Utilities join to build infrastructure workforce and skills

The energy and utilities sector requires 221,000 new recruits by 2027, in order to provide the essential services its customers seek and the infrastructure the UK needs for its economic growth. Industry leaders have come together, as the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, to build and launch a Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy for the sector.
Nick Ellins, chief executive of Energy & Utility Skills, who will manage the Strategy on behalf of the energy and utilities industry, said, “The National Infrastructure Plan is now widely recognised as forming the backbone of industrial strategy, and more than half (56%) of that plan is required to be delivered by the power, water, gas, wastewater and waste management industries. To date the accompanying infrastructure skills strategy has not explicitly recognised this critical contribution or done enough to ensure that the businesses involved have the right environment to ensure a sustainable and talented workforce exists.
“The Skills Partnership now wishes to engage the whole industry in tackling the issues uncovered and work with central and devolved government, regulators and key interest groups to build initiatives that can address the skills challenge. By working together we can ensure a highly skilled, safe and productive workforce that ultimately invests directly back into society and our communities.”
Tony Cocker, Chief Executive of E.On UK and chair of the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, said: “We face an ageing workforce, increasing competition for talent with unemployment reaching its lowest recorded levels and a lack of proficient skills leading to over a third of vacancies being hard-to-fill. Therefore, as a partnership we seek to be the catalyst for change, sharing an ambition to achieve a more sustainable future.
“It is key that businesses across our sector work together to raise the profile of the issues and recommendations outlined in the strategy and, ultimately, encourage and support more people, whatever their background, into training and long-term career opportunities in the energy and utilities industry.”
Paul Taylor, chief executive of FCC Environment, said “Our industry has changed dramatically in a generation, moving away from disposing of waste to recycling valuable materials and generating energy from what is left. This new infrastructure requires new skills as our industry forges ahead with ever more innovative ways of harnessing the value in waste. Combining the upskilling of our existing workforce and bringing in new talent is vital to our success.”
The Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership has  a commitment from 20 utility-based businesses to a new 12-month pilot programme that seeks to encourage people into industry careers and develop a significant future sector talent pool.

The Talent Source Network aims to help employers access hard-to-reach and diverse individuals as well as encourage professionals who are looking for new opportunities or to retrain. Service leavers and those with transferable skills from adjacent sectors such as oil and gas will find the utility environment a natural home and are already a target audience of the pilot programme.

To find out more visit www.talentsourcenetwork.co.uk