Whether you’re leaving the Armed Forces after a few years of service or leaving after a long military career, the energy and utilities sector could be for you…

The energy and utilities industries are fundamental to the wellbeing of the UK economy. Most of the time we take them for granted, we are so used to having energy and water supplies on demand that we only notice when something goes wrong.

Research carried out by Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills), the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for the gas, power, waste management and water industries indicates that the sector employs over 560,000 people in more than 60,000 businesses in the UK.

Skills Shortages

Over the next 10 years, the energy and utilities sector need to recruit over 14,000 people to replace those who are retiring or leaving organisations for new opportunities. Unless the industry recruits large numbers of people in these disciplines in the future, the energy and utilities sector could face serious problems.

Employers in the energy and utility sector are committed to safeguarding the environment for future generations and providing a high standard of service for their customers. Taking into account the ageing workforce, infrastructure, expansion plans and the introduction of new technologies across all industries, it is now more important than ever for employers to focus on up skilling their workforce to keep Britain running.

Demand is high for skilled engineers and technicians, scientists, operatives and customer care staff with flexibility and adaptability across all occupations in an ever-changing working environment.

Many of the skills gained in the Armed Forces are perfectly suited to the roles employers in the energy and utilities industries are recruiting for. An increasing number of employers are recognising the benefits that military employees can bring to their organisation. There are a large number of transferable skills learnt and demonstrated by high calibre ex military employees in their former roles that make them excellent candidates for positions in the sector. Particular skills that employers in the sector are keen to take advantage of are people skills, technical expertise, high levels of self motivation and discipline.

A number of organisations offer development programmes aimed at school leavers, graduates, foundation engineers and experienced individuals. Resettlement training courses are also available in some disciplines to help ex forces personnel back into a career.

With a broad range of exciting opportunities available within successful companies, the career prospects in the energy and utilities sector are diverse and dynamic.

Skills Requirements

There is a high level of skills required in health and safety and engineering work in the energy and utilities industries which can be transferred to other industries. There are a variety of nationally recognised multi utility qualifications that allow an individual to be qualified in a number of areas in the industry and minimise duplication of qualifications. These qualifications allow for easier migration of skilled individuals from business to business, particularly for contracting companies.

Opportunities

Gas

There are fantastic career opportunities in the gas supply industry beyond your home.

The gas industry is divided into two subsectors. Gas transmission and distribution covers all activities to do with the journey that gas makes from the point of origin, through the National Transmission pipeline and into local Gas Distribution Networks (GDN). Gas utilisation includes the installation and maintenance of gas-fired appliances in homes, commercial and industrial premises by gas fitters/installers, called Gas Safe registered engineers.

It takes a lot of skilled people to ensure that gas is transported safely and efficiently across the country to your house – you could be one of those people.

Many gas service engineers progress quickly in the industry and go on to become supervisors and managers and many individuals remain in the industry for their whole career, although they may move around different employers.

Power

Creating power is one of the most important activities on the planet. Without it, we simply wouldn’t be able to function. Our iPods and TVs wouldn’t exist, industry and commerce would come to a grinding halt; we would barely recognise our healthcare.

In ten years’ time (in the UK alone), we will only be able to generate a fraction of the power that we need. It is essential that we find new ways to create affordable, low carbon power, as well as attract more talented people to work in the sector. This could be as many as 50,000 over the next 15 to 20 years.

The National Skills Academy for Power (the Skills Academy) has a critical role in delivering the training and development needs of the Power Sector. Through collaboration, the Skills Academy will develop the quality and consistency of training and education, and deliver a sustainable pipeline of talent.

Through the Skills Academy, a new initiative will be launched in March aimed at encouraging more people into the Power Sector. By challenging perceptions and introducing fresh ideas about the sector, Think Power will promote the fantastic careers and benefits on offer. This is an industry that offers job security, variety, career development and large-scale, important work. Added to that, there’s a real chance to tackle the future energy challenges that affect us all.

Waste Management

Traditionally viewed as ‘dirty’ and ‘low skilled’, the waste management industry may not have been considered a particularly attractive career in the past. Contrary to the views expressed in some quarters, the industry today is much more than collecting rubbish.

With legal and environmental drivers pushing to more sophisticated waste management solutions, there is a greater requirement on the industry to operate at a higher standard of professionalism and incorporate best working practices within all activities.

With the pressure on landfill, there is now a move to much higher levels of recycling and recovering utilising new technologies in energy from waste facilities. These operations employing new technologies require a higher level of technical competence and a more highly skilled workforce, one capable of operating and maintaining sophisticated plant and processes.

Core activities within the waste management industry are; waste collection and transport, transfer stations and household waste and recycling centres, energy from waste (including thermal recovery processes and anaerobic digestion), recycling, processing and specialist operations and landfill.

Water

The water industry covers the transportation of water from source to the treatment works and subsequent distribution to property boundaries (clean water) or water course (waste water). The industry also includes the disposal of waste water from property to treatment works to water course, the collection, storage and treatment, waste water processes and water distribution.

As with gas and electricity, many of the jobs in the water industry are highly skilled and are in great demand in an array of engineering, science and technology-based industries. Many employment opportunities exist to ensure there is continuous supply of clean drinking water to our homes and businesses, and there is a sustainable network for the disposal of waste water. The water industry needs a vast range of people – from service pipe layers to scientists. Managing water resources, ensuring the supply treatment and distribution of water, disposing of sewage, keeping pollution to a minimum and all requires the work of highly skilled people.

For further information about:

Careers in the energy and utilities industries please visit www.euskills.co.uk/careers

The National Skills Academy for Power please visit www.power.nsacademy.co.uk

Think Power please visit www.thinkpowersector.co.uk

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