Employers call for nationwide skills policy

Utility employers have called on policy makers across the country to set out a consistent skills policy.

In a White Paper published last week, Transnational research white paper: unified skills policy for a truly United Kingdom, leading employers from the water, energy and waste management industries argued a joined up policy across the four nations would cut costs and red tape, and better position the sectors to address existing skills challenges.

Among the recommendations in the paper (a collaboration between Energy & Utility Skills and the Energy & Utilities Independent Assessment Service), are alignment and compatibility of processes governing UK apprenticeships and using National Occupational Standards (or equivalent) to ensure parity between qualifications and training programmes. It builds on recommendations in Energy & Utility Skills’ 2017 Workforce Renewal & Skills Strategy and sets out the findings of research into the challenges transnational employers face.

Nick Ellins, chief executive of Energy & Utility Skills, said: “Businesses in our sector and their delivery partners increasingly operate for domestic and retail customers across the UK. Brexit will exacerbate existing tensions within a tightening UK labour market, increasing pressure on the domestic workforce and potentially leading to delayed energy and utility projects and increased costs. It is all the more important that skills policy is aligned across all four UK nations to achieve UK-wide workforce agility and resilience.”