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Wales & West Utilities partners in strategy to close 277,000 workforce gap

Posted on: 09/06/2020

Wales & West Utilities is supporting the launch of the 2020-2025 Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy, which aims to deliver Net Zero carbon targets while providing essential services to over 66 million homes across the UK.

The gas emergency and pipeline service for Wales and south west England is one of 30 organisations which are collaborating in The Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership (EUSP) which has today (9 June) launched the strategy.

The labour market demands and skills challenges to meet Net Zero targets require 277,000 people over the next decade and EUSP has come together with a mandate to ensure that all relevant employers have a 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 initial 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 renewed strategy acknowledges that we are operating in changed times. The impact of COVID19, 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 – all of which make the skills challenge very real and urgent.

We welcome this strategy and are delighted to collaborate in delivering on it. It will help make sure our colleagues have the right skills to deliver what our customers want and need. The engineers and apprentices we recruit over the next few years will be at the heart of our work to help communities and the environment across Wales and south west England thrive by delivering reliable, affordable and sustainable energy long into the future.

Graham Edwards, Wales & West Utilities Chief Executive

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.

Nick Ellins, CEO of Energy & Utility Skills

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.