Louise Kingham OBE
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.
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.
Louise Kingham OBE FEI
EI Chief Executive
The old fairground saying – what you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts – might apply to a number of sectors where the economic cycles of expansion, contraction and growth once again are readily managed by companies following periods of releasing and then recruiting people. However, when the energy industry needs to compete to attract talent, leaving it to ‘natural’ cycles alone – for HR teams to respond to when need arises – is not enough. Given the energy industry underpins daily life and brings such value to society, it’s industry-wide collaboration, facilitated and supported by independent bodies like the EI, that is needed beyond, and in support of, what individual companies need to do. And, the companies need to get behind that approach to build critical mass and recognise it’s about reputation too.
EI inspiring young people at the Big Bang Fair 2015 to take up a career in energy
Last week the EI supported the Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair which hosted 75,000 children, parents and teachers to a festival of what Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers can offer. By no coincidence its also British Science Week which is a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths – featuring fascinating, entertaining and engaging events and activities across the UK for people of all ages. And to do their bit, the Department for Energy and Climate Change hosted the My Energy Job online energy careers fair which the EI also supported.
The EI is promoting and hosting the development of DECC’s POWERful Women initiative as well as supporting pan-industry declarations in science and engineering to improve diversity, equality and inclusion. EI is also investing to develop its Young Professionals Networks, Student Chapters and Mentoring Schemes as well as looking at innovative ways to connect growing professionals with experienced ones.
Why? Because developing people is a long term investment and for an industry to really prosper and add value to society in the way that energy needs to, its continuous promotion, even when times are more challenging, is essential to building the pipeline of talent we need – roundabouts not rollercoasters.