First anniversary of skills strategy

Heidi Mottram, chief executive of Northumbrian Water.
Heidi Mottram, chief executive of Northumbrian Water.

Northern Gas Networks, Northern Powergrid and Northumbrian Water are among UK firms that have benefitted from an initiative that has stimulated investment in skills.

The Energy & Utilities Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy, which marked its first anniversary on Friday, has also helped address skill shortages and drive digital collaboration to appeal to new audiences.

It was developed by the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, a collaboration of 29 sector employers formed in 2016.

Heidi Mottram, Northumbrian Water Group chief executive, said: “Just as we always aim to deliver unrivalled customer service, we continue to look for new ways to ensure that Northumbrian Water Group is a great place to work, whether that is for existing employees or for new people coming into the business.

“We are continually planning for the future, in terms of delivering the best possible service and ensuring we have the right people in place to continue to do that for years to come. Working together as part of the Skills Strategy means we have even greater opportunities to promote what a fantastic sector it is for building a career.”

Phil Jones, president and chief executive of Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the region’s power network, said: “Since last year, we’ve recruited 68 apprentices and trainee engineers taking our total recruits above 250 over the last five years. The Talent Source Network has also proven an important tool in helping companies source and retain quality candidates in our industry.

“Last year, in addition to filling our own vacancies, we referred more than 200 people to the Network, opening the door for candidates for opportunities with our industry partners and helping to keep skilled people engaged in the industry.

“We see the Skills Strategy as part of the way we will continue to attract and retain a skilled, diverse workforce that can contribute to the region’s growth as part of the Northern Powerhouse.”

Mark Horsley, chief executive of Northern Gas Networks, which is part of the partnership, said: “We’re pleased to be part of the Energy and Utilities Skills Partnership as it marks the first anniversary of the Skills Strategy. At Northern Gas Networks (NGN), talented people are the lifeblood of our business and we’re continually investing in our colleagues to help us be the world-beating business we aspire to be. We’re committed to helping young jobseekers to get off to a flying start and our apprentice schemes have seen us create opportunities for over 130 apprentices, kick starting careers in everything from engineering to communications.

“As a major employer in the north of England, we have a responsibility to support young people in the communities where we work. That’s why we deliver a range of employability and education programmes for students of all ages, focusing strongly on under-represented STEM subjects, to inspire and educate about opportunities in the energy sector while helping to shape a workforce for the future.”