The Prime Minister Boris Johnson made public his view of the need for an apprenticeship guarantee for our young people, and our devolved Ministers right across the UK, along with politicians, political parties and many senior interest groups have all expressed similar concerns. Without action, those between 16 and 25 are seen to be particularly vulnerable to the economic volatility we are experiencing, and many in the hard to reach groups will see their exclusion increase. The Chancellor has also now released a programme of measures to protect jobs, and this has a focus on saving apprenticeships.
Since these early statements, many thousands of apprentices have been made redundant mid-term or seen their apprenticeships stalled for the foreseeable future. Formerly strong UK business sectors are now struggling to accept new intakes and many have cancelled apprenticeships outright. Given the utility sector’s longstanding commitment to apprenticeships within their workforce strategies, we felt we should act.
Twenty five utility employers within the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership (EUSP) have launched an apprenticeship Pledge. The EUSP is a voluntary initiative that sets the overall strategic direction for maintaining and building the sector’s human capital, and comprises leaders from across our gas, power, water and waste management membership. The Pledge commits to tackling the volatility, by giving society the assurance that within utilities apprenticeships will be maintained as one of the key ways for meeting our skills needs. It is then supported by 14 statements for how the Pledge will be turned in to practice.
Once companies commit to this core Pledge, some decide they are able to go much further through their own business activities, including deliberately increasing their intakes and even setting specific targets. Others are experiencing very different circumstances, but remain determined to build the momentum needed internally to meet this commitment as a minimum. The result is one public Pledge that we can all stand behind, and have the flexibility to outperform wherever we can.
You can read the full EUSP Apprenticeship Pledge Here
Future Water is proud to support this initiative. Paul Horton, Future Water CEO commented; “Future Water welcomes and supports the apprenticeship pledge. As an organisation we have been helping to drive the agenda bringing new people into the sector, at all levels. Human capital is vital for the water industry and people with creative minds are critical to the future and being able to effectively manage the most precious resource we have. The apprenticeship pledge is an important part of bringing new talent into our industry”.