Unemployed could solve engineering skills shortage

Lone
parents and the long-term unemployed could hold the key to solving engineering
skills shortages after the launch of a training scheme to fill 4,500 jobs in
the energy sector.

Ambition:
Energy is a new initiative between employers and the Government which aims to
beat skills shortages by training the long-term unemployed.

Firms
including British Gas,TotalFinaElf and British Energy have already conducted
pilot plans with particular emphasis on the key government employment targets
of lone parents and the long-term unemployed.

Rod
Kenyon, HR director at Centrica said the pilots had 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 also allow us to recruit from non-traditional areas,” he said.

“It
is an added route to get people back into work. It’s good for the Government
because it helps reduce long term unemployment and is a way of training people
and getting them into jobs quickly.”

The
engineering training course includes a part-time option to help parents and
Kenyon said the firm is also looking to introduce a lifestyle contract,
allowing lone 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.

By Ross Wigham

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