As part of the Energy and Utilities Skills Partnership, Pennon Group plc is marking progress since the publication of the UK’s first Workforce & Skills Renewal strategy a year ago today (9 February).
Since the strategy launch a number of initiatives have been put in place to support UK infrastructure by developing a resilient and sustainable workforce in the energy and utilities sector.
Exeter-based Pennon, owners of South West Water and Viridor, one of the UK’s biggest recycling and renewable energy companies, is doing its bit to ensure that it has a strong pipeline of talent in place to deliver its £1.8billion programme of capital investment, which will drive growth and productivity.
Progress made by the Partnership at a national level includes:
The Energy & Utilities Independent Assessment Service (EUIAS), which gives sector apprentices the opportunity to demonstrate competence to work in safety-critical industries.
The Skills Accord, an initiative to promote structured and sustained investment in the technical and operational skills the sector needs most, through commitments in procurement practices.
The Talent Source Network, which allows employers to offer hundreds of vacancies, including apprenticeships, on a shared online platform, alongside careers guidance and case study features on a diverse mix of new starters, recent recruits and senior professionals
Regionally, South West Water’s multi-award-winning apprenticeship scheme is a key part of the company’s future workforce plan, ensuring that employees who retire are replaced by very capable next-generation talent.
Since 2011 South West Water has recruited 106 apprentices and plans to recruit more under its next regulated business plan from 2020 to 2025. Across the Pennon Group an extra 100 apprentices a year are expected to be taken on, including new Higher Level entrants from both existing employees and new recruits.
Dr Stephen Bird, Managing Director of South West Water and Pennon’s representative on the Skills Partnership Council, said: “To deliver the UK’s infrastructure needs requires having the necessary skills in place. Apprenticeships are an excellent way of ensuring we remain fit for the future.
“Most of our apprentices successfully complete their qualification and go on to take up permanent roles, proving that apprenticeships provide a strong springboard towards exciting new career opportunities in a wide range of professions.”
South West Water is also a principal supporter of the South Devon University Technical College in Newton Abbot, which opened in 2016 and provides technical training in the disciplines of Water, Engineering and the Environment.
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