THE ENERGY TOOLKIT

02. SKILLS AUDIT

SKILLS REQUIRED

 

Work out the skills that you already have, and advertise for what you still need. The key skills are enthusiasm and resilience. Setting up a community energy project takes a lot of time and patience. There will be setbacks. To develop and manage energy projects as a community energy company, you will ideally need a blend of the following skills:

 

  • Financial 

  • Legal

  • Project management (in construction projects of some kind ideally, but not essential)

  • Health and Safety

  • Construction experience

  • Communication/Marketing

  • Community outreach

  • Technical knowledge in energy

  • Management/business management experience 

  • Experience in energy projects (desirable but not essential)

  • Operational 

  • HR

  • IT/web design

 

Other key information that will be useful to know about your members:

  • What profession they currently have

  • Other qualifications

  • Time available each month for Sustainable Overton work 

  • Type of responsibility they are interested in helping with

  • Interest in long term involvement

  • Interested in being a Director
     

Some skills you can find from members who join, others you may have to seek out. Crucially it is worth remembering you are setting up a new business and every pound you save by getting experiences people to help for free makes a massive difference. 

 

  • Be candid about how much time people can give, and what they want to do. E.g. if you set up a community energy project, you will need a board of directors, and a company secretary/treasurer. This is not for everyone. You also need a constitution (or at least a basic set of rules) and a bank account. The easiest way to do this is as an unincorporated association. But before you get too big, you will need to think what legal form you will take. Members of an unincorporated body have little protection of risk.

  • If you start running public events you will need to consider public liability insurance.

  • Upskilling: You may have to skill yourselves up in certain areas if you cannot find what you need yet.

  • Register for any workshops and masterclasses, and nominate someone to attend these and share the information. Community Energy South and Community Energy England run very informative free masterclasses and workshops.

skills_matrix.png

An example of a group skills matrix. 

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LEARNING POINT

POINTS TO CONSIDER EARLY ON

  • Recruit for more members early on, particularly those with experience in this or related fields. It has been surprising how many talented and skilled people there are out there. More members enable the team to split into subgroups to tackle each project.

  • Carry out an objectives and strategy session early on: This is key for both getting everyone engaged and on board, but also to thrash out what you see as the key priorities for the group. Given the magnitude of a community energy project, some groups may prefer to start with more easily achievable objectives, while they build up their knowledge.  

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