Experience is something not easily transferred but must be keenly shared

Louise Kingham OBE FEI Chief Executive

Louise Kingham OBE
Chief Executive

The EI’s inaugural Energy Barometer report of members’ views on the industry’s important future challenges identified that developing a pipeline of energy professionals was a key concern for those at the heart of the energy industry today.

Respondents emphasised the urgent need to maintain the supply of skilled workers into established and developed sectors. They also express the need to preserve and transfer the knowledge of those preparing to leave the industry to a new generation. This is much talked about as an issue and there are some great examples of good practice within a number of companies in the sector, but it is incumbent in my view for every experienced energy professional to keenly share their knowledge and offer guidance to those that will succeed them. This way we ensure experience isn’t lost and good practice is shared.

As hosts of the POWERful Women initiative we have just launched POWERful Connections – a mentoring scheme led by CEOs in the industry to support those looking to lead the industry in the future. I was delighted with the overwhelming support we had from CEOs we approached to be mentors but interestingly those who could be mentored were not so ready to jump forward without encouragement. Currently we also support individuals with a mentor to help them achieve professional membership. Great support for the early professional and a complement to a mentor’s own CPD. These are two examples of what we do, however, we recognise that more needs to be done and we have plans to expand our offering to energy professionals here because support is needed across all demographics and for those returning from career breaks or with transferable skills from other industries.

As well as each of us encouraging others to be mentored and offering our support to do so we also need to develop programmes that are flexible, practical and light on administration to make them effective. As recognised energy professionals, please feel free to get involved.

Past, present and future

Ian Marchant

Ian Marchant FEI, President

All good things must come to an end and I am now handing over the Presidency of the Energy Institute (EI) having served two years. It has been a joy and a privilege to have the role and I hope I have been a good steward of our organisation. In reflecting on the two years, my thoughts are about the past, present and future.

We have just finished celebrating our one hundredth anniversary and that included a cake in the Palace of Westminster, a video from the Prince of Wales and numerous dinners and events up and down the country. It is good occasionally to look back and celebrate the achievements of the past, however that phase of EI’s life is over, probably for another 25 years. We have also launched the Energy Matrix, which makes available the accumulated knowledge of over 90,000 records and wisdom of our industry, in a modern digital form.

But enough of the past. We are all members of today’s energy industry and the EI continues to address today’s issues. During the last twelve months or so we have hosted the inaugural Energy Systems conference and our annual IP Week conference, which this year generated a lot of media interest, as well as another 90 events. A new addition to the EI calendar has been the autumn President’s event. In 2013, I hosted a debate and then in 2014 I gave a lecture which, as it was held in a function room at the Hard Rock Cafe, was full of song title puns. We have got involved in new initiatives such as POWERful Women and ESOS, and the first publication under the Energy Essentials banner has been issued. Our technical programme continues to go from strength to strength with the issue of 41 technical guidance documents, the publication of the first G9 offshore wind annual incident data report and further growth in the content of and access to The Journal of the Energy Institute. We have continued to drive up standards and build competencies for the future with the accreditation of 68 energy-related courses in 21 institutions throughout the world.

And talking of the future, as I hand over the reins to the very capable hands of Professor Jim Skea CBE FRSA FEI, I would highlight three foundation stones that have been laid recently. Firstly, we have started the refurbishment of our building to make it fit for the 21st century and to provide better member services. Secondly we have undertaken and launched our first Energy Barometer, which uses the knowledge and experience of our membership to gauge the state of the energy world and to inform policymakers and commentators. Thirdly, we introduced a new EI award category, the Young Energy Professional of the Year, to complement the work of our growing Young Professional Networks.

I believe that the group who met under the leadership of Sir Boverton Redwood a hundred years ago would be proud of what their creation continues to do and in its plans for the future.

Sharing energy industry insights

Ian Marchant

Ian Marchant FEI, President

One of the features of the energy industry over the last 100 years has been the extent of innovation we have seen throughout the value chain. As part of that industry, the Energy Institute (EI) must also continue to innovate. To this end, we will be launching a new research and engagement programme in January 2015 called the Energy Barometer.

As a professional body, we have a lot of expertise and experience to be found among our industry membership that we should be bringing to bear on the debates around energy. The aim of the Barometer is to give a voice to the opinions and insight of energy professionals and establish the EI as a credible and trusted source of knowledge.  It will provide a vehicle for members who are industry and thought leaders to help inform debate on energy related issues, demonstrating the value of their knowledge and expertise to government, influencers, our own industry and the public. From a primary focus on the UK,  the Barometer should provide a focal point for debate on the real issues underlying the future energy system challenges.

We hope to use the Barometer as a source of meaningful support to the process of policy development and to create an opportunity for greater engagement between EI members and policy makers. The Barometer will be based on annual surveys covering regular topics for comparison year on year, as well as topical issues.  Data will be built around a series of questions, asked of an ‘EI Research College’ consisting of approximately 600 EI members. Supplementing the insight generated from their responses will be statistical information taken from UK government and other official sources. This will be backed up by commentary and viewpoints from senior industry fellows.

The first annual Barometer report should be completed by the end of April 2015, and we hope to publish it around the time the new UK government is in place next May. The report will be aimed at UK policy makers and senior industry professionals, and will also be sent to selected Members of the new Parliament. We expect media interest and public awareness to be generated by specific insights from the survey.

This whole initiative, however, can not run without the support of members. More details of the Research College will follow – outlining how we would like  you to  participate.  Check out the EI’s magazines and www.energyinst.org/energy-barometer for details.