The Energy Act
The Energy Act completed its progress through parliament in October. Measures in the Act that will impact on sector workforce and skills include establishing the Future Systems Operator, easing the planning process for onshore wind farms, and powers to drive forward the smart meter rollout and to incentivise heat pump uptake. In November, the Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill was introduced to parliament and its measures will include a requirement for annual oil and gas licensing rounds to continue to support UK production.
From the Party Conferences
Some key messages from the autumn party conference season that will impact on sector workforce and skills on include Labour’s proposals for 50% of an employer’s apprenticeship levy funds to be used to support wider skills and training, the establishment of Skills England as an oversight body, and a pledge to halt the defunding of older Level 3 qualifications. The Prime Minister announced revisions of the Net Zero milestones including changes to the phasing out of internal combustion engines and gas boilers, and the announcement of the Advanced British Standard.
Policy in the Devolved Administrations
The Scottish administration is yet to formally outline its plans in response to the Independent Review of the Skills Delivery Landscape that was published in the summer. The review makes recommendations for substantial changes and Energy & Utility Skills is focussing on how National Occupational Standards development and review can continue to support the sectors needs during the implementation of the review.
In October, Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for the Economy in Wales updated the administration on the Net Zero Skills Action Plan, launched earlier in the year, and announced a further consultation on Net Zero Sector Skills. The consultation is open until the end of the year and Energy & Utility Skills will support responses.
Water Company Investment and Workforce Research
Water companies in England submitted their five-year business plans to Ofwat in October. Between them the plans indicate a 63% increase in expenditure over the previous five-year plans, to over £95bn, with projections on 30,000 additional job roles.
Energy & Utility Skills is working closely with the water companies on their skills needs in order to inform the forthcoming Green Jobs Delivery Group Net Zero and Nature Workforce Action Plan.