Skills focus at EEEGR energy conference

Blair Ainslie, Seajacks

Blair Ainslie, Seajacks - Credit: Archant

The challenge of recruiting skilled workers into the region's burgeoning energy industry will come into sharp focus next month at a key event in Norwich.

The Skills for Energy 'People: Powering the Future' Conference will discuss how to create skilled workers for emerging projects across the east in offshore wind, nuclear and oil and gas.

The event has been organised by the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) and will create a unique forum where businesses can discuss the challenges they are facing and how to tackle them. Sessions include: an update on a new proposed skills and education centre – the EPISCentre; how to help young people choose a career; transferring military skills into energy, and a special focus on graduates and SMEs.

It will be held on Thursday July 4 at the John Innes Conference Centre.

Blair Ainslie, chairman of the Skills for Energy Partnership, said initiatives to boost skills were already working, but there was still work to be done.

He said: 'This conference has extra significance for assessing where we are, how we can progress and how we must secure our future in this multi-billion-pound industry.'

Meanwhile, Graham Hacon, managing director of offshore services company 3sun, said the economy can only benefit from having the workers with the right skills.

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He said: 'We are very supportive of apprenticeship schemes and the recruitment of young people leaving education. We have also worked with ex-forces and construction workers to help up-skill and re-train people of all ages, recruiting highly trained engineers from the Navy, Army and Air Forces and giving them the opportunity to develop a career in a different industry.

'Our business depends on having the right people with the right skills and we have invested significantly in training and development, giving existing staff the chance to enhance and build their skills, while ensuring new recruits learn from these experienced individuals. This has brought major benefits for our business and ensures we're creating a robust workforce for the future.'

Celia Anderson, executive director for EEEGR, said: 'The conference will be a fantastic opportunity to link all the work being done in this region by both Skills for Energy programme and the companies involved. This industry is growing and we will need more skilled people coming into it.'