This week, 1st-6th March, is National Careers Week and it aims to inform and inspire the next generation as they enter the world of work. We asked Together Housing staff to share the twist and turns in their career journey to show how everyone must start somewhere.
Within a week of graduating with a Masters in Renewable Energy Engineering, Robin Jones joined Together Net Zero as a Renewable Energy Project Officer.
As such, Robin has been instrumental in the reduction of Together Housing’s carbon footprint, helping tenants save money on their energy bills and improving their comfort at home via projects such as solar PV and battery installations. Here he explains more.
I worked in quite a few different fields; education, data, finance, marine engineering and a few customer facing roles before completing my masters as a mature student. While having a few different jobs under my belt seems strange, it has helped me quite a bit, different jobs had different aspects that help in what I do. Obviously, the knowledge of renewables is really helpful for working in solar and battery, but I have to educate tenants, manage data, manage people and work to keep our customers happy. Having a varied background has really helped with that.
Having tried a few different career paths, some more out of necessity than choice, a move into renewable energy was something I was genuinely interested in.
I originally thought I would end up working in offshore wind as I had engineering experience working offshore but after studying at UCLan I found the application of renewable technologies to housing very interesting and decided to pursue it as a career. There are many challenges within it; there are design elements that historical house design doesn’t account for, there is a real challenge behind decentralised power and the changes of battery technology needed to support variable renewable energy sources.
There isn’t really a typical day in project management. There’s a lot of variety and that’s one of the things that I enjoy about it. Granted Covid-19 has made my days a bit more samey but there’s a lot of time on site speaking to tenants and contractors. There’s also a lot of time and effort that goes into planning projects efficiently and cutting costs without compromising on safety or standards. A good portion of my time is spent speaking to electricity suppliers and energy equipment providers trying to move towards using smarter, greener homes that help our customers and the environment.
If I was to offer advice to somebody applying for my role, I’d say ask lots of questions. There’s a lot to pick up and you’re not going to know everything about the role. I have found most people at Together Housing to be very helpful and will take the time to understand what you’re trying to do. On the flip side of that, you have to understand that you are part of a bigger team and as much as you need their help to do what you need to do, you also need to put in extra work to make the jobs of colleagues more straightforward too.
I like the variety of the role, getting out on site and being part of an ongoing project that’s cutting edge. There is a lot of problem solving on a daily level and it keeps me very busy, whether on site or working from home.
My biggest achievement to date is finishing my first quarterly report. It was a mammoth task and my dyslexia didn’t exactly help get it finished quickly but it was really my first chance to look back on what Together Energy had achieved so far and was actually quite satisfying to review how much we got done in such a small amount of time.
You can find out more about National Careers Week here: https://nationalcareersweek.com/