Energy sector push to help jobless fill skills shortages

An initiative has been launched to help single parents and
the long-term unemployed find jobs in the energy sector following a successful
pilot scheme.


Ambition: Energy is an initiative between employers and the
Government which aims to beat skills shortages by training the long-term
unemployed to fill 4,500 engineering vacancies.


A number of major companies, including British Gas,
TotalFinaElf and British Energy, signed up to the scheme after it was
successfully piloted by Centrica.


Rod Kenyon, HR director at Centrica, said the initiative has
already led to permanent jobs for four previously unemployed single parents.


"It helps us recruit trainees to become engineers at a
time when there are skills shortages. The initiative will let us recruit from
non-traditional areas," he said.


"It is an added route to get people back into work. It
is good for the Government because it helps reduce the number of long-term
unemployed and is a way of training people and getting them into employment


Companies involved in the scheme initially interview
potential recruits and then sponsor course members, who remain on benefits
until they qualify.


Centrica has a number of part-time positions available for
Ambition: Energy students and Kenyon said the firm is also looking to introduce
a lifestyle contract allowing single parents to choose their own hours.


Energy is the latest sector to join the Ambition scheme, which
has already started in construction, retail and IT.


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