Producing energy, whether it be from oil sands or wind, is clearly a transferable skill.
“The skill sets needed in renewable energy, are the same needed in oil and gas,” said Paula McGarrigle, managing director of Solas Energy Consulting. “They are completely transferable.”
McGarrigle made the observation at the Re-Engage Workshop: Transitioning to Renewable Energy led by Calgary Economic Development and Alberta Human Services at the 2016 Global Petroleum Show. The session had more than 200 attendees, eager to gain insight from renewable energy leaders about the transferable skills most in demand.
The Global Petroleum show attracts over 50,000 international delegates over three days, featuring more than 1,500 exhibitors from 85 countries.
Re-engage is a series of workshops and events led by Calgary Economic Development and Alberta Human Services. They are designed to help support laid off professionals and skilled trade workers by providing the information and strategies needed to help them re-engage their skill-sets for future work opportunities.
“We are so pleased to offer our support through the Re-engage series, which connects Calgarians with the resources and tools they need to thrive, because our people are key to keeping our communities strong,” said Mary Moran, president and CEO of Calgary Economic Development.
The Re-Engage Workshop: Transitioning to Renewable Energy highlighted how many Albertans already possess the required skills to make the transition into the renewable energy industry and provided insight into immediate and future opportunities.
Moran introduced the expert panel and gave her perspective on the transition to renewable energy.
“We are going to need all types of fuel to meet our future energy demand,” said Moran. “That means oil and natural gas as well as wind, solar, geothermal and other renewables.”
The panel was moderated by McGarrigle, who previously worked in renewables for Suncor Energy and Shell and now runs an influential renewable energy consulting firm. McGarrigle is also the industry chair for Calgary Economic Developments’ Renewable Energy Committee. The panel included David Kelly, CEO of Skyfire Energy and Alison Thompson, chair and co-founder of the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association.
“Oil and Gas and renewable industries are deeply intertwined” said Thompson.
Calgary and Alberta’s energy sector is diversifying from its strength in oil and gas to include a significant focus on renewable energy.
For the first time this year, the Global Petroleum Show is hosting renewable energy and clean tech exhibitors and programming.
Attendees of the Re-Engage workshop left more informed about the opportunities in renewable energy and received helpful tips on how to stand out when looking for job placements in renewables.
McGarrigle expressed, “We look for passion and an appetite for learning first and foremost; it’s also imperative that interested people do their homework on the industry before seeking employment.”