Government funding announced to plug energy skills gap

An employer-led partnership set up to secure the future workforce for the UK’s energy and utility industries has been given the green light, thanks to government funding announced on 11 September.

The Energy and Efficiency Industrial Partnership is designed to fill an emerging training and skills void in the gas, water, renewables, waste management and power industries, which is currently stunting growth and hampering recruitment of new talent.

It receives the funding as part of the government’s Employer Ownership of Skills (EOS) pilot and is supported by Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills), Capita Talent Partnerships and Asset Skills, and driven by National Grid – among 67 employers from across the sector. Collectively, they will match the government’s input with an additional contribution, channelled into addressing an ageing workforce, a lack of future-proof skills and youth unemployment.

Expected to deliver around 70,000 learning opportunities, through apprenticeships and traineeships, the Partnership will create more entry routes to jobs, support training and ensure the industry has the right quality, quantity and diversity of new recruits. It will give employers control over the make-up and content of training and employees a clearer view of what training is available, with more flexibility in the ways they choose to develop their skills.

Energy and Efficiency Industrial Partnership chair and National Grid chief executive Steve Holliday, said: “This investment will play a vital role in supporting the future of our energy and utilities industries and marks a watershed in terms of the government’s recognition of them as priority sectors. As well as positively impacting the UK economy, the Partnership will develop an industry-wide view on growth, innovation and sustainability, which will help ensure the future of the UK’s utilities.

“I would like to thank all of those employers and partners involved that have made this Partnership happen.”

An estimated 50 per cent of current employees will have left the sector by 2023, due to its ageing workforce. To plug that gap, 208,000 new people will be required within 10 years and the Partnership plans to put long-term solutions in place to reverse this trend.