Thames Water supports EU Skills Partnership to tackle skills gap

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Thames Water has joined forces with the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, to build and launch the very first 'workforce renewal and skills strategy' for the sector.

The strategy has been created to take the first steps towards ensuring the UK's vital energy and utilities sector retains a safe, skilled, resilient and sustainable workforce.

The energy and utilities sector requires 221,000 new recruits by 2027, in order to provide essential services for its customers and the infrastructure the UK needs to support economic growth. Specifically at Thames Water over 260 members of Thames Water's operational staff will reach retirement age in the next three years meaning a skills gap is fast approaching.

Thames Water HR Director Janet Burr said: "Finding and nurturing new talent now is important as we need an army of operational staff ready to take over from those who will inevitably retire in years to come. They hold a wealth of knowledge and we can't afford for them to go without having the next generation trained to take on the responsibility for looking after our 15 million customers across London and the Thames Valley."

The Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership has already started to take action by committing to a new 12-month talent source network pilot programme that seeks to encourage people into industry careers and develop a significant future talent pool. It will help employers access hard-to-reach and diverse individuals as well as encourage professionals who are looking for new opportunities to retrain.

Janet added: "Our involvement in the strategy supports our own schemes for attracting new talent including our apprenticeship and trainee programmes, our graduate scheme and the numerous events we run in schools and colleges to showcase careers in the water industry."

Nick Ellins, Chief Executive of Energy & Utility Skills, who will manage the strategy on behalf of the energy and utilities industry, said: "The National Infrastructure Plan is now widely recognised as forming the backbone of industrial strategy, and more than half (56%) of that plan is required to be delivered by the power, water, gas, wastewater and waste management industries.

"To date the accompanying infrastructure skills strategy has not explicitly recognised this critical contribution or done enough to ensure that the businesses involved have the right environment to ensure a sustainable and talented workforce exists. By working together we can ensure a highly skilled, safe and productive workforce that ultimately invests directly back into society and our communities."

For more information visit http://www.euskills.co.uk/energy-utilities-skills-partnership