Just how transferable are engineering skills?

The second release of our interview with Luke Westendarp from renewable energy manpower provider Cathcart Energy, providing much-needed insight on the challenges oil and gas professionals face when moving into the renewables sector…


The transition from the oil and gas sector to renewables is always possible, but what seems to be widely unknown is who has the advantage and who needs to work a little harder to make the move. We caught up with Luke Westendarp, a recruitment leader who has years of experience in successfully mobilizing skilled oil and gas talent into the renewables sector.

“Engineering skills are broadly transferable. When it comes to more engineering specific skills such as electrical engineering, design engineering and structural engineering, candidates can often move straight over.” Says Westendarp.

“For more senior roles, such as a Project Manager, employers will be more concerned about the industrial background of who they hire.”

A renewables employer’s decision to hire an oil and gas professional will be influenced by that person’s attitude towards internal practices. For example, an oil and gas project manager could have the right experience for a role, but there may be a culture gap attached to them taking on a renewables project.

“You may need to bear this in mind if you do get a chance to interview. Make sure you come across as friendly, collaborative and that you don’t have certain expectations that may not be met in a different industry.”

Oil and gas professionals in these difficult positions should start by thinking about what a renewables employer wants to see in an applicant. It is possible for oil and gas professionals to transition into the renewables industry, but those all-important changes must be made to a CV/Cover letter to reassure employers you are swapping sectors for the right reasons and that you have the transferable skills required to take on the role on offer.

These changes to your application and supporting documents could be the difference between an interview request and an “Unfortunately, you were not successful”. Much like its sister sectors, the renewables market is currently suffering from a skills shortage and top talent from all sectors is in high demand right now. Now (more than ever) renewables employers are growing more and more optimistic about hiring from the wider energy sector.

Want to know more about the renewables positions currently on offer right now? Search Cathcart Energy’s latest roles by clicking here today.

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