Myths about energy careers create a barrier to diversity, event hears


Bindi Patel portrait

Tackling misconceptions about careers in the energy sector could help make it more reflective of society, according to an industry expert.

Bindi Patel, Head of Customer Experience and Communications at Vattenfall Heat, said that while there are signs that the sector is becoming more diverse, certain ‘myths’ needed to be tackled to encourage people from a variety of backgrounds to enter the industry.

Speaking at Energy Futures Lab’s latest Women in Energy event, she told Maria Yliruka that the impression that energy careers are only for engineers can hold people back, something which ultimately inhibits the transition to a more sustainable society:

“We absolutely need technical people – we need engineers etc., but we also need people who can speak to customers, people who can do the numbers, with a commercial mindset, people who can do business development and community engagement.”   

Bindi, who is a driving force behind the Diverse Heat Network, an initiative which aims to attract an ‘army of district heating champions’ from all walks of life, told the online audience that in the early days of her career, she found the industry an intimidating place.

“I’ve been working in the energy sector now for 14 years and it was very different when I started out. Very often I would be at events or in meetings where I would be not only the only female but absolutely the only person of colour in rooms.” 

“I’m really pleased that that is changing, and has changed, but it doesn’t mean that it’s brilliant. There is so much more that we can do.”

Bindi said that creating change requires companies to work together and redouble efforts to attract diverse talent. Doing so, she says, makes business sense because it makes firms more reflective of the communities they serve.

Watch the full conversation with Bindi Patel below.

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The next event in the Women in Energy series will take place on 22 March, when the guest will be Rebecca Rosling, Head of Future Energy Systems Research and Development at EDF Energy. Register here to join the event online.

Sustainability Fortnight

On Wednesday, 28 February, Energy Futures Lab is hosting a panel discussion and networking event on Building a Career in Sustainable Energy as part of Imperial College London’s Sustainability Fortnight. Find out more and register here. To see the full Sustainability Fortnight programme, click here.


Conor McNally

Conor McNally
The Grantham Institute for Climate Change

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Comms-strategy-Wider-society, Comms-strategy-Inclusive-community, Energy, Women-at-Imperial, Equality, Diversity, Industry, Sustainability
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