Energy and utilities companies that signed a pledge to promote investment in training and development through procurement across their supply chains are being recognised at a ceremony yesterday at the Crowne Plaza in Birmingham.
Hosted by Energy & Utility Skills, the event featured guest addresses from David Wright, Chief Electricity Engineer at National Grid and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority’s Senior Adviser Keith Waller. The event was organised to coincide with the release of the Annual Report results of the Procurement Skills Accord which chart the initiative’s performance during its first year.
The 2015 National Infrastructure Plan for Skills identified a number of challenges across sectors, regions and skills groups, to keep productivity high, costs affordable and ensure the delivery of the infrastructure pipeline to 2020 and beyond.
One of the key challenges was to find a mechanism to incentivise skills investment through procurement and engagement approaches that would provide appropriate incentives to retrain and up-skill the workforce to meet future skills demands. The energy and utilities sector’s work to meet this challenge through the Procurement Skills Accord Project was recognised and welcomed by Her Majesty’s Treasury.
The Accord was piloted in October 2016 by Amey, National Grid, SSE, Thames Water and UK Power Networks. This group led the development of the concept and consulted on the approach to procurement and investment in training with their strategic suppliers. The number of signatories, of lead and supply chain companies, has since grown to 38 – over 90% of these companies would recommend others join them.
Kate Davies, Chief Operating Officer at Energy & Utility Skills, said: "The Procurement Skills Accord was built by the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership and it is exciting to see such progress after just one year. The Procurement Skills Accord’s commitments are robust and are part of ensuring our sector proactively tackles its skills challenges through investment in its current workforce through the supply chain as well as creating new opportunities. By focusing on formal training programmes targeted in areas of current and future skills shortages, participating companies are ensuring appropriate impact in the right place. The results achieved and the awards are well deserved.”
Nick Ellins, Chief Executive at Energy & Utility Skills, added: "The results of the Procurement Skills Accord shows how structured collaboration between the asset holders and their supply chain partners increases investment in training and builds valuable resilience in to the sector’s workforce.
"We can all talk about achieving resilient UK infrastructure, but unless you have the people and capabilities to make it resilient, it’s an arbitrary point. The workforce in the utility sector, is delivering the largest single contribution to the £0.5 trillion National Infrastructure Plan and daily essential services of key strategic value to the UK economy.”