Developing skills and talent in the next generation

The energy industry today is an increasingly exciting place to work, because it is at the heart of a modern economy and future UK growth. The demand and competition for skills is huge – over half of the recently published National Infrastructure Plan of £411bn over the next 10 years is energy. By 2024 our industry will need to recruit between 45,000 and 55,000 new employees to renew the workforce and address growth in our sector. With engineering accounting for around 25% of UK GDP, there is a huge task ahead to ensure we attract, develop and retain the right people with the right skills into UK business.

What does it mean?

Whilst the Power Sector currently employs more than 87,000 people, Engineering UK anticipates that by 2022, the engineering sector will need to recruit 2.56 million people — that’s 47% of the current engineering workforce. Of this, 1.82 million will need engineering skills from Level 3 upwards — that’s craftspeople, technicians and engineers at degree level, so the task is huge!

There is a huge task to ensure we attract, develop and retain the right people with the right skills into UK business

What are we doing?

I’m proud that at National Grid our work and our people underpin the prosperity and wellbeing of society; we truly sit at the heart of the energy system here in the UK. We have learned that we have to reach young people much earlier to help them make more informed decisions about their education and their career. We have a long history of delivering leading edge education and skills programmes and a reputation for doing things really well. Whether it’s our hugely impactful education outreach into schools promoting STEM and Careers, or helping youngsters into work through our residential work experience, our aim is to inspire the next generation of engineers. In doing this we believe we all have a fundamental duty to shatter stereotypes, to inspire the young minds of today to understand they can be part of something incredible, and to believe they have a future and that they can each make a difference.

By 2022, the engineering sector will need to recruit 2.56 million people.…our aim is to inspire the next generation of engineers 

So we take a holistic approach to our engagement from early years through to the design and delivery of our entry level talent programmes for Graduates, Engineers and our Apprenticeships, which continue to be graded by Ofsted as “Outstanding”. Over 98% of our trainees complete their programme on time and to plan. Typically around 85% stay with National Grid longer than five years and in that time around half of them progress to a more senior role.

Our CEO Steve Holliday sums it all up when he says ‘I am truly impressed and have come to deeply value the role we can play in unlocking the promise, passion, hope and ambition in our next generation’. It’s what responsible business means in today’s world.

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