“People will have to be doing this stuff for years to come. Energy management won’t disappear, that’s why we need new talent.”
So says James Milner, Energy and Compliance Manager for STC Energy.
Just nine years into a career in energy, he’s seen plenty of changes in some ways but not much when it comes to getting more young blood into the sector. With a degree in Environmental Science, James fell into a career in the energy sector. Sadly he thinks the same thing is still happening to young graduates today as there is no defined career path.
“When I was at university I was aware of climate change and energy but was not aware of energy management as a profession,” he said.
A technician job with Cardiff Council in the strategic estates department got him thinking: “I probably still didn’t know what it was but when I got to the council I realised how much energy was wasted in buildings. I was inspired by some very enthusiastic people doing something about it and it got me thinking, here’s another way to tackle climate change.”
A few hops and he eventually ended up in energy management consultancy but he thinks there is still no direct path for today’s energy young guns.
“I think today’s graduates are still not aware of energy management as a career, it doesn’t have a high profile. I think energy management looks largely the same as it did 15 years ago although I am encouraged by recent changes such as the rise of Chartered Energy Manager and the work of the EMA and upcoming role models like Jaz Rabadia.”
So what would James like to see done?
James said: “We need new ideas. We should be at green careers fairs, we need as an industry to get into events. We should set up graduate trainee schemes to get people onto a pathway to a successful career. I like the idea of a rotation where someone might come in and learn heating and HVAC, then spend time with an installer and then time at DECC. They could work with suppliers, end users and policy makers, that would give them a good handle on what works.”
Unfortunately nothing like this exists, however James is hopeful the industry can create something like this one day. As for the future he is convinced the need for energy managers will continue and we need youth to get rid of the ‘predominantly male bearded 70s image’ he believes still exists.
He added: “I think prices will go back up and even if prices stay low we will have carbon tightening up and non commodity costs will continue to rise. Energy managers will become more and more important.”
This is a promoted story.