Continuing to help increase industry diversity

   02 November 2021         News

Develop Training has continued its pledge to play a full and active part in helping increase industry diversity after it launched the second cohort of its ‘Women in Utilities’ programme.

This ground-breaking programme offers free training to help women take the next step in their careers.

Develop Training, one of the UK’s leading providers of technical and compliance training for the utility sector and part of the JTL Group, described the issue as having moved to centre-stage in the wake of a series of reports which recognise how the sector’s diversity is below the UK average for gender, BAME and disability.

First launched in 2019

Develop launched its Women in Utilities success programme in 2019, where it offered eight women working in the industry the opportunity to access high quality training, mentoring and support for free.  Despite the pandemic the programme continued throughout 2020 and into 2021. It involved providing each participant up to 15 days’ worth of free training to support their roles and career aspirations.

Few women in a male-dominated industry

Ayisha Khurshid, Business Development Manager at Energy & Utility Skills was one of the first from the launch programme to finish her training and is now a mentor to the new cohort. Ayisha spoke at the induction event about her experiences of being in the industry. She said:

“I really enjoyed my experiences on the first programme and definitely gained some great skills and knowledge. It was a real pleasure to have the time to discuss mental resilience, emotional intelligence and generally have open conversations about what it is really like being female in a very male-dominated industry and more importantly – how we can all play a part in helping redress the balance.”

Help achieving goals and aspirations

Stella Matthews, Hydrogen Development Manager, Northern Gas Networks talked about her experience of being accepted on the programme and what she hopes to gain from it.

Stella said, “It has been a fantastic two days, getting to know the other participants and hearing about everyone’s differing careers and aspirations.  We all have our own goals, mine is by the end of the programme that I understand not only what the operational teams are doing, but also why, to help broaden my knowledge and skill set and enable me to manage my teams more effectively.”

More about the Women in Utilities Success Programme

Nichola Kitching, Key Account Manager and Programme Lead said:

“Our Women in Utilities success programme was the first scheme of its type and its fantastic we are now starting our second cohort of the programme.

According to the Energy & Utility Skills (2021) Workforce Planning Analysis only 18% of the sector is female compared to 47% as a UK average. With the majority of these roles being customer service and administrative we certainly have a long way to go if we are to play our part in addressing the skills gap. We need to make the sector more attractive by making the industry as accessible and welcoming as possible in order that we widen the pool of talent that we recruit from.”

Photo (left to right):

  • Nichola Kitching, Develop
  • Rebecca Cassie, Engineering Compliance, Network Plus
  • Rachel Gray, Project Manager, Energy Assets
  • Stella Matthews Northern Gas Networks
  • Lindsay McIvor, Engineer, Precision Group
  • Sarah Standish, Design Manager (Utilities) Bethell Construction Limited
  • Rachelle Hornby, Utility Cost and Revenue Assurance Manager, Ancala Water Services
  • Haylea Rawlinson, Sco Writer, Network Plus
  • Hayley Arscott, Programme Manager, Ancala Water Service

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