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Collaborating on Professional Excellence

A new partnership between Energy & Utility Skills and the Institute of Water is to help drive forward the skills agenda in the water sector

The recently announced partnership between Energy & Utility Skills and the Institute of Water, brings together the strategic aims and values shared by both organisations: to attract talent, promote professional excellence, build pride in the industry and help ensure a resilient, skilled and sustainable workforce in the water sector.

The collaboration puts into action key recommendations from the first-ever Energy & Utilities Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy, which was published earlier this year.

The Skills Strategy, for the water, gas, power and waste management industries, makes the case clear for acting together now. This is incumbent on all of us who are in the water industry - policy makers, regulators, the regulated, professional bodies, delivery partners and the supply chain.

The Institute of Water was one of the first to answer the call for collaboration, and as the only professional body solely dedicated to the careers of water professionals, the opportunities were clear.

What will this partnership aim to achieve? We will collectively: attract talented new applicants to water; provide accessible introductions to what is an increasingly complex business environment; help build and inform careers; give individuals and businesses unique insights about the industry through colleagues in the industry; encourage every water professional to keep learning and pursue routes to Chartered status wherever appropriate; reward best practice and achievement publicly and better connect all those people who play a part in making the UK water sector one of the most accomplished and respected in the world. This partnership follows a recent series of workforce related developments in water:

  • Ofwat has indicated that skills will feature “heavily” in the PR19 draft framework, particularly in relation to operational resilience. There will also be a “strong focus” on skills, within Ofwat’s Resilience in the Round activity
  • The UK Industrial Strategy promotes skills and infrastructure as two of its ten key pillars
  • The Drinking Water Inspectorate, Health & Safety Executive, Ofwat, MOSL, the key professional and representative bodies and unions have all given explicit support to the new Energy & Utilities Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy
  • The new UK Apprenticeship Levy is now live, with new water apprenticeship ‘Trailblazer’ routes built and the first water apprenticeships under the new structure now underway
  • Water UK and Energy & Utility Skills are working in partnership to enable the next phase of the UK-wide Competent Operator Scheme
  • Scottish Water, Anglian Water and Severn Trent Water have publicly mandated the National Water Hygiene training and accreditation scheme (NWHS) across their businesses, with other water companies seeking to follow. The NWHS “Blue Card” ­ has become the sector standard and ensures that all those working with, or around, the public water supply, understand their responsibilities and how to manage risks
  • The full range of utility SHEA (safety, health and environmental awareness) schemes are being reviewed, quality assessed and enhanced throughout 2017.

Collaboration is the key to success in ensuring that the UK water sector, in its entirety, has the vital assets needed for a resilient and sustainable future, with the recognition that its most important assets are its people.


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