5 tips for finding work in the green economy




Written by: Andrew Cahill, Green Careers Officer

Write to Andrew

Internships through the Green Collar Career Program provide young people with a desire for a career that makes a sustainable impact to be connected with employment opportunities at organizations that are actively working towards this goal. It allows young people to gain valuable experience as they take their next step towards a meaningful career. It also allows organizations to share their expertise with the next generation of green workers, along with vetting potential future employees.

I recently spoke to one of our previous program participants, Petra. She found her current role through the Green Collar Careers Internship program. Petra is currently employed as a Project Intern for Northland Power, where she began working in November 2019.

Petra during her time studying her undergraduate degree at York University.

Here are 5 tips from our interview with Petra about starting out in the green economy.

1.Do your research

“Do a lot of research. Look into the different companies that are involved in the field you want to join. In-depth research about the companies helped me to gauge what I was qualified for, what they did, and what the job entailed. This helped me understand which applications to spend my time on and which ones weren’t worth my time.”

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2. Be Flexible 

“The world is changing and the way we work is changing. You have to be ready for surprises and innovations. People need to be prepared for this and be flexible, as this might require you to change the style of how you conduct your work. There needs to be systems in place in any field, even renewable energy, that allow for the unexpected problems or disruptions to be handled correctly.”

3. Connect, connect, connect

“What I’ve learned is how important your connections are. You always hear when you’re looking for a job that it’s the connections you have that get you in. I applied to many places and had interviews, but I ended up finding work from a person in my network that I would have never expected would lead to a job. It does matter who you know.”

4. Look for employment resources and programs

“One reason that the Green Careers internship program is helpful, is because it’s providing people with connections, as this is an important aspect when it comes to finding jobs. Another is that there is a lack of opportunities out there and you are offering your services to anyone, including those that may not have all the resources at their disposal.”

“There are resources out there for young people. The government has programs for people below the age of 29, there are lots of co-ops available for young people, but its my perception that without helpful services or industry connections, it’s hard for a student to get started. Green Collar Careers helps people make those initial industry connections. I appreciated the encouragement and positivity I received when applying for this position from Andrew. It was very nice, and it reflects the overall attitude of Relay Education. ”

5. Love what you do

“My love for sustainable energy and knowing how important renewable energy is for electricity generation drives me in my career. I hope I can make a significant contribution to the industry. In my role, I am gaining experience by learning how everything is done in building an energy system, so I can envision the process step-by-step. I enjoy that aspect because I’m receiving a great foundation of knowledge which will help in the future if I continue down that road to building systems. I’m learning about things every day that I have an interest in, such as energy production and connecting it with energy transmission, and I learn the engineering process and terminology without having an engineering background.”

How to become a participant

Someone can apply by first filling in the intake form here. We receive info about their education, interests, and what kind of job they would like to gain experience in. I then reference this info to an employer looking to fill an internship position. If the position sounds interesting to the young person, they send me their resume and I forward it along to the hiring manager for that organization. From there, the hiring manager will take over the communications with the applicant.