Kick-starting a graduate career in renewables

In September last year, Cubico Sustainable Investments (Cubico) welcomed its first two employees into dedicated graduate roles.

After an exciting six months working in our Technical team, we catch up with Gulden Iskaliyeva, Graduate Engineer, to talk about her journey into renewables and what she has been doing since starting at the company.

Gulden

When did you first become interested in renewable energy?

Throughout my education I heard a lot about alternative power production methods, but I came to know more about them while completing the final year project of my bachelor’s degree. The project involved the design of a small-scale wind turbine and during that time I discovered the global need for renewable energy, some of its challenges and how it had grown over the past decades. My master’s dissertation was also around renewable energy: flywheel energy storage.

How did you approach building a career in the renewable energy sector?

As I studied mechanical engineering at both bachelor and master level, I had a broad choice of industries that I could join. But, having completed two university projects in the field of renewable energy, I began to pay more attention to this growing industry. In addition, I chose to study an elective module called ‘Renewable Energy Fundamentals & Sustainable Energy Technologies’. This module helped me get a good idea of the latest technologies used in the renewables industry, as well as recognise the critical need for sustainable energy production.

What attracted you to the graduate role at Cubico?

The graduate role at Cubico drew my attention because the company is engaged in a growing industry that helps our environment. Cubico owns and operates many different renewable projects thanks to its in-house professional capabilities and I consider myself very lucky to have the opportunity to learn from the knowledgeable and experienced team here. I also thought that it would be interesting to join a young company, to witness its growth and to contribute to its development.

Gulden And Louis SmithGulden and Louis Smith, Head of Health, Safety and Environment at Cubico. 

What have you been working on over the last six months?

The last six months have been very interesting for me. I have had the opportunity to get acquainted with how everything is done in my department and my line manager, an electrical engineer, involved me in researching the latest energy storage technologies, especially lithium-ion batteries. Energy storage has the potential to add value to our renewable projects, which is a really exciting prospect.  

What are you most looking forward to in your next rotation?

My next rotation will be with the team that is responsible for analysing the energy production of our projects. This requires the processing and interpretation of a large amount of data, performing engineering calculations and many other things that I would like to get hands-on experience in. During my education, I was taught the principles of assessing the energy output of a wind turbine and I’m excited to see how this is done for real life projects. I’m looking forward to putting theoretical knowledge to good use and learning something new.

What advice would you give to other graduates looking to start their careers in the renewables industry?

I would say that if they have a chance to take part in projects related to the renewables sector or undertake modules covering wind or solar technologies, go for it. In addition, keeping up with industry news by reading science magazines, articles and online publications is a really helpful way to learn about the latest trends in this fast-growing industry.