The Energy & Utility Skills Group is proud to have helped make history, after the very first apprentice cohort, following the new English employer designed Apprenticeship Standard, graduated at a ceremony at the House of Commons on Monday 11 July.
The fifteen apprentices, employed by our member UK Power Networks, are the first to successfully complete one of the new trailblazer Apprenticeships, designed by top employers to meet the needs of industry. The trailblazer programme forms a key part of the Government’s reform of Apprenticeships to ensure businesses get the skills they need to succeed.
The apprentices will now put their 18-month Power Network Craftsperson Standard training programme to good use, having been trained as ‘jointers’, connecting and repairing underground electricity cables to keep the lights on across London, the South East and East Anglia. Their role will include ensuring local electricity networks are ready for the roll out of smart meters by electricity suppliers.
Following the success of the Apprenticeship Standard, it was also announced at today’s event that employers in the sector have committed to recruiting over 4,000 apprentices this year.
Basil Scarsella, Chief Executive Officer of UK Power Networks said: “I’m delighted our apprentices’ hard work has paid off. Their success really demonstrates the business case for offering Apprenticeships. Investing in Standards to develop sector specific qualifications makes a huge difference to employers as the qualifications are relevant to industry and specific to employer needs.
“This new Standard and the successful completion by fifteen of our team will enable our business to progress with a more qualified, highly trained and efficient workforce. I am extremely proud of their achievements.”
The Standard was developed by twelve Power sector employers, working collaboratively with Energy & Utility Skills Limited - who ensured the rigorous end-point assessments to determine workforce competence levels - based on tried, tested and trusted methods within a safety sensitive industry.
Tony Cocker, E.ON’s Chief Executive & Chair of the energy and utilities Industrial Partnership, said: “The Apprenticeship Standards which are underpinning the success of these fifteen rising stars, have been built on tried, tested and trusted methods. We now have individuals who can prove they have not only attained the required level of knowledge through their Apprenticeship, but also demonstrate the skills and behaviours needed to exist and succeed within the utility industry.”
Nick Ellins, Chief Executive of the Energy & Utility Skills Group said “Over the course of the last two years trailblazer groups from across the energy and utility sector have united to develop ten new Apprenticeship Standards from level two to obtaining a degree. Energy & Utility Skills are working with an impressive 92 organisations, plus seven universities, on our employer-led trailblazer groups to create and agree the sector’s standard and assessment plans.”
Apprenticeships available in 1,500 job roles, in more than 170 industries, develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce and improve productivity.
Nadhim Zahawi, MP and apprenticeships adviser to the Prime Minister, said “It is tremendously exciting for me to host this ground-breaking event, to celebrate the first apprentice graduates on a new Standard.
“Trailblazers have a massive bearing on the future of Apprenticeships, setting out the exact skills, attributes and talents that employers need as well as stamping the mark of quality indelibly on each Apprenticeship.
“I can’t congratulate these fifteen apprentices enough for their dedication to their profession and succeeding in achieving their Apprenticeships.”
The Energy & Utility Skills Group is pleased to announce Jan Ward CBE as their new Chair, succeeding Dr Jack Carnell when he stands down in July after completing a full tenure of seven years.
It is an energising time to join the Energy & Utility Skills Group; a membership-led organisation with a clear focus on the commercial delivery of support services across the Power, Gas, Waste Management, Water, and wider infrastructure sectors.
Nick Ellins, Chief Executive, says: “It is with great pleasure that we welcome Jan Ward to the Energy & Utility Skills team. It is a pivotal time to join the sector. We are engaged across the UK governments, regulators and key industry audiences to secure better understanding of the vital role of a sustainable sector workforce in delivering the needs of society and the economy. Supported by the major utilities, their delivery partners and supply chain, we will be collectively working to attract people to fulfilling careers in our industries, develop their abilities and assure their competence.
I am personally grateful for the seven years Jack Carnell has dedicated to our organisation and the whole sector. He has provided constant support and guidance across the entire business, and dedicated his time to nurturing the people and developing their capabilities.”
Energy & Utility Skills Group Board Member, and Chair of the Nominations committee, Simon Catford, FCIPD, DipSM, HR and Regulatory Director at Viridor, also commented on the new appointment: “Jan brings with her a wealth of experience and a broad understanding from working within SME and major employer arenas. Her combined strong commercial acumen and expertise from the national and international stages, all of which have skills mobility issues, will help strengthen our strategic vision and ability to lead an organisation operating in the changing skills agenda.”
As a passionate communicator and ambassador, and a mechanical engineer by trade, Jan also has a wealth of proven experience of working with a wide variety of stakeholders and partners, including 15 years acting in an advisory capacity to various UK government departments on business issues.
Jan is a truly inspiring role model. After leaving school with no qualifications, she started several jobs to support raising her baby son. She soon realised the importance of obtaining the qualifications she had been on course to achieve at school and spent her evenings on correspondence courses. Jan qualified with a BSC in Engineering in 1984.
She is founder and CEO of Corrotherm International, supplying high-grade metals to the oil, gas and desalination markets. Amongst an array of recognitions, Jan was awarded a CBE for services to business, achieved IOD Global Director of the year and was named one of the Manufacturer Top 100 role models.
Jan is already a strong advocate of the “attract, develop and assure” ethos behind Energy & Utility Skills. Her own business, Corrotherm, has retained over 135 years of experience from its employees and in the 22 years of her being CEO she is very proud that no one has ever resigned.
Speaking about her appointment, Jan says “I am bursting with enthusiasm. One of my personal focuses as Chair of the Energy & Utility Skills Group will be working with our members and partners to change the perception of the sector. The skills agenda is particularly important to me personally. Qualifications have had a big impact on my life and this post will give me the chance to make a difference to other people’s lives in the same positive way. Together we will demonstrate the vast range of opportunities on offer to the young people of today.”
83% of employers who employ Apprentices rely on their Apprenticeships programme to provide the skilled workers they need for the future.
By challenging perceptions and introducing fresh ideas about the sector, Think Power aims to encourage more people into the Power Sector.
The National Skills Academy for Power is a Membership organisation that delivers initiatives, products and services identified as essential by our Member employers to the long-term sustainability and attractiveness of the sector.