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Watt skills shortage? Report highlights skills needs of energy sector

Published: 27 March 2015 - Marianne Evans
The UK’s energy sector needs to take action to address skills shortages and work together to secure a bright future, a new report finds. 
 
“Skills and performance challenges in the energy sector”, published by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) highlights the scale of the challenge facing the energy sector, where the total number of jobs is forecast to grow by 15.5% by 2022.
 
The UKCES Employer Skills Survey 2013 shows 31% of sector employers with a vacancy already struggle to recruit workers with the right skills.  And with more than a third of the existing workforce set to retire within the next ten years, employers must act now to ensure they attract new talent into the sector.  In addition, some employers report that young people do not view the sector as providing an attractive career option.
 
The report notes that: “There is a strong commitment to training and development across the sector – with 75% of employers reporting they offer on and/or off the job training.  However, an increasingly mobile workforce, often working on short-term contracts, has meant that some employers are reluctant to invest sufficiently in formal training and up-skilling of some members of the workforce."
 
Lesley Giles, research director at UKCES said, “We are all dependant on the energy sector to fuel our everyday lives.  It is a growth sector which adds £25bn to the economy each year, but needs to take steps to mitigate the risk presented by skills shortages and a competitive global market place.”
 
“By working collaboratively, employers within the energy sector can find new and innovative ways to tackle these problems and spread the burden across the entire sector - allowing them to better attract, train and retain skilled workers.  The Energy and Efficiency Industrial Partnership (EEIP) is a useful model for supporting such collaboration.”
 
Neil Robertson, chief executive, Energy and Utility Skills Group said: “The energy and utility sector offers the chance to build a career in an industry at the very heart of our economy and society.  With an infrastructure pipeline for the energy sector of more than £274bn in the period leading up to 2021, candidates will have a wide range of choices.
 
“Employers in the Energy & Efficiency Industrial Partnership are developing exciting new career pathways.  Young people on engineering apprenticeship schemes, for example, can expect a salary in the region of £23,500 rising to £30,000 after two years, plus attractive benefits.
 
“Careers in this sector provide diverse working environments, competitive salaries, opportunities for progression, secure long term employment and experience of cutting edge innovation.”


 
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