Companies in the utilities sector have made a commitment to a major programme of staff training in an attempt to fight the skills shortage.
Contractors and clients throughout the industry have signed the Skills Accord for Energy & Utilities, a voluntary, cross-industry partnership intended to address the skills gaps.
With a fifth of the sector’s skilled workers approaching retirement age, 36% of vacancies are proving difficut to fill, while 14% of all employers reporting skills gaps within their existing workforces, the Skills Accord is the sector’s solution to drive industry training.
The agreement, administered by Energy & Utility (EU) Skills, encourages its signatories to put a greater proportion of their employees through formal structured development, either in specific skills that the sector currently requires or for which there is a demonstrable future requirement.
The scheme’s lead partners SSE, National Grid and Amey, along with Thames Water and UK Power Networks.
The Skills Accord also has 22 other signatories: ABB, Amec Foster Wheeler, Balfour Beatty, Clancy Group, Complete Asset
Life Mgt, Costain, GE Power, IWJS, Kier Utilities, Laing O’Rourke, Lanes Group, McNicholas, Morgan Sindall, Morrison Utility Services, Murphy, NWH Treatment, Peter Duffy, RJ McLeod, Sapphire Utility Solutions, Siemens, Skanska and T&K Gallagher.
The signatories have agreed to five pledges: a formal programme of learning; encourage suppliers to sign up; embed the Accord’s principles into new tenders and contracts; a commitment to continuous improvement; and monitor and publish company success rate, as overseen by an external auditor.
Chair of the Energy & Utility Skills Group, Jan Ward, commented: “This Skills Accord is one of the key priorities of the new sector partnership now underway, and I applaud these companies for testing the art of the possible and by collaborating with each other to recruit and train skilled workers, increase mobility and efficiency, widen the available talent pool and consequently bring about strategic workforce renewal.”