Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Northern Ireland - two potential areas to consider for job opportunities

While many still remain sceptical about climate change, evidence points to rising world temperatures. The renewable energy sector is arguably the way forward and some of Northern Ireland's more innovative firms have realised this and are focusing their attention on what could become a huge industry.

The ageing workforce in sectors such as transport and logistics and the lack of new blood coming into these industries is impacting heavily on the UK's ability to compete globally.

Regarding renewable energy the following industries are to the forefront in developing technology to embrace NI's ambitious renewable energy targets of 40% by 2020.

Solmatix is a Belfast based company producing solar panels designed to be easily and quickly installed.  The business aims to make integration of the panels cheaper by having its own fitout team, and has geared the technology towards our gloomy climate. It is projected that the average heating bill of just over £1200 a year could be nearer £5,000 by 2020.

Limavady Gear Company (LGC) produces the Skyrotavertical axis wind turbine and they are convinced that increased uptake of renewable energy is essential.

Kingspan Renewables is a Portadown based company manufacturing the Thermomax solar water heating system, and has recently invested a significant sum in anticipation of the potential growth of the sector

Regardless of what people say about climate change the absolute facts are that we are going to run out of fossil fuels and it's going to take a mixture of renewables to replace it.

Lesson Idea

Ask the class to tease out the following statement;

NI is an island with more wind and tidal potential than almost anywhere else in the world. The technological expertise is here in NI as well.

Why not place some of your work experience students in the industries listed above or in those identified by the class
Despite the difficult economic conditions the Renewable Sector will grow significantly over the next decade as it's a vital component in helping to decrease carbon emissions.  Simply put - green technology makes sense!

New site for Renewable Energy Career Information

Renewable energy is destined to become one of the fastest growing areas of the economy over the coming years. A study by the European Commission (Employ RES) suggested that if the EU target of 20% renewable energy penetration is reached it would create 2.8 million jobs across Europe. There will be many varied and exciting career opportunities developing associated with solar power, wind energy, geothermal power, tidal wave energy and biomass energy.

RESCompass is a new website read more that offers guidance to students that may be interested in a career in the emerging Renewable Energy Sector. The results of the questionnaire point students to one of the four categories they may be most suited to and find most interesting.

The site has over 40 job profiles related to specific careers in the renwable energy sector. The site also includes a searable database of over 700 courses (vocational and higher education) related to renewable energy across Europe. The site includes a library of articles on the different renewable energy technologies and covering topics related to careers in this field.

The RESCompass project is funded by the European Commission and aims to increase the number of qualified people available to meet the new demand for renewable energy professionals in order to help the success of renewable enrgy across Europe.


SELB CEIAG will again be working with the Dungannon/Cookstown Business Education Partnership (BEP) in helping develop a third STEM sector on our key resource

It has been decided to add information on 'The Green Economy' to the site. It is envisaged that the work will be completed before Christmas 2011 so that it can be available for classroom/individual review in the second term, January 2012. Information on its progress will be included in future blogs.

Skills shortages 'rife' in transport and logistics sector

The ageing workforce in sectors such as transport and logistics and the lack of new blood coming into these industries is impacting heavily on the UK's ability to compete globally. Skill shortages are already rife and vacancies, particularly for HGV drivers and maintenance and repair technicians are at an all time high. And crucially, one of the major problems is the image of the industry - a career as a mechanic can be lucrative but it's not really well publicised.

According to Skills for Logistics, the Sector Skills Council for the UK's freight logistics industries, the transport industry is worth £74.45billion to the UK and it employs around 2.3 million people but there are major skill shortages across the sector.Read more

"The UK is extremely dependent on the logistics industry to keep the economy moving and ensure that goods are moved from A to B in the quickest and most cost-effective way. While the Chancellors announcement on the fuel levy will have been welcomed by many of our clients, the lack of experienced staff is still causing major headaches." says Warren Jesse of specialist technical recruiter Excel Resourcing.

"In the HGV market we have a dire shortage of maintenance, repair and diagnostic technicians. Even if you train as a mechanic, the HGV market is very specialist - you can't move from cars to heavy goods vehicles so what we need are more apprenticeships in the HGV market."

Jesse adds: "Mechanics can earn good money and there is a lot going on but it's not well publicised as a career. If you think about it everything we look at in a shop as a consumer has to have been taken there by a truck - it's what keeps the economy moving."

Jesse feels that a further increase in apprenticeships has to be the answer if we are to avoid storing up trouble for the future. "We have an ageing workforce that just isn't being replenished; it's all very well the Government focussing on getting more people to university - that won't help us when the country has no trained mechanics, electricians or drivers"!

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