Leading employers in the energy and utilities sector have welcomed the government’s continued commitment to apprenticeships on the first anniversary of the levy’s go-live date, 6 April 2017.*

Across the sector, there are now thousands of people starting new careers through an apprenticeship.

Eleven ‘Trailblazer’ standards have been developed by sector employers, in partnership with Energy & Utility Skills**, resulting in 11 assessment plans already being formally approved. Career pathways now exist through apprenticeships: from levels 2 (roughly equivalent to five GCSEs) up to 7 (equal to a master’s degree).

The new standards ensure that apprentices graduate with the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to be ‘job ready’ in the highly regulated and safety-critical gas, water, power and waste management industries. The sector took a decision nearly two years ago, to act and learn together to make the new levy policy work.

Nearly 270 apprentices have now completed end-point assessment through the Energy & Utilities Independent Assessment Service (EUIAS), which was developed specifically to provide high quality end–point assessment on the new English ‘Trailblazer’ apprenticeship standards for the sector. The EUIAS has been in the vanguard of adapting to the new standards, securing the first-ever authorised standard, the first apprentice to graduate, the first female engineer at level 2, the first-ever water industry apprentice completion and many others.

Nick Ellins100x100Nick Ellins, Chief Executive of Energy & Utility Skills, said:

“The sector supported the concept of generating a large pipeline of new UK talent through apprenticeships right from the very start, and dedicated its efforts to making reforms work. The sector’s success and achievements speak for themselves. As one of the UK’s key STEM sectors, our employers have been in the vanguard of English Trailblazer introduction; securing the first standard and graduating the first-ever apprentices. They are a vital element of our approach to workforce resilience, as we address significant recruitment challenges. ***

“The introduction of the levy transfer policy, which will permit up to 10% of levy funds to be transferred for use by our sector’s vital supply chain companies, now gives us further opportunity to deliver more, and it is welcomed, but there is more to do.”

“Skills policy is currently devolved, with no central guiding mind working to meet the challenge of a continually tightening UK labour market. There is also yet to be a plan to ensure that the needs of the industries of critical strategic value to the UK are prioritised, through an efficient and targeted approach.”

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“The utility sector ultimately serves 65 million citizens every day, and what they do underpins our very economy and society. With their critical role for our country, their proven commitment to trying new approaches in this area and their track record of success, why not try more holistic thinking here?”

Ellins concluded: “While we have always welcomed the strategic aim of the apprenticeship levy to stimulate more talent into the labour market, the workforce resilience needs and skills gaps faced by UK employers are much broader. Simply put, labour market challenges in a post-European environment don’t pause at the English borders. Workforce resilience and sustainability needs ‘thinking in the round’ and could never be addressed by English apprenticeships alone. Policy makers know this and can make quick gains by recognising the vital other areas of upskilling and professional development needed to make UK businesses operate efficiently and effectively. The levy can enable that success but right now is restricted purely to apprenticeships.”

 * Apprenticeship Levy is charged at 0.5% of employers’ annual pay bills that exceed £3 million, to fund apprenticeship training.

** Energy & Utility Skills is at the forefront of bringing our industry leaders together to identify and address the skills challenges our sector faces. It 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 Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy reported that 221,000 vacancies will be created across the entire energy and utilities sector by 2027. This will be made up of 100,000 existing employees who will retire, 90,000 who will move to jobs outside the sector, and another 31,000 that will be required to fill newly-created roles.

Energy and utilities combined account for the greatest share of the UK Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline (2017/18 - 2020/21). The combined share is 43% (£104.8bn), which is significantly greater than the next largest category – transport at £78.5bn, which is responsible for 29% of 2017/18 – 2020/21 Pipeline.

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The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

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Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

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Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

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FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

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We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

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FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

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The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

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