Wednesday, 13 November 2013 00:00

Institute launch puts Wales one step further to low carbon energy security

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ESF-smallThe first Institute of its kind dedicated to sourcing and training Wales’ low carbon energy sector workforces of the future will launch today (Wednesday 13 November), in Cardiff.

Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Ken Skates is formally launching the Low Carbon Energy and Marine Power Institute at Cardiff’s Wales Millennium Centre. 

The Institute is established by Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills) – the Sector Skills Council for the water, waste management, power, gas and renewables industries - and the National Skills Academy for Power. It aims to boost the Welsh economy by upskilling the current and future workforce of the low carbon energy sector in Wales, where energy generation could grow by 200 per cent by 2023. In helping to establish an infrastructure for the sector, it will also play a vital role in developing workforce skills and plugging an opening UK-wide recruitment gap that could see 208,000 vacancies open in the sector by 2025. 

A pilot from Welsh Government, funded through its Sector Priorities Fund (SPF) and with support from the European Social Fund, the Institute is starting life as a ‘virtual’ establishment, operating across universities, colleges and training providers in Wales. Initially, the Low Carbon Energy and Marine Power Institute will support 100 participants on pilot programmes.

The Deputy Minister said: “If Wales is to take advantage of the many opportunities offered by renewable energy, then we have to make sure our workforce has the relevant skills and experience. We know there is a skills gap in the renewables sector and that’s why it’s so important we invest in training that aligns with the needs of both employers and learners.

“That’s why I’m delighted the new Institute will be a model of partnership working between the sector and learning and training providers across Wales. This represents a real investment in both the future of our workforce and the future of sustainable energy in Wales.”

A recent report by EU Skills and RenewableUK, ‘Working for a Green Britain and Northern Ireland 2013-2023’, revealed 18,500 people in the UK are directly employed in the renewable energy sector, with a further 16,000 people in related positions. But projected growth in wind and marine energy generation would leave it unable to source the future workforce from homegrown talent in Wales. 

So far, to help tackle this issue, the Institute has developed two new training programmes and five new qualification units and has 24 providers going through the approvals process, to operate under its banner. 

EU Skills Chief Executive Neil Robertson said: “Use and generation of energy is changing – the UK is preparing itself to meet Government targets that call for delivery of 15 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020. A significant part of this will be wind and marine power, which is growing at such a rate that by 2023, the UK could require as many as 70,000 people to fill jobs directly in, and related to, the sector.

“This Institute is aiming to stop the problem worsening in Wales, ensuring that it has the numbers or people with sufficient skills and experience to provide what the sector needs in the next 10 years. Without proper training and education, we risk our ability to hit Government targets, meet demand for energy supply and develop a sustainable sector that relies on homegrown talent.”

The project has been underpinned by research from EU Skills and the Skills Academy for Power, carried out by Miller Research, which highlighted a potential increase in low carbon energy generation from 9GW, to around 28GW. In the wake of this, it exposed workforce planning issues and potential market failures within the sector’s training provision infrastructure in Wales, as the sector struggles to meet demand.

Long term, the Institute aims to become a centre of excellence that develops workforce skills in the installation, commissioning and operation of energy generation sites, such as wind farms and tidal power generation sources. Vital skills in the distribution of energy to customers will also be a key focus, with the overall task being to help the sector meet its current and future skills needs. 

For more information on the Low Carbon Energy and Marine Power Institute, visit http://www.euskills.co.uk/about-us/welsh-spf-project/

Additional Info

About the Low Carbon Energy and Marine Power Institute:

Employers in Wales and beyond stand to benefit from the Institute, through a more coherent provision infrastructure, a training needs identification tool and funding for participants attending pilot training programmes and qualifications.

Providers will also benefit from greater clarify on industry’s health and safety expectations and a model to help develop their practices in line with these expectations. A new trainer qualification and a programme will also help to enhance their expertise and ability to meet the emerging needs of the sector.

Creating a gateway for employers and learners to access approved training providers, the Institute will offer training to people looking to start or transfer into the sector, or those wanting to improve their skills in a particular area.

About Energy & Utility Skills:

Our Vision: Ensuring our industries have the skills they need now and in the future.

Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills) is the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for the gas, power, waste management and water industries, licensed by Government and working under the guidance of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES). Employer-led, our purpose is to ensure that our industries have the skills they need now and in the future.

The energy and utilities sector is fundamental to the success of the UK economy and is crucial to the way modern society functions. It is critical to facilitate an adequate supply of competent people to develop, maintain and enhance the sector.

A skilled workforce is vital for meeting the challenges of an increasingly competitive global economy and particularly during this tough economic climate, where skills are the key lever for successful competition.

EU Skills commitment is to raise employer engagement, demand and investment in skills, to ensure that we have authoritative labour market information for all of our industries and to develop National Occupational Standards (NOS) to ensure that qualifications meet employer needs.

For further information about EU Skills please visit: www.euskills.co.uk

About the National Skills Academy for Power:

The National Skills Academy for Power (the Skills Academy) works in association with Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills), the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for the gas, power, waste management and water industries.

The Skills Academy has a critical role in delivering the training and development needs of the power sector. Through collaboration with leading employers, the Skills Academy aims to develop the quality and consistency of training and deliver a sustainable and flexible talent pool.  Skills Academy members include Balfour Beatty, E.ON (UK), National Grid and Scottish Power.

Initiated by Government, the Skills Academy recognises that overcoming skills challenges in the power sector cannot be done by one organisation alone.  The Skills Academy brings together market leaders to create the engineers of tomorrow, to respond to a rapidly evolving and increasingly sophisticated power industry. 

Through Think Power, an initiative of the Skills Academy, key UK power companies and training providers have joined together, using their experience and knowledge to champion the benefits of working in the Power Sector, which offers: job security, a variety of work, great training and development opportunities, as well as the chance to contribute to the important future energy challenges faces by the UK. 

By challenging perceptions and introducing fresh ideas about the sector, Think Power aims to encourage more people into the Power Sector, which in the coming years will need to recruit 50,000 technicians, craftspeople and engineers for key projects. 

The Think Power website, launched in March 2011 and was shortlisted for the Best Recruitment website in the CIPD Recruitment Marketing Awards 2011, promotes the fantastic careers and benefits on offer. It also offers an online vacancy service whereby Members of the Skills Academy can post their vacancies and individuals can search and apply for jobs in the Power Sector.

For more information about the Skills Academy, please go to www.power.nsacademy.co.uk

For more information on Think Power visit www.thinkpowersector.co.uk

Media are invited to the launch at 11.30am, while Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Ken Skates, EU Skills Chief Executive Neil Robertson and EU Skills Wales Manager Aled Davies are available for photo opportunities and interviews from 12.30pm. 

For more information, please contact Senior PR Manager Ruth Follows, at Cognition Agency:

T: 01926 332 617

E: ruth.f@cognitionagency.co.uk

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