transmission network (the electricity pylons and utility poles) keep electricity flowing into our houses.
This apprenticeship covers three main areas of the power industry:
- generation (power stations and wind farms),
- transmission (the national transmission network), and
- distribution (taking the electricity from the transmission network to the customer's property).
As an apprentice involved in generation you’d learn how to operate and maintain the equipment that produces electricity in power stations and wind farms. You could be diagnosing and repairing faults on machinery, testing equipment and handling the materials that the plant uses to generate electricity.
Working in distribution and transmission, you’d be installing and maintaining the network that supplies electricity to homes and businesses. This work can involve many tasks, like joining and repairing cables, maintaining substations, and building or repairing power lines.
Watch the video below to find out why Sam chose an apprenticeship in the Power Industry and what his working day involves.
Websites for vacancies
Check out these websites to search for jobs in energy generation and transmission:
- Think Power - jobs inspires people to explore these exciting careers while helping the UK meet its future energy requirements. It’s the most comprehensive source of information on jobs and careers in the power industry.
- Just utilities.
Why not try a free, online course (MOOC) in this job area?
Future Learn have lots of free online courses that will improve your knowledge of this job sector and improve your chances of landing your dream job. e.g. The Open University has developed a 4 week course about The Science of Nuclear Energy. Click on the following link for more information