Power Academy to meet acute skills need

Power Academy to meet acute skills need

The official launch of a Power Academy by Energy Minister David Kidney will go a long way towards tackling major skills shortages in the electricity industry, Prospect said.

“By 2014 at least 9,000 new employees need to be attracted and trained in the electricity distribution industry alone,” said Deputy General Secretary Mike Clancy. “Not only does the industry have an ageing workforce, but it must also meet the challenges on energy security and low carbon, and expand the infrastructure to replace outdated networks.

“Ensuring that we have the right educational base, and commitment from companies to train people for the energy skills of the future, is a huge challenge. The industry is crying out for skilled designers, planners, project engineers, system controllers and project managers and the Power Academy will be well placed to address that.”

Clancy will represent energy unions on the academy’s board, alongside employers and the Energy and Utility Skills sector skills council. He said Prospect had campaigned hard for the electricity regulator Ofgem to make financial allowance in its latest distribution price review to address the skills shortage over the coming five years.

“Thanks to our influence, the regulator has set aside more than £200m for companies to spend on expanding their skills base, or they will lose this allowance. Prospect will be talking to every company about how they intend to meet the targets for creating new jobs of the right calibre. The Power Academy marks a key milestone towards achieving this.”