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Thu January 20 2022

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Contractors commit to utilities training drive

9 Dec 16 Companies in the utilities sector have committed to a major programme of staff training in a bid to combat skills shortages.

The Skills Accord for Energy & Utilities was formally launched at a House of Lords reception
The Skills Accord for Energy & Utilities was formally launched at a House of Lords reception

Clients and contractors from across the industry have signed the Skills Accord for Energy & Utilities, a voluntary, cross-industry partnership designed to address the skills gaps.

With a fifth of the sector’s skilled workers approaching retirement age, 36% of vacancies proving hard to fill, and 14% of all employers reporting skills gaps within their existing workforces, the Skills Accord is the sector's solution to drive industry training.

Administered by Energy & Utility (EU) Skills, the agreement encourages its signatories to put an increased proportion of their employees through formal structured development, either in specific skills that the sector currently requires or for which there is a demonstrable future requirement.

Lead partners in the scheme are Amey, National Grid, SSE, Thames Water and UK Power Networks.

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The Skills Accord also has 22 other signatories: ABB, Amec Foster Wheeler, Balfour Beatty, Clancy Group, Complete Asset Life Mgt, Costain, GE Power, IWJS, Kier Utilities, Laing O’Rourke, Lanes Group, McNicholas, Morgan Sindall, Morrison Utility Services, Murphy, NWH Treatment, Peter Duffy, RJ McLeod, Sapphire Utility Solutions, Siemens, Skanska and T&K Gallagher.

The signatories have agreed to five pledges: a formal programme of learning; encourage suppliers to sign up; embed the Accord's principles into new tenders and contracts; a commitment to continuous improvement; and monitor and publish company success rate, as overseen by an external auditor.

Jan Ward, chair of the Energy & Utility Skills Group, said: “This Skills Accord is one of the key priorities of the new sector partnership now underway, and I applaud these companies for testing the art of the possible and by collaborating with each other to recruit and train skilled workers, increase mobility and efficiency, widen the available talent pool and consequently bring about strategic workforce renewal.”

Kevin Fowlie, Amey's managing director for utilities, added: “We have been focused at Amey over the last few years on recruiting graduates and apprentices to address the well-known skills shortages and recruitment challenges our sector faces, but by collaborating with other organisations we have an even better chance of securing the talent and skills that we all need. We are proud to be one of the companies leading this initiative.”

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