Ken Milne from the Department of Economic Development, Isle of Man Government, offers his insights into renewable energy careers
For the second part of ENDSjobsearch’s two-part series on careers in renewable energy, we spoke to Ken Milne, director of energy policy at the Department of Economic Development, Isle of Man Government.
What types of roles are there in the renewable energy sector?
There are various opportunities, especially for employees with backgrounds in engineering and science. Roles include surveying; planning and consent; stakeholder engagement; design; manufacturing; engineering and electrical service provision; commissioning equipment; H&S; project management; professional services; training; and logistics
What does your role typically involve?
My role involves advising government ministers on energy policy and promoting Isle of Man business opportunities in the renewable energy sector. I work closely with other government departments to develop marine consenting; assist renewable energy developers to progress their business plans; and engage with key local and international stakeholders.
What would you say is the best bit about your day?
It has to be when I meet businesses with new clean tech solutions. These can be businesses already on the island that are expanding operations, entering a new export market, developing new products and services or alternatively businesses looking to relocate to the island and grow.
And what is the biggest challenge?
Managing the expectations of stakeholders regarding the timescale to deliver large and often expensive renewable energy projects. It is necessary for developers to complete surveys, obtain consent, and reach financial close before any construction may commence.
What made you decide to work in renewable energy?
Media attention was focused on the link between carbon emissions from fossil fuel usage and climate change. I was particularly attracted to the sector with the recent technology advancements in renewable clean energy which could tackle climate change.
What is it that you love about your job?
Making a difference - I advise on energy policy development for the island that will hopefully lead to a future cleaner environment using renewable energy.
What do you think it takes to make this career choice a success?
Teamwork is essential – you need skills to manage teams and key stakeholders to deliver renewable projects.
What progression opportunities are there?
I started in government around six years ago as a senior manager for energy policy, working closely with other departments to progress projects. I am now director of energy policy and my responsibilities have increased to a team of over 40 staff delivering energy policy, corporate services and employment skills training.
What advice do you have for people about to embark on a career in renewable energy?
Employers are looking for practical experience so anyone interested in entering the sector needs to get experience such as apprenticeships, internships and secondments. Education, training and transferable skills all increase your long-term career opportunities in the sector.