Utility Week

UTILITY Week 13th January 2017

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UTILITY WEEK | 13TH - 19TH JANUARY 2017 | 23 Peter Edwards, who first developed the windfarm in 1991, said: "Aer the windfarm started generating, one of the main criticisms was that the amount we contributed to the national grid was so insignificant that we shouldn't have bothered." But Good Energy chief executive Juliet Daven- port pointed out: "Wind power gener- ated a record-breaking 12 per cent of the UK's electricity in 2015." If you have an asset or project you would like to see featured in this slot, email: paul.newton@fav-house.com Pipe up Nick Ellins S upportive of it or not as a policy, the UK govern- ment's Apprenticeship Levy has, by default, significantly increased the dialogue on strategic workforce renewal right across the UK utility sector. Its financial implications and wider impacts have also taken the dialogue from the offices of learning and development professionals, right into the boardroom. The route to those discussions may not have been planned, but the strategic dialogue may prove a helpful catalyst for change. Energy and utilities are vital to society, the environ- ment and the economy. In addition to what is done each and every day to deliver essential services to around 65 million citizens, we are collectively responsible for deliv- ering the majority of the UK National Infrastructure Plan – a plan that is the foundation for the UK economy. Of the £425 billion of planned investment across 600- plus major projects, 57 per cent is assigned to electricity, gas, water and sewerage and waste management. Yet while there is a National Infrastructure Plan for Skills that considers trans- port and housing construction, no strategic workforce renewal plan has ever existed for the vital businesses in our sector. In addition, the three million apprenticeships target behind the levy was never conceived to ensure that new talent flowed to the sectors most vital to the economy and society. It is blind to enabling the long-term strate- gies of the UK-wide government sponsoring departments responsible for utilities, and unaware of the priorities of UK economic, environmental and quality regulators. Surprisingly, even those very long-term strategies, statements of direction and priorities also have no explicit recognition of the workforce renewal challenge, one faced by all players across the sector – policy makers, regulators, the regulated and the vital delivery partners. Energy and Utility Skills is seeking to find a solution to that disconnect. More than 30 chief executives from across the UK utilities spectrum are collaborating to build a first ever workforce renewal strategy, and seek to do so in full co-operation with HM Treasury, policy makers, regulators and the main UK interest groups. From that strategy will flow sector-wide projects to bring new energy and focus to the areas of workforce renewal that are testing employers most. There are econ- omies of scale from such collective action, and perceived wins for improving resilience, competence, productivity, transaction costs, innovation and sustainability. Nick Ellins, group chief executive, Energy and Utility Skills "More than 30 chief executives from across the UK utilities spectrum are building the first workforce renewal strategy" No strategic workforce renewal plan has ever existed for the vital businesses in our sector Operations & Assets

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