Water & Wastewater Treatment

WWT December 2018

Water & Wastewater Treatment Magazine

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Page 12 of 39

www.wwtonline.co.uk | WWT | XXXX 20XX | 13 The Works W ith an ageing workforce and changing technology bringing new specialisms and skill sets to the fore, the water sector faces a pressing need to get to grips with the skills gap. For PR19, Ofwat has included the need to consider potential workforce issues for the first time as part of 'resilience in the round', and there is no room for complacency. Energy & Utilities Skills research published in November showed the water supply sector has both a larger percentage of workers over the age of 55 www.wwtonline.co.uk | WWT | DECEMBER 2018 | 13 and a lower percentage below 24 than the average across all other sectors, and it said last year that an estimated 63,000 vacancies would need to be filled across the industry by 2027. Water companies and the supply chain are having to contend with shortages at a time when the range of skills required is diversifying, and there is also a need to compete with rival industries that may boast higher profiles and bigger salaries. One area that appears ripe for improvement is diversity: EU Skills found that 80 per cent of the water workforce is male, compared with 53 per cent for all sectors, while 4 per cent identify as coming from an ethnic minority background, compared to 15 per cent across all sectors. Attracting new streams of talent is no easy task, though, and doing so will require fresh thinking and concerted efforts. So how big an issue is the lack of diversity in the water sector and what is being done to find solutions? The water industry faces a substantial skills gap in the coming years, but could a greater focus on gender and diversity provide the answer? Bridging the Gap Apprentices and graduates from this year's intake at United Utilities

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