Training and Skills Shortages in the Energy Industry

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2008 Energy Service Group Conference
2 February 2008

Conference recognises that there exists a serious risk of skill shortages for many job types across the energy industry. This is partly related to demographics and an ageing workforce but also partly due to the increasing difficulty of recruiting younger workers with the right skills and knowledge into the energy sector.

UNISON’s contribution to the work of the Energy and Utility Skills Council is recognised as having made a significant difference to the direction and prioritisation of training and development in the energy sector.

Conference fears that unless the energy employers decide to significantly increase the resources devoted to training and education then eventually the industry will find it impossible to meet its service and quality standards.

Conference notes that in the recent OFGEM review of the price formula for gas distribution networks an allowance of £78 million was made to assist the network operators with the additional training costs or replacing their ageing workforces with new entrants in skill shortage areas. Conference believes that the next OFGEM review of electricity network operators, which face similar challenges to the gas distribution companies, presents an opportunity to argue for similar funding to be factored into the price formula.

Conference calls upon the Executive and branches to:

1Increase their efforts to promote the need for increased resources for training and development aimed at both retaining an ageing workforce and attracting new younger workers into the energy industry.

2Ensure that, wherever possible, with the involvement of union learning reps, that any funding allocated by OFGEM to training is used by the companies to develop comprehensive learning agreements for this purpose.