The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award’s Chief Executive, Peter Westgarth

Energy & Utility Skills, the workforce and skills specialist body for the UK’s water, gas, power, waste management and recycling industries, has announced a new partnership this week with leading charity The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE). 

The partnership was launched today (12 September) during the major National Skills Academy for Power Conference at the headquarters of the English Football Association at St George’s Park. The collaboration sees Energy & Utility Skills become an official supporting partner of the DofE charity, in a partnership aimed at guiding and supporting young people in maximizing their self-development and business potential. The collaboration also directly complements the aims of the inaugural Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy, which was built by the UK-wide Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership (of which Energy & Utility Skills is a founder member) to take proactive control of its future workforce needs.

Peter Westgarth, Chief Executive of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award said:

"The DofE enables young people to enrich their lives, improve their life chances and have a positive impact on their communities. Businesses regularly tell us that young people lack the skills they so desperately need to be successful in the work place. At a time of immense technological change across all industries, skills such as teamwork, resilience, problem-solving and leadership are more important than ever.

"Since 2006, the DofE has been supporting young people working for our corporate partners and we are delighted to partner with Energy & Utility Skills to encourage its members to bridge the skills gap by investing in young people and supporting the DofE. Energy & Utility Skills members including Amey, British Gas, UK Power Networks and Balfour Beatty are already fantastic supporters of the DofE."

Nick Ellins for email systemChief Executive of Energy & Utility Skills and the National Skills Academy for Power, Nick Ellins, explains,

"It is a genuine privilege for my organisation to be chosen as a supporting partner of this world-renowned charity, which has done so much to develop our nation’s young talent and show leadership in delivering social mobility.

"It also brings together a vital collaboration with our Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, which is focused on increasing levels of excellence for a vital utility workforce that delivers society’s essential services, such as fresh drinking water, heat, light, power, sanitation and environmental recycling and infrastructure."

The collaboration is a key element of the utility sector’s efforts to attract and retain a diverse and socially reflective workforce, whilst ensuring that highly proficient and technically competent staff also develop the important social and emotional intelligence skills that will help them get the very best from their careers and professional life.

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The energy & utilities sector has set out its need to attract and develop 221,000 people over the next decade, to ensure it has a resilient, skilled and sustainable workforce necessary in serving 65 million consumers each day across four nations and delivering its role as the largest single contributor to the UK government’s £0.6 trillion National Infrastructure Plan. The sector already employs around 500,000 people and operates as a sector of core strategic value to the UK economy.

Nick Ellins continues,  "I meet employers across the UK in my capacity as Chief Executive of Energy & Utility Skills, and when I ask them to tell me the number one thing my team can do to help build the best foundations for new talent, I typically get one answer above all others. That answer is develop "attitude and behaviours" - those precious human traits are currently giving talented job candidates a tangible advantage with employers during recruitment and promotions, when compared to those with just good technical skills.

"The DofE has proven time and time again that it can nurture these highly-prized attributes and do it by inspiring those that do their Bronze, Silver and Gold DofE programmes to take control of developing their own potential to the maximum. The value of this to a crucial UK business sector such as energy and utilities is self-evident".      

About Energy & Utility Skills: At the forefront of bringing our industry leaders together to identify and address the skills challenges our sector faces, Energy & Utility Skills provides membership, assurance and skills solutions to help employers attract, develop and retain a sustainable skilled workforce. It collaborates with employers to support their workforce needs and sector-wide workforce mobility.

The Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership is managed by Energy & Utility Skills and is a voluntary collaboration of 28 members of the UK’s major utility companies and their major delivery partners - all focused on securing the right quantity and quality of future workforce for the gas, power, water and waste / recycling sectors whilst optimising their ability to transfer talent across the UK in the most efficient and productive way.

The Partnership has broken new ground in attracting the UK’s top talent to a vital sector that has suffered from difficult image perceptions and low diversity. The Partnership’s Talent Source Network social media platform reached nearly two million people in its pilot year. The sector was also in the vanguard of delivering the English apprenticeship reforms through the Apprenticeship Levy, securing the first ever apprentice to be graduated through the new Trailblazer system and shortly to be marking achiever number 500, at a time when many UK business sectors are struggling to deliver their first achiever. This new Energy & Utility Skills partnership with the DofE directly complements the existing individual partnerships that some of its members, such as Amey, Balfour Beatty, British Gas and UK Power Networks have underway.

About The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award: The world’s leading youth achievement award that is currently helping 430,000 young people to develop for life and work in the UK. Founded by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in 1956, the DofE is currently being delivered in 10,014 DofE centres such as schools, youth clubs and prisons, supported by over 3,000 partner organisations and approximately 40,000 adult volunteers.

In total, over six million people have participated in DofE programmes in the UK and achieved over 2.8 million Awards since 1956. In 2017/2018, 142,961 achieved a Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The DofE is supported by UK employers including Amey, St James’s Place, Tarmac, British Gas, DFS, Heathrow, UK Power Networks and RSM who endorse the skills and attributes developed whilst doing a DofE programme such as resilience, commitment, self-motivation and team working.

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