Utility Week

UTILITY Week 5th September 2014

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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6 | 5TH - 11TH SEPTEMBER 2014 | UTILITY WEEK People & Opinion Recruiting young talent is the real test The release of this year's exam results held good news and bad news for the UK utilities sector. Chief executive's view Neil Robertson, Energy & Utility Skills T his was a landmark year for A-level and GCSE results. Maths is now the most pop- ular subject at A-level, and Stem subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) have again grown in popularity. These results have important implications for our sector. It's great to see so many skilled and talented young people going to university and Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills) continues to work with universities to help them inform students of the excellent opportunities in our sector aer they graduate. Now is clearly not the time to grow complacent, however. We need more than 200,000 new people to join the energy and utilities industries in the next ten years and there is still a real concern that the numbers taking Stem subjects are insufficient to meet demand. Research carried out by EU Skills reveals employers in the energy and utility sectors are suf- fering more than other sectors from a lack of candidates with Stem and technical skills. This is set to become even more acute as we hit a demographic cliff edge. Cross-sector collaboration to promote Stem is starting to pay off, but we need to main- tain the momentum. Worryingly, entries for single science GCSEs declined sharply this year. Stu- dents taking separate science GCSEs have historically been more likely to study Stem sub- jects at A-Level, and more likely to excel in them. With many students opting for the new Further Additional Science GCSE this year instead, it will be vital these students also opt to take science A-levels in future. There is also an urgent need to address diversity in the sector, which clearly begins at school age. This is about more than "doing the right thing". If only a small proportion of the popula- tion sees a career in energy and utilities as being accessible to them, this hinders the ability of our employers to access the best talent. Through the work of the Energy & Efficiency Industrial Partnership, a collaboration of more than 67 employers from across the sector, we are taking a radical approach to employ- ment and skills. Together we are taking action to educate young people on the range of exciting careers available. Careers Lab, an important initiative supported by the Energy & Efficiency Industrial Partnership, encourages schools and business to work together to address the gap between skills and the needs of our industry. Work like this forms part of our efforts to step up informa- tion, advice and guidance across the UK. The recent focus on A-level and GCSE qualifications, and resulting university places, is understandable and impor- tant, but at EU Skills we are pas- sionate about apprenticeships and more traditional HNC/HND qualifications, which are equally good routes into our industry. Through the Energy & Effi- ciency Industrial Partnership, the energy and utilities sector is more than doubling the number of apprenticeships in our sector, as well as creating more oppor- tunities for those who didn't achieve the top grades to experi- ence some of what the sector has to offer. There are numerous pathways into our sector and together we need to ensure this message is communicated with passion, enthusiasm and clarity to students at an early age. Boardroom burdens Eighty-nine per cent of lead- ers in the UK manufacturing sector now consider energy management to be a board level issue, according to a new report from Siemens. Energy management is least visible at board level in the aerospace sector, where it was noted as a boardroom issue by 76 per cent of respondents. What utilities can learn from… THE ARMY Nicky Moffat CBE, Brigadier (retired), says: "The Army is a bottom-fed organisa- tion so recruitment, development and retention of talent underpin operational success. "Careers are actively man- aged to ensure that personnel develop breadth and depth of experience for promotion into more senior technical, manage- ment and leadership positions. Individuals are encouraged to be clear on their career aspirations and on what they need to do personally at each stage of their career to be competitive. "People play a fundamental role in service provision within the utilities sector too. A similar focus on career progression planning and support – identify- ing and growing talent, as well as ensuring that individuals feel valued and motivated – will doubtless pay dividends." Nicky Moffat will share more insight into personal and professional development at the Everywoman Women in Energy Academy on 9 September. Find out more at: www.utilityweek.co.uk/event

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