The Renewable Energy conference (6th - 8th October) welcomed 4,500 delegates, 250 exhibitors and 190 speakers to take part in the event. Days 1 & 2 covered conference sessions and side events addressing policy and technical developments in UK onshore and offshore wind energy and small wind systems; and day 3 was a free-to-attend day with sessions targeted at engineering graduates, as well as landowners and farmers.
The UK is being held back by a huge shortage of engineering graduates and why? Do students really appreciate the full range of opportunities that are available in the sector? Liverpool provided the perfect opportunity to attract students into the profession, with guest speakers from Cranfield University as well as employers from leading engineering firms promoting engineering as an excellent career.
Speakers stressed that there is a lack of understanding of how lucrative engineering is amongst students, for example, by 2020, the global clean energy economy will be worth more than one trillion dollars and the event paid particular focus to how students could secure their future by entering the profession. Speakers also highlighted the fact that 2017 and 2019 will be very good years for the renewable energy job market but looking further ahead, it will be the year “2023” that firms, globally, will be screaming out for experts in the wind industry.
Experts at the event advised their audience to firstly know the basics of the wind industry, such as the life cycle of a wind farm, maintenance, gaps in the market and demand for experts skills. The reliability of wind turbine system is one of the major factors playing a crucial role in the success of wind energy projects. Therefore, wind turbine maintenance is an essential tool to increase the profitability and lifetime of a project and having skilled engineers is vital to guarantee maintenance (wind turbine maintenance is one of the key requirements for the successful implementation of wind power generation). The wind industry is currently two to three years ahead of wave and tidal energy.
A graduate engineer can expect a starting salary of £30,000, and some of the highest paying careers in the world are in engineering. Renewable energy is a broad area and includes large and small wind power to solar technologies such as PV, CSP, and solar thermal to geothermal, biofuels, hydro, ocean and biomass energy and specialist skills are in huge demand. To earn the biggest pound for their educational buck, students should seriously consider powering their future into the engineering profession.