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Preparing young workers for an emerging industry


Posted by Ngoc Thuy Nguyen

about 1 year ago

The renewable energy industry is predicted to grow rapidly and become labor-intensive

In recent years, with the influx of foreign investment for expansion of many industries in Vietnam, especially renewable energy, comes the sudden demand for labor. In what way can workers and educational institutions prepare for such new industries?

According to Mr. Le Minh Dung, Manager at Navigos Search in Oil & Gas, Energy and Heavy Industry (Navigos Group), recruiters in the industry are looking for candidates with good expertise, a willingness to learn, and especially perserverance, as travelling to remote areas with unfavorable weather conditions is part of the job. Additionally, as most investors are foreign companies, proficiency in English is also required.

Candidate has strong opportunity for growth

Research conducted by Navigos Group shows that renewable energy, including wind and solar energy, is attracting a significant amount of investment, mostly in the form of joint ventures betweeen Vietnamese companies and European partners, such as Danish or German. The demand for electrical engineers is therefore growing.

Renewable energy is an emerging industry in Vietnam, and the demand for employees is excessive of its supply. A solution adopted by companies is the recruitment of experienced electrical engineeers working in thermoelectric or hydroelectric power plants, who will undergo further training to meet the job requirements. Such positions require a high level of expertise and proficiency in English.

“The speed at which renewable energy projects are being carried out is a signal of the rapid development of companies in the industry. A great deal of foreign investment has been made in renewable energy in Vietnam from German, Danish, and China investors, for example.

Companies working in renewable energy has also made investments in supporting industries in Vietnam, which illustrates their commitment to long-term development,” said Mr. Dung.

Regarding the demand and supply of labor in the renewable energy industry, the most popular position is electrical engineer, as remarked by Mr. Dung.

There are a limited number of experienced candidates working in renewable energy in Vietnam at the moment. However, as most projects remain fairly basic and on a small scale, and take only six to nine months each, companies can afford to slightly lower their requirements.

Most companies only ask for experience in traditional energy industries, proficiency in English, necessary skills and knowledge to operate factories and project execution. Common positions in the recent years include project managers, senior electrical engineers, and operators. Managerial positions, such as Directors or CEO, are commonly held by foreign candidates transferred from the home countries to Vietnam.

“Candidates working in renewable energy has attractive promotion opportunities in such companies. Commitment is, of course, a prerequisite, as access to training and promotions is available only to committed candidates.” – said a Navigos Search’s representative.

Collaboration with educational institutions in training

SolarBK, a domestic company established in 2006, is regarded as one the first in Vietnam to research, develop and provide renewable energy products and solutions (solar and wind energy).

According to Ms. Nga Dang Thi Ngoc – Head of Talent Mangement at SolarBK, companies need to actively collaborate with educational institutions in training a labor force capable of supporting their expansion and development.

“Newly-graduated engineers are active, enthusiastic, creative, confident, dedicated, knowledgeable, tech-savvy, and possess a growth mindset and proficiency in English, but lack practical experience, a result-oriented mindset and perserverance. Some of them can be overly confident, often overestimating themselves, lacking in emotion management and time management skills,” said Ms. Nga.

While young workers need to make an effort to improve themselves, they also need support from companies to meet job requirements. On-the-job training, orientation on long-term personal and career development should be provided by employers, while patience, passion and communication skills are qualities that candidates should focus on developing themselves.

“Renewable energy is an emerging industry of which our existing knowledge is limited, therefore it is vital that engineers in the field constantly acquire knowledge from foreign countries, especially about innovative technology and solutions in renewable energy. Companies need to make a relentless effort to increase their product quality to keep up with global standards, such as economical and environmentally friendly products. Apart from the above-mentioned requirements, workers need to have a genuine interest in renewable energy, as well as attention to details,” said Ms. Nga.

As there is no formal education program specific to renewable energy in Vietnam at the moment, young workers in the industry generally lack practical experience. Most of them are being recruited from similar industries, such as mechanical engineering.

As part of their solution, SolarBK developed a “renewable energy experience zone” in Back Khoa University in Ho Chi Minh City, which allows students to gain more knowledge of the industry, and kindles their interest in renewable energy, in the hope that they can make an informed decision on their career path upon graduation.

Source: Lao Dong (