Fiona Muller meets Jamie Taylor, director of energy consultancy Taylor-Heath Ltd which produces Energy Performance Certificates for compliance. These certificates give homes and commercial building an A–G rating which can then help with energy efficiency improvements.

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Why is it a good profession to get into?

I enjoy the flexibility of this profession. I am self-employed and chose this career because I thought it would lead on to better things – this hasn’t happened so far, but the new government initiatives are going to mean that my work will diversify.

Currently, much of my work is producing Energy Performance Certificates, but I would like to move more into energy consultancy work.

What does the work involve?

I have two main types of day. The first one starts at 5.30am, often involves driving across the country, surveying properties and then driving home again. The other is more of a 9am-5pm office day where I am working at a computer catching up on paper work.

Currently, I work six to seven days a week to keep up with demand, and my job is a permanent one. As I am self-employed, the times when I am busy can change according to the season and the demand.

I got into the profession through answering an advertisement from the Government looking for energy assessors. I was studying for a PGCE at the time and had just done a module in energy and sustainability which had interested me. I thought this is an area which I want to work in.

I have a level 3 diploma in Domestic Energy Assessing and a Level 4 diploma in Commercial Energy Assessing. I am also qualified as a CIBSE Low Carbon Consultant.

What are the positives/negatives of this profession?

The best thing about this job is the flexibility of the role and also the fact that you get to assess some really interesting buildings and meet some interesting people. I recently surveyed some of the buildings at Stansted Airport and it was fascinating to look at what happens behind the scenes.

The worst thing is the days when I have to get up at 5.30am and drive a long way to a job, only to get stuck on the M25 in a traffic jam. Travelling is fun, but not at that time in the morning!

Is there much local demand for people trained in this area?

The business is quite cut-throat with regard to pricing; people undercut each other to get work. For a while, there was a surfeit of assessors and work was quite scarce – that is not so much the case now. I get most of my work through tendering.

Self-marketing is something that I don’t really enjoy but it is key to getting work in the industry. It seems that work comes through who you know and not what you know.

Sometimes you need a thick skin to get through the day!

The industry is changing and developing due to the government’s energy policies and people are generally more positive about the role as the public see it as something that is useful and can save them money. I think that the industry will expand further in the future.

What would employers look for in someone applying for a vacancy?

I think the most important skill set for this type of role is soft skills. You need to have good communications skills and be adept at working in different IT packages. I also think there is a degree of technical knowledge required as you have to make precise measurements and accurate observations.