This is the seventh interview in our Work Voices series for ESL educators.
Henri Gonnet is from France and came to this country 25 years ago. He now works in the green tech field at Solar City, having been fascinated by the world of electricity, and in particular the growing world of solar energy. He describes how he went to Diablo Valley College, which offered one of the first solar education programs in the country. This program gave him a really comprehensive grounding in alternative energy.
Henri explains that to work in this field, it is important to be able to communicate clearly in English and understand math at a basic level. He also suggests taking the NABCEP certificate in order to be well placed for getting a job in the industry. He sees solar installation as the most accessible job in the industry, especially in the residential sector, where the market is strong. There is also employment in the commercial world which is very different. Henri describes how with this background experience, it is possible to move on to design, auditing, permitting or sales jobs, and he is optimist about opportunities for advancement after two or three years.
Henri Gonnet is clear that working in the energy field can be hard work and it is not for everyone. Because of the way the energy market is changing, he recommends this work “as the way of the future”, with the proviso that you should be really interested in electricity and renewable energy for it to be a suitable career option.