The energy sector has a wide range of opportunities available to graduates, whether in large international companies or small organisations developing specialist technology.
Careers advice (general)
- Prospects: Energy and utilities
- Prospects: Careers in the renewable energy industry
- Overview of the energy and utilities sector in the UK
- Talent Source Network - includes information on the range of industries in the sector
- Think Power - information on careers in the UK power industry
- Energy Careers – from the Energy Institute
Careers advice (renewable energy)
- Renewable UK: Careers - includes a career mapping tool and Faces of wind energy, with information on the different roles in the industry
- The Crown Estate: Your career in offshore wind energy (PDF)
- Guardian Careers: Careers in the renewable energy industry - profile of graduate working in marine power
- Biofuel.org.uk - information on the biofuel industry
The Careers Service held an 'Insiders' Guide to Renewable Energy' event in February 2012. The speakers' PowerPoint presentations are available here:
- Katie Wray, Teaching Fellow for Enterprise, SAgE Faculty, Newcastle University (PPT: 602KB)
- Laura Brown, Distributed Energy Project Engineer, National Renewable Energy Centre (NAREC) (PPT: 1.2MB)
- Lucy Latham and Hannah Munro, Sustainability Officers, Newcastle University (PPT: 1.6MB)
Careers advice (nuclear)
Science Career Pathways: Nuclear careers gives examples of the different roles within the industry.
National Skills Academy for Nuclear: Nuclear careers also gives insight.
Careers advice (utilities)
Power-technology.com provides industry news on current and future projects in the power industry.
Clean Energy News includes news and articles on renewable heat and solar.
Utility Week gives you news and articles about the UK utilities industry.
These represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates.
They also provide development for people already working in the sector. Follow them and sector skills bodies on LinkedIn or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies.
- Energy Institute
- The Nuclear Institute - includes link to their Young Generation Network
- Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM)
Research councils and research centres
- Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
- Science and Technology Facilities Council
- British Geological Survey
- National Nuclear Laboratory
Sector skills councils/industry associations
- Cogent - sector skills council for a range of industries including nuclear
- NOF Energy - business development organisation for UK oil, gas, nuclear and offshore wind sectors
- Energy UK - trade association, includes information on the energy industry in the UK
- RenewableUK - trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries
- Renewable Energy Association
- Energi Coast - North East England's Renewables Group, which includes list of partner organisations
- Wind Europe (formerly European Wind Energy Association)
- Nuclear Industry Association
- World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) - includes a directory of members worldwide
- Water UK - information on the UK water industry, including water and sewerage companies
Intergovernmental and not-for-profit organisations
- International Energy Agency
- World Nuclear Association - includes a member directory
- Forum for the Future - not-for-profit organisation which promotes sustainable development
Talking to people in the sector can give you an insight into roles and be useful for networking and speculative applications.
You could start with:
- Graduate Connections – graduates happy to give you advice about the kind of work they do
- Newcastle alumni on LinkedIn – find out what they did after graduation and contact them for advice
Social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter, is useful for making contacts, finding employers and opportunities. Find out more about how to use social media for your career and subscribe to our Energy industry Twitter list.
For more events for this sector see External Events.
Or see our other Sector-specific pages for more options.
Roles & Skills
Many large companies offer graduate training schemes, particularly in the nuclear and utilities industries.
There are opportunities in either technical or commercial roles.
Examples of the type of technical roles found across most sectors of the energy industry include:
- Energy engineer
- Geographical information systems (GIS) officer
- Land/Geomatics surveyor
You can find more examples of specialist roles below.
Examples of commercial careers include:
- Marketing and communications
- Finance and trading
- Logistics and supply chain management
- Human resources
The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties and entry requirements.
Roles (renewable energy)
Control and instrumentation engineer
Water quality scientist
Skills employers look for
Employers in this sector are looking for skills including:
- excellent problem-solving, maths and IT skills
- strong technical knowledge and skill with specialist software
- good communication skills and an ability to convey complex information
- an ability to plan, prioritise and manage projects
- commitment to keeping up-to-date with new developments
- leadership skills and an ability to work in multi-disciplinary teams
Finding a job in the energy industry is competitive.
Relevant work experience is invaluable in developing expertise. It helps show motivation and commitment to this area of work. Below are some suggestions for finding relevant experience.
Many large engineering companies, particularly in the power sector, advertise summer or year-long placements early in the first semester.
These are usually aimed at students in and above their second year of study. Applications open early in the autumn and closing dates are usually between December and March.
Examples of companies that offer placements and/or summer internships include:
Work experience opportunities with smaller companies are not always advertised. You may need to contact the employer with a speculative approach.
Professional bodies and research councils also advertise opportunities. See About for a list of organisations.
For more advice, read TARGETjobs' Engineering work experience: a beginner's guide.
You can also look at what to do if you can't find an internship over summer. These are specific to engineering, but offer useful advice for most degree disciplines.
Internships and placements
- Vacancies Online - search under 'Environment and Natural Resources' and also see work experience
- Internships, placements & shadowing
- UK Power Networks - offers placements and internships in engineering, business, law and IT
- Westinghouse Electric Company - provides services to the nuclear industry and offers internships for students
- The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology - contact them with your CV and details of the type of placement you want
- IAESTE - work placements for UK resident engineering and science students
- RISE - summer internship program for undergraduate science or engineering students to do research in Germany
Find companies that interest you and get in touch – with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for.
Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.
- North East Graduate Directory - a database of North East employers who may be able to offer work experience
- North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) - includes a member directory (PDF, see the back of directory for index by sector). Also has company profiles.
- National Skills Academy for Nuclear: Opportunities
- UK Nuclear University Network – see ‘industry contacts’ for possible summer internship contacts
- Cogent - advertises placements and internships, including in nuclear and renewables
Use the following resources to find advertised vacancies and also research employers for speculative applications.
Professional bodies and research councils also advertise graduate positions. See About for a list of organisations.
Vacancy sites (general)
- Careers Service Vacancies Online – see also Graduate Jobs
- Energy Jobline - includes jobs in renewables and power and nuclear
- New Scientist Jobs: Earth, environment and energy jobs
- Just Utilities - includes utility, nuclear and renewable jobs
- Utility Job Search - utility, nuclear and renewable jobs
- Renewable Energy Jobs
- EndsJobSearch - includes jobs in renewable and wind energy
- Environment Job- includes vacancies relating to carbon management, climate policy and renewable energy
- Greenjobs – includes jobs in renewable energy
- Energy roles - includes renewable energy jobs
- Scottish Renewables: Jobs in Renewables
- Just Engineers: Renewable Energy
- nucleargraduates - two-year graduate scheme with placements in more than 20 companies
- Regional Engineering Jobs: Nuclear
- Nuclear Liaison - click on ‘Industry contacts’ for contact details of graduate recruiters
- Culham Centre for Fusion Energy - offer opportunities for engineers and physicists and Culham graduate scheme
- National Nuclear Laboratory - opportunities for graduates in chemistry, chemical engineering, physics and materials
- Think Power: Jobs
- British Hydrological Society - job vacancies and register of consultants
- Ofwat (water services regulation authority) - includes vacancies
- Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) - careers section includes graduate development programme
- National Grid: Careers
- CIWEM: Jobs
Specialist recruitment agencies
- Allen-York - opportunities in environment, renewable energy, waste and recycling, and energy services
- Acre - environment and sustainability recruitment service
- Utility People
Find organisations that interest you and get in touch always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for.
Showing your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.
- Wikijob: List of energy firms
- CIWEM: Business partners - for areas of specialism in a particular country/area
- Environmental Expert - environmental business directory, useful for speculative applications
- Energy UK: member directory
- North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) has members including chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. It includes a member directory (PDF, see the back of directory for index by sector) and company profiles.
- Power Technology: company A-Z - list of suppliers and contractors in the power industry
- UK Groundwater Forum - list of companies which use hydrogeologists in the UK
- The Renewable Energy Centre - includes links to companies and renewables consultants
- National Skills Academy for Nuclear: employer members
- Water UK - list of UK water and wastewater service suppliers