Yorkshire Water has joined energy and utilities businesses from across the UK to launch a strategy aimed at filling the sector’s future skills gap.
The energy and utilities sector needs 221,000 new recruits by 2027, in order to provide the essential services customers seek and the infrastructure the UK needs for economic growth.
In response to this jobs challenge, industry leaders have come together to form the Energy and Utilities Skills Partnership, with a mission to launch the first ever joint Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy for the sector.
Richard Flint, chief executive of Yorkshire Water, which is part of the partnership, said: “Due to an ageing workforce there is a risk of a skills gap occurring in the utilities sector and so to plug this gap there will be some fantastic opportunities opening up in this sector.
“At Yorkshire Water, we are taking action to expand our apprenticeship programme and create new highly skilled roles that will attract the next generation of talented people to work for us. There really is a diverse range of opportunities in engineering, science, environmental roles and IT to just name a few of the sectors we span across.”
Yorkshire Water has an apprenticeship programme committed to hiring 160 young people by 2020.
Tony Cocker, chair of the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, said: “Our sector touches the lives of almost everyone in the UK each day, providing essential services for our homes and businesses. In order to deliver and continually develop these services, we need a skilled and sustainable workforce that can help businesses supply the UK’s power, fresh drinking water, safe sanitation, recycling and much more.
“We face an ageing workforce, increasing competition for talent with unemployment reaching its lowest recorded levels and a lack of proficient skills leading to over a third of vacancies being hard-to-fill. Therefore, as a partnership we seek to be the catalyst for change, sharing an ambition to achieve a more sustainable future.”
The Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership has already started to take action – including a commitment from 20 utility-based businesses to a new 12-month pilot programme that seeks to encourage people into industry careers and develop a significant future sector talent pool.