What is EPC? What do job seekers in Japan need to know about jobs in EPC such as Electricians and Electrical Engineers as well as the qualifications and career advancement they can expect?

The renewable energy industry is a growing market due to the movement towards a decarbonised society. In Japan, the number of construction projects for power generation plants is increasing along with the demand in solar power, wind power, and biomass power generation related projects. As such, the demand for engineers, particularly electrical engineers, facility engineers, and plant engineers, who are indispensable for construction and facility management, operation, and maintenance at construction sites is also increasing.

In this article, we will introduce the qualifications required for these engineers especially electrical engineers and certified electricians, as well as explain the career paths that job seekers can expect.


What is EPC?

Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) is a form of contractual agreement where those involved in the EPC are responsible for the design, procurement, construction, commissioning, and handover of the project.


Qualifications required for those in EPC including power plant construction, management, operation and maintenance

The following three qualifications in the electrical engineering field are often required for electrical engineers, facility engineers, and plant engineers who construct, manage, operate, and maintain power generation plants:


  1. Electrical work construction management engineer

What is an electrical work construction management engineer?

An electrician is an electrical engineer who is responsible for supervising electrical work at a construction site. Without a certified electrician, construction of a power plant would not be possible. A certified electrician is indispensable in the process of EPC, from planning and proposal to construction of power generation projects.


What are the qualifications required of an electrical construction management engineer?

There are two types of electrical construction management engineers: Level 1 and Level 2. A Level 2 electrical construction management engineer is recognised as a "chief engineer in construction work”, while a Level 1 electrical construction management engineer is recognised as a "supervising engineer" in the field.


Career opportunities for electrical engineers based on your qualifications

In the renewable energy industry, there is a high demand for electrical engineers who can supervise the construction of power plants and other construction sites. As such, the qualifications of a first-class electrical construction management engineer are highly valued. Our specialist consultant, Taishi Hiroto, who specialises in the renewable energy recruitment shared, "Many people have a Level 2 electrical construction management certificate, but acquiring a Level 1 construction management certificate will greatly expand the scope of your career. You can also expect a higher annual salary as you will be in a position to manage and supervise.”


  1. Certified electrician

What is an electrician?

The work of an electrician can be broadly divided into two categories: construction electrical work and railroad electrical work. Construction electrical work includes the design and installation of electrical equipment in all types of construction, from general housing to factories and buildings to power generation plants.


What are the qualifications required of a certified electrician?

There are two types of electricians: Type 1 and Type 2. The main difference is the different voltages they can handle and consequently the size of the buildings they can work on. The higher qualification – Type 1 electrician, can handle higher voltages and therefore be involved in electrical work at large-scale construction sites.

Both Type 1 and Type 2 consist of a written test and a skills test. The pass rate for both the written and skills tests for Type 2 is around 65%, while the pass rate for Type 1 is around 50% for the written test and 65% for the skills test, making it a relatively difficult qualification to get amongst other national qualifications.


Career opportunities for certified electricians based on your qualifications

If you are already a certified electrician and are currently involved in electrical design, installation, management, and maintenance of large facilities such as buildings and factories, you can use your qualifications and experience to move into the renewable energy industry in Japan, where further growth and career advancement are expected in the future.

Hiroto added, “An certified electrician or electrical engineer qualification isn’t a must-have for the renewable energy industry in Japan. It is however often considered a plus. So if you do have these qualifications, it will be extremely advantageous towards your job change in Japan.”


  1. Chief electrical engineer

What is a chief electrical engineer?

While the abovementioned electrical construction management engineers and certified electricians play an active role in the construction and installation of facilities, chief electrical engineers are mainly involved in Operations and Maintenance, also known as O&M. Specifically, they supervise the safety of electrical facilities in buildings, factories, power plants, and substations.


What are the qualifications required of a chief electrical engineer?

There are three types of chief electrical engineer examinations (i.e. electrical testing): Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3. Each classification has a different voltage that can be handled. Even for Type 3, which is the lowest level amongst the three, the pass rate is only around 10%, making it a highly difficult qualification to achieve.


Career opportunities for chief electrical engineers based on your qualifications

If you hold a Type 2 electrical testing qualification, you will be able to maintain and supervise electrical equipment at power plants and substations. While this makes them indispensable for renewable energy companies in Japan that are planning to construct new power plants, most of those are veterans in their 50s or older. This has led to a prediction in shortage of talent with the needed electrical testing qualifications. Therefore, if you are in your 40s or younger and have a Type 2 or higher qualification, it will be very advantageous for you to change jobs and increase your salary. The career opportunities for you as an electrical engineer or chief electrical engineer are endless.


How can you build a career in the growing renewable energy industry in Japan?

The above is an introduction to the qualifications that are in increasing demand in the renewable energy industry. In fact, the renewable energy industry is expected to grow even more in the near future, and working in this industry can be very rewarding as you contribute to the realisation of a sustainable future. If you are an electrical engineer, facility engineer, or plant engineer looking for a career opportunity or job change, please feel free to contact one of our consultants using the form below. With a team dedicated to helping you achieve sustainability and connectivity in this renewable industry, Progressive Recruitment can help you accelerate your career as an engineer in Japan.

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