The Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership today launches the 2020-2025 Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy. The sector, central to achieving Net Zero carbon targets and providing essential services to over 66 million homes, is facing labour market demands and skills challenges that will require 277,000 people over the next decade.
A collaboration of 30 major organisations in the sector, known as the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership (EUSP), has come together with a mandate to ensure that all relevant employers have the safe, skilled, diverse and sustainable workforce needed to deliver essential services to the public now, and to meet the fast changing requirements in the future.
The inaugural strategy launched three years ago, had clear strategic priorities enabling the sector to deliver tangible achievements:
- Attracting diverse talent to the sector, Energy & Utilities Jobs has reached over 8 million people and continues to attract over 50% female visitors* to its website.
- Created the sector’s first ever Inclusion Commitment backed by over 40 utility partners
- Increased investment in skills by changing culture through the Procurement Skills Accord with 67 signatory employers participating
- 1500 plus technical apprentices have graduated into critical utility industries
The strategy acknowledges that we are operating in changed times. The impact of COVID-19, Net Zero carbon targets, exiting the European Union, increased competition for skills with other high-profile sectors and the divergent skills policy across the four nations – makes the skills challenge very real and urgent.
The baby boomer generation are all aged 55 and over, indicating that 27% of the workforce will retire in the next decade leaving the sector to recruit or retrain 48% of the current workforce which represents 277,000 vacancies over the next 10 years.
The skills and workforce issues are persistent; however, the sector remains committed to addressing three key strategies:
- Sector attractiveness, recruitment and workforce diversity
- Maximising investment in skills
- Targeted action – to address anticipated skills gaps and shortages
Nick Ellins, CEO of Energy & Utility Skills comments:
“The Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy continues to provide a framework that everyone in the utility sector can work within and aims to secure successful UK wide skills provision for the next five years. By working together through this voluntary alliance, the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership have led the way and they now call on the whole industry to help in tackling the issues set out, and to work with central and devolved governments, regulators and key interest groups to continue building these initiatives and meet 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.”
Michael Lewis, E.ON UK Chief Executive and Chair of the Partnership says,
“This new strategy seeks to ensure workforce resilience by calling on all the policy makers, regulators, unions, utilities, supply chain partners and major interest groups to unite. As much as the workforce and skills challenge has increased for our sector, our very purpose has become pin sharp since events such as the environmental emergency and the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we have a once in a generation opportunity to work together and show that choosing to take on a career in our industries is about choosing to support our communities and our planet in finding sustainable energy, waste and water solutions; it is about being in the vanguard of tackling the environmental crisis; it is about meeting those vital zero carbon targets and it is about underpinning the UK economy and people with infrastructure and essential services as critical workers.”
Rachel Fletcher, Ofwat Chief Executive,
“The challenges we now face require the sector to pay even more attention to securing the long-term skills it will need to transition to changing customer and environmental needs. That’s why we welcome this new Energy and Utilities Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy and its work to build human capital through the choices companies and their supply chain partners make on apprenticeships, training and employment. Ensuring a workforce has the right skills is vital to delivering a resilient water sector.”
The strategy, actions and asks are clear, as the sector moves forward to deliver the next five years and close the persistent skills gap.
You can download the full strategy document here.