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Morrison Utility Services (MUS) one of the leading utility service providers in the UK, has joined some of the most influential businesses in the gas, power, waste management and water industries to launch the Skills Accord at the House of Lords.

The Skills Accord is a voluntary, cross-industry partnership designed to address the skills gaps that threaten to undermine the future of the UK energy sector.

The Accord unites companies from across the energy and utility sector supply chain in a shared mission to tackle entrenched skills challenges. It will target relevant skills development in technical, operational or engineering roles within the energy and utility sectors. 

As a signatory of the Skills Accord, MUS has pledged to support the Accord’s key aims and will work towards embedding the commitments in its organisation and the sector. 

With one fifth of the sector’s skilled workers approaching retirement age, 36% of vacancies proving hard to fill in the sector (higher than any other UK sector), and 14% of all employers reporting skills gaps within their existing workforces, an Accord was determined to be the best way for the sector's supply chain to drive sustainable skills while remaining competitive.

Administered by Energy & Utility (EU) Skills, the agreement encourages its signatories to address their current and future workforce needs by putting an increased proportion of employees through formal structured development, either in specific skills that the sector currently requires or for which there is a demonstrable future requirement.

The agreement comprises five pledges: a formal programme of learning target of 5%; a commitment to signing up Tier 1 and 2 supply chain contractors; a commitment to embedding the Accord's principles into new tenders and contracts; a commitment to continuous improvement; and, lastly, a commitment to monitoring and publishing each company's success rate, as overseen by an external audit partner.

MUS Chief Executive Jim Arnold commented: “The considerable short and long terms skills challenges faced by the energy and utility sectors have been well documented. We are excited and proud to be supporting this ground breaking initiative that will address these challenges by driving a skills step change to generate the required workforce capacity and capability.”

Jan Ward, Chair of the Energy & Utility Skills Group, said: "This Skills Accord is one of the key priorities of the new sector partnership now underway, and I applaud these companies for testing the art of the possible and by collaborating with each other to recruit and train skilled workers, increase mobility and efficiency, widen the available talent pool and consequently bring about strategic workforce renewal."

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