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UK Power Networks unites with energy and utilities industry to promote skills

UK Power Networks has united with 26 energy and utility companies to promote skills that support essential national infrastructure.

From Press releases - 9 February 2017 12:00 AM

Industry leaders from energy, gas and water businesses have come together to launch the first joint Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy for the sector through the Energy and Skills Partnership.
The energy and utilities sector requires 221,000 new recruits by 2027, to provide the essential services and infrastructure the UK needs for economic growth.

The strategy was created to ensure the UK’s vital energy and utilities sector retains a safe, skilled, resilient and sustainable workforce.  It sets out challenges, initiatives and the ambitions the partnership shares through to 2020. 

Chris Degg, Human Resources Director at UK Power Networks, said: “UK Power Networks is delighted to be involved with and support the sector’s workforce renewal and skills strategy.

“Improving the attractiveness of the sector for new recruits, maximising return on investment in skills and addressing the future skill gaps on account of an ageing workforce are strategic priorities for UK Power Networks as well as the sector.  This is a great opportunity not only to collaborate, learn from each other and apply best practice but also to encourage, welcome and develop talented individuals from a wide variety of diverse backgrounds.”

Nick Ellins, the 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 Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership has come together to develop the first-ever workforce renewal and skills strategy, and construct a solid foundation for sector-wide collaboration.  This document begins the discussion, providing a framework that seeks to secure successful UK-wide skills provision through to 2020.
“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: “Our sector touches the lives of almost everyone in the UK each day, providing essential services for our homes and businesses. In order to deliver and continually develop these services, we need a skilled and sustainable workforce that can help businesses supply the UK’s power, fresh drinking water, safe sanitation, recycling and much more.
“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.” 
The Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership has already started to take action – including 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