How can the solar industry fill 900,000 new jobs over the next twelve years?*

Without learning and development (L&D) leadership, we can’t. Learning and development leaders help us build successful and rewarding careers. They do the hard work required to recruit, onboard, and retain your teammates. If you work with a great L&D leader, give them a hug. Outside of your family and friends, nobody thinks more about your success than they do. 

What is learning and development leadership? How does it impact the business? If you’ve been thrust into an L&D leadership role, how can you do a halfway decent job at it?

We asked a great L&D leader to share her advice on all of this and more. Her responses are below.

Meet Claire Lytton, Director of Learning & Development @ Convergent

Convergent Energy and Power has grown from two to 100+ employees over the past decade. Hiring a Director of Learning & Development is one of many strategies they’ve used to build a great company. Claire Lytton didn’t always know she wanted to be an L&D leader at an energy storage company. In this video you can listen to Claire talk about Convergent’s growth, how she got into her role and how she thinks about her job helping the team perform their best.

Why Do Solar Companies Need Learning & Development People?

Big companies have a dedicated Learning & Development team. Small companies usually don’t. Most solar companies are stuck somewhere between small and big, so how do you know if you’re ready to hire a learning & development person? Claire talks about how organizations might think about how and when to invest in a learning & development person.

Advice for Educators Considering a Solar L&D Role

Hiring an educator to join your solar team is a great strategy for leveling up your L&D team fast. Schools have a hard time retaining great teachers because it’s such a hard job and the pay usually isn’t great. The solar industry is a great alternative for educators looking to do what they love and continue to have a positive impact. In this video we asked Claire to offer some advice to educators getting into solar.

Advice for Solar People Who Have Been Thrust into an L&D Role

Most growing solar companies beginning to invest in learning and development will ask an existing employee to manage L&D part time. We call these people ‘team training leaders’ – sometimes they are HR professionals, sometimes they are crew leaders or managers. This is super common. So we asked Claire for some tips about how to get smarter about L&D, faster. Here’s her advice to solar people who have been thrust into an L&D role.

Solar Learning & Development Provides Inspiration

Claire closed our interview with some words of encouragement for her fellow learning and development professionals. We hope you feel excited about this crucial role for your company and our industry. If you are a solar learning and development professional looking to connect with others like Claire, please contact us at HeatSpring to learn about our ‘Training Advisory Board’ that meets quarterly to share ideas and advice. Please also check out HeatSpring for Teams and set up your free team dashboard.

Thank you, Claire, for sharing your story and your ideas with us and the HeatSpring community!

*Footnote: The source for the projection of 900,000 new solar jobs by 2035 is the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) 2021 Annual Technology Baseline (ATB) report. The report is based on modeling and analysis of various factors, including market conditions, technology costs, and policy drivers, and it provides a comprehensive assessment of the current and future costs and performance of renewable energy technologies in the United States. According to the report, the solar industry is expected to experience significant growth over the next decade, with the potential to add more than 900,000 new jobs by 2035.