Water Industry Leaders Collaborate to Promote Professional Excellence

New blue card
  • The Institute of Water and Energy & Utility Skills have launched a new strategic partnership to promote competence, skills and career development for the whole water industry, from trainee through to senior leadership.
  • Together, the partners will also give new entrants the best possible start in the water industry.

The Institute of Water and Energy & Utility Skills have launched a partnership that reflects their shared values and strategic aims. They will work proactively together to attract talent, promote professional excellence, build pride in the industry and ensure a sustainable and resilient workforce.

The collaboration puts into action key recommendations from the first-ever Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy, published in February.

The Skills Strategy, for the water, gas, power and waste management industries, made the case clear for acting together now, to ensure a safe, competent and sustainable workforce.

Nick Ellins, Chief Executive of Energy & Utility Skills and twice a former President of the Institute of Water, said: “This partnership aims to build sector resilience in the workforce, now and in the future. Improving our sector attraction and professional proficiency is incumbent on us all in water - policy makers, regulators, the regulated, delivery partners and the supply chain.

“The Institute of Water were one of the first to answer that call for active collaboration and I am delighted to have their guidance and expertise as the only professional body solely dedicated to the careers of water professionals. This new partnership will actively promote water careers and help to make excellence the standard. We extend a warm welcome to other key water industry bodies to partner with us.”

Lynn Cooper, Chief Executive of the Institute of Water, stated: “Career development is at the heart of everything the Institute of Water offers. Our vision is for the UK water sector to be served by the best people and we offer opportunities for all of our members to develop their careers through learning, recognition, networking and professional excellence.

“In launching this new partnership with Energy & Utility Skills, we will take forward our commitment to industry people, implement the shared workforce renewal & skills strategy and further increase the chances of achieving our vision.”

This partnership is the latest major development in the sector, following a series of initiatives to promote competence, health and safety within the water sector:

·        Scottish Water and Severn Trent Water recently mandated the National Water Hygiene training and accreditation scheme across their businesses – The Blue Card ­– ensures all those working with or around the public water supply, understand their responsibilities and know how to manage core risks.

·        The National Water Hygiene Scheme has been updated and refreshed by a steering group of water companies and the drinking water quality regulator.

·        New and improved ‘Blue Cards’ have been created and will be launched in 2017.

·        The full range of utility SHEA (safety, health and environmental awareness) courses are being refreshed and enhanced throughout 2017, in close partnership with the key Water UK network groups and the wider industry

·        The next phase of the UK-wide Competent Operator Scheme is in build throughout 2017    

·        New water apprenticeship ‘Trailblazer’ routes have been created to ensure that professional standards meet the latest requirements, and companies operating under the new Apprenticeship Levy can engage with the Westminster funding system.  

More details on this partnership will be announced around the impending Institute of Water National Conference and the accompanying Institute’s President’s Dinner and Awards, which will be held in Manchester Cathedral on 14 June. The entire water sector – policy makers, regulators, regulated and supply chain – will gather to crown the winners of a series of accolades. The awards will include recognition for Skills Employer of the Year and Skills Champion of the Year, jointly sponsored and supported by Energy & Utility Skills and the accreditation body CABWI.  

Two members of Energy & Utility Skills’ water management team will be among the award presenters:   Client Manager Denise McGlynn and Solutions Manager Lucy Ritchie. All water professionals within Energy & Utility Skills, including Denise, Lucy and the Chief Executive Nick Ellins, are Blue Card holders, having completed their National Water Hygiene Scheme training.

Sector-appropriate induction training will be another feature of the new Institute of Water and Energy & Utility Skills partnership, with work already underway to bring together an e-learning course for all those in the water industry. Course graduates will have the opportunity to become part of the Institute of Water community and will be added to the Energy & Utility Skills Register, which will enable employers to verify the skills of their workforce through a trusted source. 

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