New skills and training

Why a National Skills Needs Assessment is important for local energy systems?

Transition towards a smart local energy systems (SLES) will put pressure on the energy industry where workers across the sector will require an updated skills profile to be able to take up the newly emerging occupations brought about by technology and policy changes. This will involve ‘greening’ of existing occupations as well as the transfer from conventional energy occupations to low-carbon energy jobs.

If the workforce is to be well trained in time to take up the newly emerging opportunities, it is important to be able to forecast which skills will be in demand in the future, by what time, and in what quantities. To support a smooth transition to SLES, the content and level of education and training provision needs to be anticipated to close any skills gaps that would hinder the transition process. The skills needs assessment must take into consideration local circumstances to factor in different regional characteristics and needs. A wide range of factors may contribute to a skills shortages including political, technological or societal and these need to be overcome.

How will EnergyREV deliver unique and useful insights?

In the UK, aggregated national and sector specific skills data is readily available. However, in the low carbon sector skills are less frequently explored. Low carbon energy is not typically classified as a separate industry in UK. Data regarding the scope of the energy sector can vary from project to project.

The National Skills Needs Assessment work within EnergyREV will provide a database of knowledge areas of the energy system (what a worker needs to know), the related skills per knowledge area (what a worker needs to be able to do) and the training provision required to support a productive and fair transition to SLES.

The work by the National Skills Needs Assessment EnergyREV team will work together with stakeholder representatives across the SLES.

Data on expected skills shortages will be collected from:

  1. Labour market data from job adverts – this will be analysed to identify trends in vacancies, salaries and job requirements which all indicate skills shortages and the required skills for occupations within the energy sector.
  2. A series of Delphi studies will be conducted to gain an understanding of first-hand experiences in the energy system - the Delphi methodology will enable each stakeholder group to share essential skills needed, skills shortages faced and forecasted, training provision required as well as issues and barriers around skills that have been encountered. Results will be collated to give panellists the opportunity to review original responses with the aim of forming a consensus.

Subsequently, a forecasting model will be developed, informed by the labour market analysis and Delphi studies to enable regulators, policymakers, educators and businesses to consider the possible impacts of their decisions on future skills shortages in the SLES sector.

What will the Skills team deliver for EnergyREV?

The systematic study will:

  • Develop a local and national skills needs assessment to identify:
    • skills shortages that may arise during the transition to a SLES in each of the relevant stakeholder groups identified.
    • factors contributing to skills shortages in the energy sector generally and for specific stakeholder groups.
  • Produce a database for the UK’s SLES including knowledge areas, skills and training provision by:
    • Mapping out the knowledge areas necessary for current and future SLES and necessary skills within each knowledge area by consulting with experts across the energy systems domain;
    • Identifying current training opportunities at local, national and international levels and the training provision gaps to redress the skills shortages identified through the skills needs assessment;
  • Develop a future skills shortage self-assessment and review toolset, enabling stakeholders to review and plan actions to avoid future skills shortages, for example, by considering alternative policies or investment avenues;
  • Propose potential career pathways for new energy professionals as well as energy professionals currently involved in the energy sector to provide a just and successful transition.