Global engineering group Siemens has published a new report – Skills in Energy: Bridging the Gap – which highlights gaps around the skills shortage in the energy industry and policies addressing the deficiency facing the sector.
Concern about the growth and development of skills in the UK energy market is nothing new. There are fewer graduates and appropriately qualified apprentices entering the market, and there are ever stronger challenges to the retention and maintenance of staff.
It has been estimated that the industry loses one in four employees to adjacent markets.
However, the new report reveals how – with conservative estimates now suggesting that the UK needs to double its output of graduates with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills within the next decade – the issue is becoming strategically-critical.
With canvassed views of industry and skills professionals revealing that insiders feel the skills gap in the energy sector is a ‘perfect storm’ – the result of a lack of long-lead skills, combined with a pressing need to renew and replace our ageing and inefficient energy systems.
One of the world’s largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies, Siemens operates in offshore wind turbine construction, supplies combined cycle turbines for power generation and provides power transmission solutions.
Paul Maher, Chair of the Talent Management Board, Siemens, said: “This report has been produced to highlight the need for skills to support the evolution of a 21st century economy. Siemens relies on people and their talents, so endorses STEM schemes and initiatives such as the Perkins Review of Engineering (November 2013), in a bid to fill the huge engineering skills gap.
“It is already difficult to get good graduates and the situation will continue to worsen unless we can turn the tide. With this publication we hope to raise the profile of the difficulties that we face with the ever growing skills gap, and explore some of the potential solutions.
“We believe that all young people should be able to earn and learn: Vocational training – and not just university routes – are essential. To be effective earning while learning has to be led by employer-led skills models.
“And engineering needs more women. The UK has the worst record of getting women into STEM subjects (and staying in them) in the whole of the EU. There is also a huge demand for technician level, vocationally-trained engineers to tackle ageing infrastructure as part of renewing the UK’s energy assets.”