Reskilling Talent for Hydrogen Renewable Energy Jobs

10 min

Hydrogen-renewable energy jobs can play a significant role in the world's pursuit to move ...

Lauren Edwards

By Lauren Edwards

Hydrogen-renewable energy jobs can play a significant role in the world's pursuit to move closer to net zero. With the potential to reduce carbon emissions by upwards of 78% by 2035 and with the prospect of sources of hydro-renewable energy to account for a third of the UK's energy consumption by 2050, the impact hydrogen can have on the future of our planet is immense. 

However, the need for talent within this space is vital to reach these goals. But where are the professionals and opportunities of hydrogen jobs that can help drive the energy transition forward, and how can you tap into them?

One hydrogen recruitment solution that can help meet these targets is through reskilling and upskilling talent with the transferable skills to help bolster the number of careers in renewable energy. In this guide, we will delve into the types of hydrogen renewable energy jobs worth reskilling whilst later exploring the top reskilling and upskilling opportunities in the hydro-renewable energy space.

Types of hydrogen renewable energy jobs worth reskilling

CSIRO HyResource reported that 680 large-scale hydrogen projects were proposed in 2022, measuring up to $240 billion of direct investment through 2030. Out of these nearly 700 proposed projects, only 10% have reached the final investment stage, with 530 aiming to be partially or fully commissioned by the end of the decade and only 170 at a design or feasibility stage.

With engineering, construction and general operations of these planet-saving projects running slower than hoped, could part of the problem be down to the need for more talent in the sector?

Experts within the UK estimate there are between 1,000 - 2,000 professionals equipped with very specific skills to take on hydrogen jobs, many of whom work in carbon-driven sectors such as engineering, chemicals and oil and gas. Of the latter, the UK government's Hydrogen Sector Development Action Plan states that over 120,000 certified gas engineers currently working in the UK have the transferable skills to service hydrogen equipment and boilers.

Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, also reported that more than 90% of the oil and gas workforce in the UK have the transferable skills to work in the renewables, with the ability to take on hydrogen jobs to support the UK’s energy supply chain.

One way of combating the skills shortage within the hydro-renewable energy sector is to find talent from other walks of life in the energy space and even non-related industries where the skill sets are transferable to hydrogen jobs. Let's look at some of the types of hydrogen-renewable energy jobs worth reskilling.

Research and Development

Research and development (R&D) are essential in supporting hydrogen projects and their strategies. R&D professionals have the transferable skills like critical thinking and problem-solving to help identify new production methods for hydrogen, making them more cost-effective, efficient and environmentally friendly.

Research and development engineers have the transferable skills and ability to adapt to various industries, from tech brands and manufacturing companies to science-based research organisations, including those focusing on hydrogen renewable energy solutions.

Project Management

Hydrogen energy facilities, like the 680 in the pipeline, require project managers to get these projects planned and over the line within set timeframes and budgets. Project managers that have the experience and skill sets to manage major projects with significant backing and high-pressured deadlines will be sought after by businesses within the space.

Despite coming from industries outside of hydrogen, the role of the project manager remains the same or at least similar regardless of the sector they work in. Project managers can be brought up to speed with the hydrogen renewable energy industry through reskilling and upskilling to help manage the end-to-end development of hydrogen projects.

Manufacturing, Construction, Engineering and Maintenance

The manufacturing, construction, engineering, and maintenance industries are essential to developing and deploying hydrogen technologies. These industries have a wealth of transferable skills that can be applied to hydrogen jobs, such as the technical skills necessary for designing, building, and maintaining various production projects.

With the upskilling and reskilling, manufacturers, construction workers, engineers, and maintenance specialists can take on hydrogen jobs to help develop the world's latest and future hydrogen production and fuel cell systems.

There are other types of hydrogen renewable energy jobs where talent with transferable skills is needed and can be found. Again, although the individual will require reskilling and upskilling as they get to grips with the hydrogen industry, the fundamental principles of the role will essentially be no different to previous roles they’ve had in other industries.

This can also be said for the following types of hydrogen roles:

  • Supply Chain/ Procurement
  • Finance
  • Legal
  • Health and Safety
  • Sales and Marketing

Although talent may be hesitant to leave sectors such as oil and gas due to the sheer profitability of these areas, as the global push to become carbon neutral ramps up, fossil fuel jobs will begin to fade. As The Guardian reported, half of the world’s fossil fuel assets could become worthless by 2036 in net zero transition, meaning workers will start to make the jump over to renewables sooner rather than later.

But how do businesses and talent within the hydrogen renewable energy space reskill and upskill the talent prepared to make the transition? Read on to find out our answer.

5 reskilling opportunities in hydro-renewable energy

The considerable reskilling needed to drive the energy transition and maintain an uninterrupted power supply for homes and businesses is substantial. As we’ve established, talent from other niches, including energy-related sectors such as oil and gas, with transferable hydrogen-related skills can be suitable prospects for filling the vacancies of hydrogen renewable energy jobs.

Although this talent will have the fundamental skills necessary to take on vacant hydrogen jobs, they will require reskilling and upskilling to help them adapt to the renewable energy sector. Thankfully, many reskilling and upskilling programmes are available that businesses can utilise to grow their organisation, and talent can enrol to advance their careers in renewable energy.

In this section, we will look at the below 5 reskilling opportunities in hydro-renewable energy.

    • Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB)
    • Green Jobs Delivery Group
    • The National Energy Skills Accelerator (NESA)
    • All-Energy Apprenticeship (AEA)
    • North Sea Transition Deal Integrated People and Skills Strategy

    Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB)

    The Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) is an employer-led skill, standards and qualifications body focused on developing the engineering construction workforce of Great Britain. 

    ECITB Strategy 2023 - 2025.mp4 from ECITB on Vimeo.

    Backed by the UK government-backed and funded by a training levy, the ECITB partners with training providers and employers to support the engineering construction industry workforce with the skills it needs to meet future challenges, including reskilling and upskilling talent looking to pursue the latest hydrogen renewable energy jobs.

    Every year, the ECITB invests around £25 million to support employers to attract, develop, and qualify their people in a wide range of craft, technical and professional disciplines. Their efforts are helping to bridge the digital skills gaps across the renewable energy space and support the transition to net zero by giving talent the tools to allow them to embark on hydrogen jobs and careers in renewable energy.

    Green Jobs Delivery Group

    In May 2022, the UK government established the Green Jobs Delivery Group to help identify skills gaps in the green economy and develop skills strategies from apprenticeships, training programmes, and other reskilling and upskilling opportunities to support the growth of businesses and the development of hydrogen careers in renewable energy.

    The Green Jobs Delivery Group comprises representatives of business, industry, trade unions, and academia and is on a mission to help deliver the government's target of creating up to 480,000 skilled green jobs by 2030.

    Between now, 2030 and beyond, the group will help provide hydrogen jobs to ambitious talent, including roles based at hydrogen facilities in Teesside to help bring the generation of low-carbon hydrogen production to up to 10GW by 2030, which will help to power industry and transport in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

    The National Energy Skills Accelerator (NESA)

    The National Energy Skills Accelerator (NESA) was founded in 2021 and is a collaborative initiative between the University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University, and North East Scotland College, supported by key partners Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and Energy Transition Zone (ETZ) Ltd.

    NESA's mission is to accelerate the reskilling and upskilling of both the existing and future workforce to support the UK's energy transition. The non-profit organisation provides a single point of contact for the energy industry to access a wide range of training and skills development programmes and R&D capabilities in its partner institutions.

    Today, NESA is a crucial player in the UK's energy transition, and its work is helping to ensure that the renewable energy sector has the skilled workforce it needs to build a net-zero future.

    North Sea Transition Deal (NSTD)

    The North Sea Transition Deal Integrated (NSTD) People and Skills Strategy outlines the UK government's plans to ensure the country has a skilled workforce to support the energy transition. Published in May 2022, the strategy aims to provide reskilling and upskilling opportunities to support the estimated 211,000 offshore workers needed to support the energy transition by 2030.

    PPS Launch from TIDE on Vimeo.

    By late 2023, the strategy aims to allow this talent access to a Digital Skills Passport to help them transfer and build their hydrogen careers in renewable energy. The NSTD is focused on tapping into the existing workforce to find talent with the transferable skills to work across various niches in the energy sector.

    Four primary sectors the NSTD is looking at as part of its Integrated People and Skills Strategy include the following:

    • Hydrogen
    • Oil and Gas
    • Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS)
    • Offshore Wind

    The NSTD is also on a mission to attract the next generation of energy people, combined with talent from the existing workforce; the NSTD aims to build cross-industry careers with a diverse, agile, and adaptable workforce with transferable skills capable of reaching net-zero targets.

    All-Energy Apprenticeship (AEA)

    One of the programmes developed off the back of the NSTD is the All-Energy Apprenticeship (AEA), a new apprenticeship programme that is being developed by OPITO and the Energy Skills Alliance (ESA). AEA is designed to provide apprentices with the skills and knowledge they need to work and establish careers in renewable energy, with a focus on the energy transition.

    As a multi-discipline apprenticeship, the AEA will allow apprentices to gain qualifications in various energy-related disciplines, such as maintenance, operations and engineering, allowing them to embark on green energy careers while also including an ‘Introduction to Hydrogen’ module.

    With the course being piloted in 2022 and expected to officially launch in 2023, £100,000 of funding by the Energy Transition Zone Ltd (ETZ Ltd) is undoubtedly helping to develop one of the many reskilling opportunities in the hydro-renewable energy space.

    Final Thoughts

    By 2030, the UK hydrogen sector is estimated to cater to over 12,000 hydrogen jobs and is predicted to be worth £900 million. With further investments, the industry could reach £13 billion by 2050 and support 100,000 hydro-renewable energy jobs.

    To support these targets, it's clear organisations must tap into the energy people with the transferable skills capable of taking on hydrogen jobs. At the same time, the next generation of talent must invest their efforts into the reskilling and upskilling programmes, like the 5 mentioned in this piece, to help enhance their hydrogen careers in renewable energy.

    Undoubtedly, whether you’re a fast-growing business or an ambitious professional looking to grow in the renewables market, now is the time to start reskilling for hydrogen renewable energy jobs.

    Discover more about the demand for hydrogen talent and investment in the sector by reading our Exploring the Growing Demand for Hydrogen Renewable Energy Talent piece.

    Looking for expertise in hydrogen recruitment?

    For over two decades, we have proudly stood at the forefront of the energy sector, serving as a premier provider of sustainable solutions, including hydrogen-renewable energy. Collaborating with our esteemed global clients, we deliver comprehensive workforce solutions, spanning talent acquisition to project management.

    Our specialist team, deeply immersed in the renewable energy domain, possesses an extensive understanding of the industry's intricacies and challenges. Leveraging our vast international network of skilled professionals and profound local market knowledge, we can identify the perfect individuals for your project, regardless of location.

    We are actively engaged in some of the most groundbreaking renewable energy initiatives worldwide, offering an array of enticing renewable energy jobs for engineers and professionals keen to advance their careers in this thriving sector.

    If you seek a reliable partner to help you achieve your renewable energy aspirations, whether a rising business or an innovative candidate, don't hesitate to contact us today. Let's discuss your hydrogen recruitment needs and explore how we can work together to ensure your success in the renewable energy industry.