Utility Week

UTILITY Week 26th May 2017

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

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UTILITY WEEK | 26TH MAY - 1ST JUNE 2017 | 17 water quality in the River Clyde and its tributaries and tackle flooding in the south of Glasgow. Construction started last July and is expected to be completed later this year. More than 150,000 tonnes of earth, stone, clay and other aggregates has been excavated, and over 90 per cent of that material will be recycled. If you have an asset or project you would like to see featured in this slot, email: paulnewton@fav-house.com Pipe up W ith the announcement of the general election, parts of the utility world became top of the policymakers' priority lists for intervention. At the same time, pre-election purdah halted progress on a number of key policies and strategies on which the utility sector had been seeking intervention and clarity. These included key areas for ensuring resilience and sustainability in sector workforce renewal and skills. Collectively the sector offers essential services to 65 million people across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland every day, and represents 56 per cent of the National Infrastructure Delivery Plan. All that depends on having the right quantity and quality of workforce in place, safely and at an affordable price. Achieving that balance is becoming increasingly diffi- cult and has been exacerbated by the uncertainty of exit- ing the European Union and the lowest unemployment since Office of National Statistics records began in 1971. Leading sector employers have formed the Energy & Utili- ties Skills Partnership, which in February launched the first stra- tegic Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy for the sector. The strategy identifies an ageing, churning and chang- ing workforce in which 221,000 vacancies will be during the next decade. This includes 100,000 employees who will retire, 90,000 who will move to jobs outside the sector and another 31,000 that will be required to fill new roles. What can an incoming government to help the sector address its needs? It should: l Explicitly recognise the importance of a sustainable and skilled workforce in all key strategies. l Connect the fast-changing UK skills and workforce policy to the long-term plans, price reviews and aims of UK-wide sponsoring government departments and utility regulators. l Ensure workforce renewal and skills policy is efficient and effective across the four nations. l Require regulators to embed the criticality of the sec- tor workforce in their resilience duties. What is needed is clear direction, long-term thinking, interdepartmental co-ordination and complementary central and devolved government policies. Clear recognition that the whole UK utility sector – policy makers, regulators, regulated, delivery partners and supply chain – is a vital enabler of the success of UK plc, and the success of our utility businesses ultimately underpins every other part of the UK economy. Nick Ellins, chief executive, Energy & Utility Skills Nick Ellins "The success of our utility businesses underpins every other part of the UK economy." Everything depends on having the right quantity and quality of workforce in place, safely and at an affordable price Operations & Assets

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