27 Utilities Companies Pledge to Skills Accord

12 October 2016

Launched at the House of Lords on Tuesday 11 October 2016, at an event hosted by Lord Aberdare, the Skills Accord is a new way of advancing the energy and utilities sector and their supply chain to generate the required workforce capacity and capability.

Amey, National Grid, SSE, Thames Water, and UK Power Networks, along with 22 key supply chain companies have pledged their commitment to a new and innovative Skills Accord.

The Skills Accord is one part of the sector’s new approach to strategic workforce renewal and will ensure market contractors remain competitive whilst embedding relevant skills development in their organisations through their commitment to an annual contribution to the sector’s overall training target of 5% of the workforce being enrolled on formalised training, and encouraging the same through their supply chain.

Jan Ward, Chair of the Energy & Utility Skills Group, congratulated the 27 companies who pledged their commitment to a sustained investment in skills:

“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.”

During the event, Keith Waller, Senior Advisor at the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, part of the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, commended members of the Energy & Utility Skills Group:

“One of the key challenges stated in the 2015 National Infrastructure Plan for Skills was how to incentivise skills investment through procurement. This requires innovative approaches to encourage the retraining and up-skilling of the workforce to meet future skills demands.

“The fact that employers within the energy and utilities sector were already working towards this remit in conjunction with Energy & Utility Skills through the management of the Procurement Skills Accord Project is very much welcomed.”

Nick Ellins, Chief Executive of Energy & Utility Skills, provided guests with some background to the Skills Accord:

“The Industrial Partnership Council of utility sector Chief Executives originally set the Skills Accord project as a priority, so that procurement competitions can help to enhance skills development through the supply chain.

Five asset owning companies have driven the development of the Skills Accord as a pilot initiative over the last 12 months, supported by a further 22 supply chain companies, to address the sector’s workforce challenge.

With one fifth of the energy and utilities sector’s skilled workers approaching retirement age, 36% of vacancies proving hard to fill in the sector (higher than any other UK sector), and 14% of all employers reporting skills gaps amongst their existing workforce, it is extremely apparent to us that we need to take action.

“All of the participating utility companies have pledged to embed the five commitments that make up the Skills Accord into their business, and also to undertake an annual review of performance to calculate their contribution to an overall sector training target of 5%. Eligible training must be for a technical, design, or operational role with a duration of greater than 3 months, and must contribute directly to the development of skills or capability to perform the role.”

Energy & Utility Skills will be encouraging more asset owner partners to sign up to the Skills Accord and bring their supply chain on board.  The energy and utilities sector is now poised to deliver its commitment to skills through the supply chain for many years to come – leading to a future sustainable workforce.

Visit the Skills Accord webpage or contact communications@euskills.co.uk for more information