Overhead Linesworkers to Remain on Shortage Occupation

Overhead Linesworkers to Remain on Shortage Occupation List

In December 2014, the Energy & Utility Skills Group submitted a response to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC)’s call for evidence relating to the position of Overhead Linesworkers on the Skills Shortage Occupation List (SOL).

Overhead Linesworkers to Remain on Shortage Occupation List

Our response, on behalf of the UK’s Power Transmission and Distribution industry (asset owners and contractors) provided an industry-wide perspective, accompanying and supporting a number of individual responses from across the industry.

In fact, the overall level of engagement with the Call for Evidence this year was far higher than in previous years, and we received input from a significantly broader range of organisations, demonstrating the importance of this issue to employers.

Our position – after discussion with employers – was that although the occupation is skilled below the Level 6 criteria usually applied to the SOL, a substantial degree of experience is required to operate safely in these roles – experience which is not represented when defining only by qualification level. We stated that the occupation should remain on the SOL due to the extent and impact of current shortages, and that the existing distinction by High/ Low Voltage was arbitrary and unhelpful.

On the 25th February 2015, the MAC published their findings and recommendations, which in brief, are as follows:

  • Overhead Linesworkers are not skilled to the level usually found on the SOL.
  • However, due to their legacy status, the shortages currently in evidence, and the potential implications of these shortages, the MAC recommend their continued inclusion on the SOL.
  • They recommend that the entire job title of overhead linesworkers be restored to the shortage occupation list, regardless of the voltage level at which they work.
  • They also recommend the application of a salary threshold of £32,000 to the job title, to ensure that all applicants within the job title will be at, or equivalent to, the Linesman Erector 2 level that the electricity transmission and distribution industry confirm are being sought.

The full report can be accessed by clicking here.