Energy and Utilities: Facts and Fiction
If television has taught us anything, it’s that people who work in the energy and utilities industry are all like Homer Simpson, Lenny, Carl and Mr Burns. You might think that to work in this industry you will be required to work at a huge power station in the middle of nowhere, or on an oil rig in the North Sea. You also might think that to work in the energy and utilities industry you will be risking life and limb every day, either in a mine which may collapse, or inside a huge dam which may burst at any point in one big watery explosion.
However, it may shock you to know that a career in this sector is not all about eating donuts and putting yourself in danger.
So before you make the decision to get into energy and utilities, you should firstly discover what it’s really all about.
What jobs fall under the energy and utilities sector?
Without energy and utilities, the modern world would not be able to keep moving or stay switched on. All day, every day, we rely on the hard work of people in the energy and utilities sector - when we flush the toilet, when we put petrol in our cars, and when we open the fridge and that little light magically comes on.
Developments in the energy and utilities sector
With increasing environmental concerns across the world, the energy and utilities sector is becoming one of the most innovative and adaptable sectors. Understandably, there has been a rise in the development of renewable energy resources, such as solar panels, hydroelectric dams and biomass fuel. However, even the major oil and petroleum companies are beginning to develop fuels which are more environmentally friendly.
A huge range of different career paths are available within the energy and utilities sector, ranging from technical and engineering roles to managerial and sales positions. Every single role requires energetic people to help provide the UK with all the energy and water it needs.
What do engineers and scientists in the energy and utilities sector do?
Understandably, engineers play a very important role in the energy and utilities sector. Power stations, refineries, rigs and water treatment plants require a lot of complex and large machinery, and these need to be designed, built and maintained. Safety engineers are also absolutely essential. Work sites in this sector have the potential to be highly dangerous places, especially for technical guys, so stringent safety policies and measures need to be put in place.
Similarly, this industry would be nowhere without the specialist scientists who operate within the research and development side of energy careers. These guys are especially important with the increasing necessity for more environmentally friendly energy solutions. After all, how can hybrid cars be created without expert scientists to research and develop the new fuel systems?
In the same vein, scientists who work in the exploration side of energy and utilities are essential for finding new energy sources. For example, geoscientists survey the earth’s surface using specialist equipment to search for oil reserves, gas reserves and other natural resources. These employees truly allow the industry to continue, as without their essential work, new extraction and production projects would never begin.
Who actually collects the raw materials to generate energy?
Non-renewable energy resources are understandably difficult to get hold of. Consequently, experts in mining, gathering and extraction are needed. These guys provide the core practical function of the energy and utilities industry. Without them the industry would collapse.
Moreover, the raw materials which are extracted and collected need to be processed and distributed before they are usable. Therefore, the experts who work in refining, processing and transportation are just as important as anyone else in the industry.
The ‘business’ side of energy and utilities
Careers in energy and utilities do not stop at technical and practical work. Much like every other industry in the world, these operations require processes, strategy and budget management to keep everything running smoothly. Hence, an abundance of management, finance, administration and IT careers are available within energy and utilities companies.
Energy is big business. It is also a highly competitive industry. Many different companies sell the same services. Consequently, each organisation needs to employ fantastic customer service and sales representatives to beat off the competition.
If the idea of a career in energy and utilities has lightened up your day then it might well be worth exploring the potential career paths and job listings in this sector in further detail!
Mariusz R - Heating Systems Designer
Mariusz R is a Heating Systems Designer for E.ON. He designed communal heating systems in Poland, then moved to the UK. He was despairing of finding a job because there aren't many of this type of heating system in the UK yet, but fortunately E.ON found him and offered him a job.
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