National Skills Accord rewards exemplar skills development practice
Drainage and wastewater contractor Lanes Group plc has been awarded a Skills Accord for its success in supporting its workforce in achieving recognised skills which contribute to business success.
It has become one of 11 tier one utility industry suppliers in the UK to be presented with the award by the Energy and Utility Skills Partnership for pioneering efforts to transform investment in technical and operational skills.
The Procurement Skills Accords were presented at an event in Birmingham to mark the second year of the initiative, which is an industry-wide drive to ensure the utility sector has the skilled workforce needed in the coming decades.
It is forecast that 221,000 skilled jobs will need to be filled by 2027, with 100,000 people set to retire by then, 90,000 people moving to new jobs and 31,000 new jobs created.
Lanes Utilities, the wastewater network services maintenance partner for Thames Water, was one of five organisations invited to give presentations at the event to share best practice about skills development within their workforces.
James Brewer, Learning and Development Specialist at Lanes Utilities, pictured second left, told delegates about Lanes’ Pathway to Success programme which gives all employees a structured career path based on skills needed for different roles.
He also explained how this is supported by a unique wellbeing programme which combines an app to access the happiness of the workforce, with practical, professional support for colleagues who want help.
Of 56 companies that have signed up to the Energy and Utility Skills Partnership, 38 were awarded Skills Accords. Of the 23 tier one supplier signatories, Lanes was among just under half awarded the national accolade.
James Brewer said: “We’re very pleased that our learning and development strategy is so well-aligned with what represents exemplar practice across the electricity, gas and water utility industries.
“Effective training and skills development are vital to our long-term success as a business. They underpin our objective to be a leader in the use of digital technologies and leading-edge operational systems to deliver safe, effective and sustainable wastewater maintenance services.
“It also happens to be the right thing to do. We want to reward our teams for the contribution they make and their loyalty. This can only be done if we fairly measure personal and team performance and give everyone an equal chance of progressing.
“Our training and education programme is designed to inspire and motivate our people to be more productive, work safer, and deliver excellent customer service. If we expect more from ourselves, we need to be supported, which is where our wellbeing programme comes into the equation.”
Latest initiatives include the launch of the world’s first team-play virtual reality system in a 360-degree video theatre, which allows teams to interact while experiencing highly-immersive training games.
The Procurement Skills Accord is a set of five robust and challenging commitments that require signatory companies to ensure that responsible procurement practices are used to drive investment in skills.
They are to address sector-wide skills gaps, promote the Procurement Skills Accord through the supply chain, promote skills development through procurement practices, continuously improve performance, and monitor and report progress.