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Advancements in Power Engineering education and training

11 April 2017

Advancements in Power Engineering education and training
In a real step forward for the education and qualification of the next-generation of energy and utilities talent, the first-ever apprenticeship degree in the sector has been approved for delivery
Announced back in 2015, the Power Engineering Degree Apprenticeship was cause for celebration for the UK energy industry. The launch of the process to develop the unique apprenticeship meant that key employers would be able to attract new talent into the industry while enabling them to earn a respectable, high-level degree.

As of February 2017, the apprenticeship standards have now been approved for delivery, with the publication of the assessment plan. This scheme enables apprentices to work towards a full bachelor’s or master’s degree within a work-based environment through a combination of academic learning, combined workplace learning, and training.

Specialised role

A power engineer’s job role is highly specialised and requires exceptional skill to be able to help solve some of the most complex and fundamental engineering challenges within the energy sector. As such, in order to nurture the next wave of talent to fulfil this challenging and essential role, it’s important that appropriate training is available to encourage young people to move into the industry.

The degree programme has achieved maximum funding, and it is co-funded by the employer and the government, which means that apprentices don’t have to rely on hefty student loans to financially support their training. It also means that employers can work with universities to tailor the degree programme specifically to meet the needs of their business and gain valuable apprentices who can help to develop the future of the industry as a whole.

At the time of the launch, then Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “I am delighted that the energy industry is designing a new top-quality degree apprenticeship in power engineering. Giving employers the power to design apprenticeships means that apprentices graduate with the skills they for the job they want and businesses get the talent they need to grow.”

Encouraging the next generation

The employers involved in the development of the program are part of the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, which is designed to fill an emerging training and skills gap within the gas, water, renewables, waste management and power industries. It focuses on recruiting new talent into the industries, as well as overhauling the training available and providing more entry routes into jobs.

Earlier this year, the Partnership released its Energy and Utilities Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy: 2020, which says that 20% of the workforce in the energy and utilities sector will retire in the next 10 years, meaning that 221,000 new recruits are needed in the same period to ensure that services can continue to be delivered at the standard and rate required. A large part of the strategy focuses on increasing the future talent pool through apprenticeships, but also noting that younger pupils need to be encouraged to take an interest in relevant subjects. It cites statistics that from a cohort of 11-year-olds, only 1 in 5 will achieve a GCSE in Physics, 1 in 20 will achieve A-Level Physics and just 1 in 50 will achieve an engineering degree.

Corrotherm has always taken an interest in inspiring young people to move into engineering. CEO Jan Ward is passionate about spreading the word, encouraging women and girls to consider a career in engineering, as well as visiting notable institutions to discuss the importance of nurturing the next generation of business leaders in the sector.

Published in Corrotherm News