Workforce Skills Strategy celebrates successful first year

The Workforce Renewal & Skills Strategy celebrated its first anniversary on Friday, as well as an inaugural year of achievement which Energy & Utility Skills said including influencing policy, increasing skills investment and taking targeted action to address skills shortages.

In policy terms, Energy & Utility Skills reported the strategy’s messages can be seen among other things in Ofwat’s Resilience in the round pubtlication and the government’s Industrial Strategy. Initiatives have included:

  • The Energy & Utilities Independent Assessment Service, which gives sector apprentices the opportunity to demonstrate competence to work in safety-critical industries. Over 2,000 apprentices are currently undertaking an apprenticeship within energy and utilities organisations. A further 220 have already passed through the EUIAS end-point assessment service and taken up employment in the sector. Another milestone was passed last week when four Severn Trent Water apprentices became the first to qualify under the Level 3 Water Process Technician Standard in England.

  • The Skills Accord initiative, which promotes structured and sustained investment in the technical and operational skills the sector needs most, through commitments in procurement practices.

  • Through Talent Source Network, 20 of the Skills Partnership employers (a collaboration of 29 leading sector employers which formed in summer 2016) are offering hundreds of vacancies, including apprenticeships on a shared online platform.

Chief executive of Energy & Utility Skills, Nick Ellins (pictured), said: “We are proud of the progress that the Skills Partnership has made within the first year, but we are not content to rest on our laurels. More political and policy focus should be given to sectors like ours that contribute most to the UK’s productivity and economy… It is vital that this sector, which is of strategic importance to national productivity, receives the investment it needs to address the challenges it faces. This will stimulate good outcomes for our customers, colleagues, companies and communities, so it can only be good for the UK economy.”