Learning station

E.ON has launched its EngineeringAcademy at its Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in an attempt to fill the skills gap in the UK’s engineering and energy industries.

The Academy, which is open to all applicants from across the power and engineering industry, is designed to give practical training by combining technical and operational skills from entry level to foundation degree.

The initiative currently supports 220 E.ON apprentices and 288 young people from other local and national companies.

Paul Golby, chief executive of E.ON UK, said: ‘As a company and as an industry we face ever-changing challenges with regards to climate, generating power more efficiently and the need to keep the lights on, and our engineers need an innovative approach to creating the power supply solutions for our future.

‘Our Engineering Academy provides training, qualifications and career development to craft, technicians and engineers, and will enable us to meet the professional development needs of power engineers across the country.

‘To help us offer the very best technical, business and leadership skills, we’re working with universities and colleges across the UK. This will allow us to build qualifications that meet our industry’s ever-growing demands.’

The EngineeringAcademy has teamed up with WalsallCollege to create an NVQ-based City & Guilds accredited qualification, as existing NVQs in power distribution activities were not able to meet industry needs.

E.ON has also joined with AstonUniversity to develop a foundation degree, which currently has 36 E.ON employees enrolled.

These efforts are hoped to overcome the skills shortage, with industry estimates predicting that 9,000 new employees will be needed in the UK electricity distribution industry by 2014.

John Denham, secretary of state for innovation, universities and skills, said: ‘It’s great that E.ON is making such a commitment to equipping its workforce with the skills needed to compete and innovate for the jobs of the future. Now, more than ever, it’s important to keep on investing in skills so that businesses can benefit when the upturn comes.

‘We are simplifying the skills system so that it better meets the demands of employers and will continue to invest in skills. Other businesses should follow E.ON’s example and continue to invest in training.’