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Stuart Hobbs

Director of Energy Services, SSE Airtricity

Ireland’s expanding renewable energy industry is an exciting place to work, providing opportunities for growth, skills development and career progression at all levels.

Stuart Hobbs, Director of Energy Services at energy company, SSE Airtricity, has worked in energy for over two decades. In recent years, more people — including customers and colleagues — have asked him what the future of Irish energy will look like. He tells them the answer is simple: It’s green. 

Ideal place for renewable energy 

Ireland has led the way in onshore wind generation, but now, the country is looking to develop its offshore wind capabilities, too. “It’s going to take off in a big way,” notes Hobbs.  

“Ireland has one of the largest coastlines in Europe, some of the most enviable seabeds and a great wind portfolio. SSE is certainly poised to make big investments in offshore.”  

This means the sector is going to see a further increase in exciting career opportunities. No wonder SSE is seeing an uptick in candidates interested in joining its graduate and apprenticeship programmes.  

Companies in our industry shouldn’t just pay lip service to sustainability and social responsibility.

Transferable skills will help power the green revolution 

“When we ask potential employees why they want to work for us, they often say it’s because our values align with theirs,” explains Hobbs. “Of course, they want well-paid jobs too — but, increasingly, they’re thinking about the type of organisation they want to work for. Companies in our industry shouldn’t just pay lip service to sustainability and social responsibility. They have to mean what they say and follow through.”  

Candidates also want to know that training and support will be available to them after they join and that their employer is committed to, for example, supporting local communities and championing diversity and inclusion initiatives. 

In creating green jobs of the future, Hobbs says the company — and the wider industry — needs a variety of skilled personnel, including project managers and quantity surveyors. It’s also looking to attract people from traditional trades — such as electricians, plumbers and heating engineers — and upskill them to work on the technologies of tomorrow.  

“The Irish Government has a climate action target to retrofit 500,000 homes before 2030,” says Hobbs. “That’s just 25% of housing stock. After that, another 1.5 million houses will need retrofitting. So, electricians, for example, can get in at the start of a retrofit revolution. They can develop their skills, competencies and experience and become part of a burgeoning renewable energies market offering diverse career progression at all levels for the long term. That’s why it’s so exciting.” 

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