By Darren Robson, Senior Training Consultant at Develop Training
Recent reports show increasing numbers of young people are leaving education without the skills that are needed to succeed in modern Britain, and keep the country’s major infrastructure up and running. Meanwhile, an ageing workforce means workers with the crucial knowledge to keep the country functioning are retiring.
This dual drain on the nation’s talent pool is creating a skills drought within the engineering, technology and utilities sectors, and it is estimated the power, gas, water and waste management industries will need 200,000 new recruits within the next eight years.
The crisis is currently of great concern in the gas industry and I believe one of the ways to attract young people into the industry is to provide young trainers. I am one of a number of younger trainers at my company whose age is helping us connect with apprentices and other young people from the utilities industry.
After completing a gas and installation maintenance training course and working as a Gas Engineer for three years, I was offered the opportunity to become a trainer and it’s been a great opportunity for me to help others.
I have been sharing my skills with apprentices for just shy of two years and believe young trainers could hold the key to re-igniting the UK utilities sector.
A lot of the apprentices I teach aren’t familiar with seeing such a young trainer, so it breaks the habit and gets more of them involved as they feel I am on their level.
As my apprenticeship is not in the distant past, I can relate to apprentices, this enables me to keep the course engaging, thus aiding the learning process by creating a safe environment whereby everyone feels they can participate.
Although the industry needs more young trainers, that shouldn’t be at the expense of experience or diversity. I think all training and development companies should employ a wide variety of trainers as this will encourage a wider variety of apprentices, which will in turn make for a much stronger and more diverse workforce. I’m very fortunate that the company has invested in me, in the sense of up-skilling me with a range of qualifications such as Internal Verification and Assessing. The team I’m in is ideal as it includes people with a range of ages and experiences who all bring something to the table.
I believe the UK needs more pioneering initiatives such as this to show young adults that a career in the utilities sector is an attractive option.