The UK energy industry is celebrating following the launch of the process to develop a unique, pioneering Apprenticeship. The Power Engineering Degree Apprenticeship, backed by a wide range of employers, including National Grid, UK Power Networks, The Engineering Council and Coventry University, brings together the best of higher and vocational education, with Apprentices ultimately achieving a full bachelors or masters degree.
The Power Engineering Degree Apprenticeship will allow energy employers to attract the best new talent, who are keen to earn a degree in a work-based environment without having to take out any student loans as the programme is co-funded by the employer and Government. It also provides an opportunity for employers to work collaboratively with universities to form degree programmes that meet their exact skills requirements.
The work all these employers, universities and professional bodies are doing has been welcomed by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).
Skills Minister, Nick Boles, said:
“I am delighted that the energy industry is designing a new top quality degree apprenticeship in power engineering.
“Giving employers the power to design apprenticeships means that apprentices graduate with the skills they for the job they want and businesses get the talent they need to grow.”
All employers involved are part of the Energy & Efficiency Industrial Partnership (The Partnership), which aims to strengthen the UK’s energy and utility workforce by creating around 20,000 new learning opportunities including apprenticeships and traineeships. The Partnership funds increased training to ensure the industry has the right quantity, quality and diversity of new recruits, and brings local communities closer to their energy and utility providers.
Steve Holliday, Energy and Efficiency Industrial Partnership Chair and National Grid Chief Executive, said:
“We know that employer-led training is key to plugging the skills gap and helping to diversify the energy and utilities workforce. It’s great to see the sector rising to the recruitment challenge, with pioneering programmes already driving The Partnership forward.”
In addition, we’ve also recently seen two new Trailblazer Apprenticeship standards approved. Gas Network Craftsperson Level 3 and Gas Team Leader Level 2, will see Apprentices trained to safely build, maintain and repair the UK’s gas network infrastructure to provide a reliable supply of gas to domestic, commercial and industrial users. These standards are being supported by a number of employers across the Gas Sector including National Grid Gas plc, AMEY, Northern Gas Networks, Morrison Utility Service and Scotia Gas.
This is accompanied by the announcement of expression of interest for further Trailblazer development in Protection, Installation & Commissioning Technician, Gas Service Engineer Level 3 and Smart Meter Installation (Dual Fuel) Level 2 were approved.
Tony Cohen, Head of Network Operations, UK Power Networks, commented:
“I believe this to be an excellent initiative which will enable Apprentices to progress through to a degree in their chosen field with stepping stones along the way. This means that the Apprentice will be able to gain experience as a Technician Engineer once they gain their HNC/D. I and UK Power Networks are fully supportive.”
Neil Robertson, Chief Executive of EU Skills and the National Skills Academy for Power, said:
“It’s fantastic to see this bold, ground-breaking degree apprenticeship announced. We value the combination of academic and experiential/technical learning which has produced great leaders in our sector such as Steve Johnson, CEO of Electricity North West. A huge amount of planning, innovation and thought has gone into preparing for it and I am confident it will provide a massive boost in our quest for a solution to the skills gap.
“The quality of these programmes is assured by the industry’s independent assessment service, an innovative new development which enables employers to maintain and monitor the quality of training and development outcomes for all of their workforce at every stage of their career.”
The Partnership is the largest initiative within the Government’s flagship Employer Ownership of Skills pilot, which offers investment to develop sector workforces. The scheme empowers employers by giving them flexibility in how publicly funded training is created and delivered.
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Notes to editors:
- Employers backing the Power Engineering degree apprenticeship are: Amey, National Grid, UK Power Networks, E.ON ,Freedom, Electricity North West, SSE, Siemens, Alstom, Scottish Power, Northern Powergrid, Energy & Utility Skills, The Engineering Council, Coventry University
- The Energy & Efficiency Industrial Partnership is the biggest Government skills contract of its type and is supported by Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills) and the National Skills Academy for Power (the Skills Academy). For more information about the Partnership, and the new Trailblazer Apprenticeships, please visit energyandefficiencypartnership.co.uk
- Energy & Utility Skills is an employer-led membership organisation that helps ensure the gas, power, waste management and water industries have the skills they need – now and in the future. Through a range of products and services we help employers attract new talent, develop their workforces, and assure a high level of competence across their businesses. For more information about EU Skills, please visit euskills.co.uk
- The National Skills Academy for Power sits at the heart of the Power Sector, driving excellence in skills and bringing together employers, skills organisations and stakeholders. For more information about the Skills Academy, please visit power.nsacademy.co.uk