As investment surges into the UK energy sector, the future is very bright for our graduates over the next few decades.
The UK energy sector as a whole
Gas and electricity have long been the driving force of the UK; powered by coal, oil, gas, wind, solar and hydropower, the energy sector underpins the entire ecosystem on which Britain’s economy has blossomed.
As a sector that contributes a staggering £28 billion to Britain’s economy, the energy sector is a prestigious career route that is powered by a diverse range of roles, from geologists and ecologists to engineers, project managers, insurers and consultants.
However, these foundations are anything but stable – the decommissioning of coal plants finally came to completion in 2016, while the government is working hard to reduce the UK’s dependence on other fossil fuels.
How the sector is shifting and evolving
Our cars, our appliances, our homes and our businesses all rely on gas and electricity to keep them ticking over, putting a huge strain on the environment as greenhouse gases pour into the skies.
Government pressure to ‘go green’ is higher than ever; the EU has set a target for the UK to increase its share of renewable energy. By 2020, it’s hoped that 15% of energy consumption will be from renewable sources, a target that has spurred significant investment into wind, solar and biomass energy.
However, as coal and nuclear plants are phased out, the UK has another challenge on its hands; the country is currently steamrolling into an energy crisis, as a huge ‘gap’ is anticipated between supply and demand for gas and electricity.
In light of the rapidly shifting industry, the UK energy sector is thirsty for talent that can put investment plans into action, shaping the future of energy generation, distribution, supply and regulation for generations to come.
What does this mean for graduates?
The graduate job market may present tough challenges in some industries, but it’s never been a better time for graduates looking to move into energy. With a rapidly increasing number of opportunities, strong prospects and clear direction for UK energy, grads can enter the sector knowing they have a secure career ahead.
In Scotland alone, it’s estimated that there could be anywhere between 52,000-95,000 new job opportunities in the energy sector by 2020, giving you an idea of the scale of job creation within the industry.
Whether you’re passionate about green energy or you’re fascinated by the infrastructure of traditional industries like oil and gas, the world really is your oyster as a graduate going into the energy sector.
5 interesting facts about energy investment and jobs
- Solar energy investment was almost non-existent in the UK before 2011, but will have received nearly £11.9bn of investment by 2020.
- Scotland’s energy sector, per capita, receives twice as much investment as England, and three times more than Wales and Ireland.
- It’s estimated that by 2020, the UK’s renewables industry could support up to 400,000 jobs.
- In order to meet the UK’s renewable energy targets, the government needs to pour approximately £3bn into the sector every year.
- The UK government isn’t alone in plugging the energy gap; China recently invested a one-third stake into a nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, UK.
A bright future
As we tip-toe into the new era of UK energy, the sector is ripe for talented graduates looking to play a pivotal role in shaping our future as we know it. With grad schemes galore in energy firms across Britain, now is the perfect time to power up your career prospects with a graduate role in energy.