British Water has welcomed the 2020-2025 Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy launched by the Energy and Utilities Skills Partnership.
The document sets out how the sector can ensure a safe, skilled and sustainable workforce, and fill an estimated 277,000 vacancies over the next decade, while addressing challenges such as the climate emergency, skills shortages and a constricted labour market.
British Water chief executive Lila Thompson said: “We welcome and fully support this important document, which sets out tangible action the utilities sector can take to build resilience and tackle the impending skills gap to create a sustainable and positive future.
“The report’s publication is timely, given one of its main themes is workforce diversity, inclusion and attraction. It highlights a continued gender and ethnic minority disparity in the workforce - inclusion levels for the energy and utilities sector continue to be below the UK averages for gender, disability and Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME). BAME people, for example, represent just 5% of the workforce in comparison to a UK average of 12%."
Thompson added that the water sector, an employer of 65,500 people, now has a unique opportunity to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce, especially given the rise in importance of social contracts, which encourage companies to commit to better representing the communities they serve.
She added: “Let us commit to capturing the talent and creativity that the sector is missing out on and fill the shortage of procurement specialists, civil engineers, process engineers and cyber security specialists, to name just a few key job roles, where recruitment is challenging."
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