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Optimistic future for Utility Apprenticeships - National Grid

'Significant investment in training will ensure sustainability'

There is a new air of optimism in the utility sector with the industry set to recruit over 200,000 utility apprentices over the next 10 years.

At the helm of this major boost is the Government's pilot scheme, The Employers Ownership of Skills (EOS), which has received £33million to create 70,000* learning opportunities to help  secure the UK's energy and utilities future workforce.

Since 2004, Develop Training has provided training for over 2000 apprentices for leading utilities companies such as National Grid. The company is looking ahead to the next decade to ensure the industry has the highest qualified engineers and support staff possible.

John Kerr, Business Director, Utilities Division at Develop Training commented: "The EOS scheme has given the sector a much needed boost which will go a long way to securing the future of the utilities workforce. We  already work closely with clients to create bespoke  apprenticeship programmes and are proud of our 95% retention and achievement rate. I have no doubt that the EOS funding will re‐energise the opportunity for people secure an engineering  apprenticeship. This in turn will ensure the right skills are developed to create a sustainable work force and keep our utility assets in safe hands for the long term future."

An Apprentice view

'New Blood for the Gas Networks Industry'

Rhys  Phillips, a 19 year old from Northampton, was chosen by National Grid as one of its  ten 2013 gas network apprentices and is undertaking an EAL Diploma in Gas Emergency with  Develop Training. The theoretical and practical apprenticeship modules assess students  understanding via simulated assessment, written test and on line examinations.

Rhys spoke about his utility apprenticeship and career plans: "I chose a utility apprenticeship as I felt it was the best way to gain hands on work experience whilst studying. Over the next 10 years I would like to work my way up to a management role and maybe become a Regional Manager at National Grid. I know that the skills shortage is a real concern for the industry so I hope other young people will benefit from more apprenticeships being available."

The National Grid view

'Apprenticeships will protect the future of our utility assets'

Glynn Barber, Technical Academy Manager at National Grid spoke about utility company's future vision for apprenticeships: "Apprenticeships are a key means of delivering a skilled, dynamic workforce and giving young people futures and careers that they can be proud of. However, for the utilities sector it's much more than this. Offering apprenticeships will help National Grid and other utilities companies to develop the skills needed to operate our vital national assets to the highest standards. Develop Training has been a key partner in helping us create and deliver our incredibly successful training and apprenticeship programmes over the last decade."

 

Fast Facts:

  • Just 13% of the 500,000 apprenticeships placed each year are in engineering - this is set to increase following the EOS investment.
  • 200,000* replacement utility workforce required by 2023, this means 50%* of the current utility workforce will need to be replaced.
  • £33million* Government investment in EOS pilot scheme with 67 employers will match this funding to train new and existing staff.
  • 70,000* learning opportunities are expected to be delivered by the EOS pilot scheme.
  • 2000 utility apprenticeships ran by Develop Training Ltd since 2004, attending 150,000 training days across the UK.
  • 95% retention and 95% achievement rates are delivered by Develop Training Ltd.

Sources:

*   Data source: Employer Ownership Scheme
** Data source: BIS data service – 13% of apprenticeships in the UK were placed in the engineering sector 2012/13