Energy and utility firms team up to tackle skills gap

Energy, water and utility companies have come together to help address the skills gap in the sector. A total of 27 firms, including E.ON, SSE, Northern Powergrid, Anglian Water, Thames […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Energy, water and utility companies have come together to help address the skills gap in the sector.

A total of 27 firms, including E.ON, SSE, Northern Powergrid, Anglian Water, Thames Water, Siemens and National Grid, have launched the first-ever ‘Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy’.

It is part of the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, which is owned and led by employers across the energy and utilities sector.

The strategy has been created to ensure the UK’s vital energy and utilities sector retains a safe, skilled, resilient and sustainable workforce.

It aims to engage the whole industry in tackling the issues and working with central and devolved government, regulators and key interest groups to build initiatives that can address the skills challenge.

Immediate action includes a commitment to a new 12-month Talent Source Network pilot programme that seeks to encourage people into industry careers and develop a future sector talent pool.

Around 20% of the sector’s workforce is expected to retire within 10 years, requiring 221,000 new recruits to be secured during the same period.

Chair Dr Tony Cocker said: “We face an ageing workforce, intense competition for many of our core skills, growing complexity within roles, a rapidly changing technology environment, a need for more diversity of skills and the people who perform them, rising labour costs and ongoing difficulties in attracting sufficient new and young people.

“As such an important enabler of the economy and society, we recognise there is a need for collective action and we must all face up to this strategic workforce renewal and skills challenge. I do mean all: policymakers, regulators, regulated businesses and the vital delivery partners and suppliers. Individual businesses cannot be left alone to manage the risks of sector resilience alone.”

ScottishPower Foundation is offering a share of £700,000 to undergraduates wanting to progress in the energy and environment industry.