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Career push for Pembrokeshire youth in renewable energy

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Naomi Bowen, a former oil and gas professional, is urging youth to exploit fast-growing opportunities in the sector as Wales aims for net-zero emissions by 2050.

Ms Bowen, an assistant project manager at RWE looking after on-shore wind projects, previously worked in oil and gas sector for over 14 years in Pembrokeshire.

Motivated by the dire need to combat climate change, Naomi transitioned to the renewable energy industry and now seeks to encourage school leavers to explore this sector for their career.

This directive aligns with a broader initiative from Pembrokeshire County Council, schools, Pembrokeshire College, and industry figures to drive interest in renewable energy careers among the youth.

Several projects, including the launch of a film highlighting the promising opportunities in net-zero careers in Pembrokeshire, are set to debut this year.

Recent surveys have indicated that environmental impact is a significant job factor for younger generations, especially Gen Z.

A study by KMPG found that one-third of Gen Z employees desired jobs aligned with their environmental principles, with some reportedly rejecting job offers due to companies’ unsatisfactory green policies.

Given that Pembrokeshire currently provides approximately a fifth of the UK’s energy needs, the demand for green energy is growing as both Wales and the UK strive for net-zero emissions by 2050.

As a response, Ms Bowen, alongside other experts, wants to stress to school leavers the lucrative prospects within the renewable energy industry to address the notable skills gap in green energy.

Reflecting on her business sector and its potentials for employment, she said: “I don’t think young people are aware of all the different roles available within the sector, and the transferrable skills needed for many of the roles.

“Even though there is interest, they just aren’t aware of what is out there.

“There is so much variety and choice, especially for young women coming from STEM backgrounds, from tech and engineering to project management and design.”

Jack O’Shea, another professional born and raised in Pembrokeshire, supported this view, asserting the optimistic future for those venturing into the renewables.

Speaking of the growing opportunities, he said: “Growing up, it wasn’t guaranteed that I would be able to forge a successful career in my home county, but it feels like times are changing.”

Lastly, Steven Richards-Downes, Pembrokeshire’s education director, added: “A renewable energy revolution is kick starting in the county.

“We have a huge opportunity to become pioneers of renewable energies and trailblazers in technology working alongside existing industries.”

For more details on opportunities in Pembrokeshire’s renewable energy sector, visit the Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum’s website.

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