FCC Environment has joined forces with 28 other leading sector employers as part of the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership with a mission to “ensure a safe, skilled and sustainable workforce provides the essential services that our customers seek and meets the UK’s needs from the energy and utilities infrastructure.”
In delivering essential services to 65 million people across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the energy and utilities sector is the largest single contributor to the UK-wide National Infrastructure Delivery Plan (NIPD). It is responsible for 56% of the £425bn investment in over 600 major projects.
In February 2017 the Skills Partnership published the first-ever energy and utilities Workforce Renewal & Skills Strategy . Key among its findings is that 221,000 vacancies will be created across the entire energy and utilities sector during the next decade. This will be made up of 100,000 existing employees who will retire, 90,000 who will move to jobs outside the sector, and another 31,000 that will be required to fill newly-created roles.
The composition of the waste industry’s UK workforce of just over 134,000 is reflective of the wider sector: it is overwhelmingly male, 83%, with just 6% being from Black, Asian or other minority backgrounds. 19% are aged 55 or over and it faces a number of skills challenges. Many of the low grade manual skills in the waste industry will be superseded by higher level skills relating to processing, recycling and energy recovery. Waste has an increasing demand for candidates with qualifications in STEM subjects.
These projections clearly underscore the need for urgent and collective action and the Skills Partnership is working to deliver successful initiatives in three key priority areas:
- Increase sector attractiveness and recruitment:
This includes taking an inclusive approach to ensure the sector appeals to all communities, generations and genders. Working with schools and colleges to attract and retain talent, through the Talent Source Network initiative – a gateway to guidance and jobs in the energy and utilities sector. Talent Source Network is supported by 20 sector employers, including FCC Environment.
- Maximise investment in skills:
This includes supporting the development of effective entry routes to employment, building high quality apprenticeships and the development of sustainable skills investment approaches that can operate across all four UK governments. The Energy and Utilities Independent Assessment Service was established to provide rigorous End-point Assessment for apprentices completing the English Standard. The Skills Accord is another initiative developed by the Skills Partnership that aims to maximise skills investment in the supply chain, with the support of sector employers.
- Taking targeted action to address anticipated skill gaps and shortages:
This includes providing consistent quality of training through the work and enabling workforce mobility and easier skills transfer through the Energy & Utility Skills Register (EUSR) sector passport schemes like the SHEA Waste and the National Water Hygiene Scheme.
Nick Ellins, Chief Executive at Energy & Utility Skills, said: “The Skills Strategy is a proactive collaboration between sector employers of all sizes and key interest groups. We are working closely with governments, policy makers and regulators right across the UK to help bring about resilience in workforce renewal and ensure sustainable skills. We help inform their final strategies and recognise the significant contribution the sector’s workforce can make to increased growth and productivity. Collaboration for the good of the sector underpins the findings of the Skills Strategy and is key to our success in meeting the challenges it has identified.”
Read what senior leaders from businesses and regulators have to say about the Skills Partnership hereBack