Utility Week

UTILITY Week 7th July 2017

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

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UTILITY WEEK | 7TH - 13TH JULY 2017 | 21 build projects in Scotland and 15 build- only contracts in the West Midlands. The focus of the work is to ensure a resilient gas supply for future generations. Although still in the early stages of the project, the FES team has already identified some key opportu- nities for innovation and standardisa- tion, which will generate cost savings. If you have an asset or project you would like to see featured in this slot, email: paulnewton@fav-house.com Pipe up Andy Holyland I t is no secret that over the past few years there has been a focus on an ageing workforce and a decline in younger workers entering particular industries. I would like to play devil's advocate and suggest a notion that, yes, we do have an ageing workforce, but that has always been the case. That is one thing we can be certain of: each year we get one year older. Is it the case, however, that we do not have the right skills in our young people to backfill or learn from our experienced colleagues, and that we're raising the bar so high that the skills available are not being considered? I would suggest that our mature, highly experienced employees and colleagues did not leave education with all the skills and qualifications that they hold today, so why do we feel we can develop a younger workforce to directly replace those that are entering retirement? A phrase we hear a lot is "work ready". What does this mean? I hear oen that young people need to be trained to QCF Level 4, an equivalent or higher and that they need to hold at least six months' industry experi- ence with all the desired technical and health and safety related qualifications. Could it be the case, even with the focus on apprentices, that we have started to lose the tradition of 'an apprentice- ship'? By that I mean a young learner being effectively and adequately developed by another more qualified, expe- rienced individual to enable that young learner to take on that role in the future. I am not for one second saying this is happening across all industries or by all of those committed to apprentice development. I am merely trying to look at it from a different perspective. Are there the young people with an acceptable level of "work ready" skills trying and willing to be supervised and mentored to enhance their skills and become an effective member of the workforce? Or are we setting the requirements that high because we expect the apprentice to be a productive member of the workforce from day one? Are practical skills at level 2 or theoretical knowledge at level 3 not a suitable possession of the foundational skills needed? Or do we no longer have the ability to consider a slight decrease in productivity in the interest of developing the future stars of our workforce? I fully appreciate there are many factors to consider and unfortunately it is never straightforward, but from my observations and experience, countless numbers of people are willing but find it too difficult to get that elusive "foot in the door". Andy Holyland, head, 3Sun Academy "Are we no longer able to consider a slight decrease in productivity to develop the future stars of our workforce?" Operations & Assets Could it be the case that we have started to lose the tradition of 'an apprenticeship'?

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