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NIE Networks involved in innovative training programme for utilities sector

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12 Jan 2024

NIE Networks has joined in partnership with the Construction Industry Training Board Northern Ireland (CITB NI), Department for the Economy (DfE) and Kier to introduce the Joint Utilities Entry Level Programme.

This innovative training programme, aimed at providing entry level training to the utilities sector, will support the industry to develop the workforce required to deliver the infrastructure to drive a net zero economy.

The Joint Utilities Entry Level Programme will ensure Northern Ireland has a sufficient pool of trained and competent asset installation operatives for those subcontractors who provide asset installation services to electricity, gas, water and telecoms providers.

The 22-week programme will cover practical and theoretical training recommended by the utility employers with both ‘on site’ (80 days) and ‘off site’ (30 days) aspects included.  It will also equip programme participants with the skills and knowledge to enable them to work across all four main utility sectors as well as industry recognised certification and registration cards (CSR).

The programme is free to paid employees of the relevant businesses and is most suited to either new recruits or existing operatives who do not have formal training and certification.

Programme numbers are limited, to book a place email NIE Networks.

Barry Neilson OBE, CITB NI Chief Executive said: “The aim of the programme is to develop a flexible workforce that is competent and confident to deliver asset installation across all utility providers, which will further help the industry build the skills of the workforce necessary to create the infrastructure crucial for advancing a net zero economy.”  

Gordon Parkes, Executive Director People and Culture NIE Networks, who has been a primary driver of this initiative said: “Achieving net zero by 2050 and green energy skills requirements presents both a significant challenge and opportunity that no one employer in the sector can deal with on their own. Labour market demographics for Northern Ireland over the next ten years highlight a reducing labour pool at the very time when 28,000 new jobs will be created in this very important growth sector.  We need strong collaboration by all employers in the sector supported by DfE, CITB NI and the Education Sector to develop more exciting apprenticeships and Higher Level Apprenticeships which will lead to interesting, secure, well paid and highly skilled jobs.”

Cormac O’Donnell, Operations Director for Keir Natural Resources, Nuclear and Networks added: “We are proud to be involved in this innovative approach to deliver practical training and create opportunities for those wanting to work in our sector.  As one of the UK's leading infrastructure services providers, Kier is committed to being at the forefront of training our sector’s next generation of professionals. This programme will support their progression, helping us to train the workforce who will be critical to delivering a net zero economy.” 

Graeme Wilkinson, Head of Skills at DfE, commented:
“This new training programme being delivered by CITB NI aligns well with the Department for the Economy’s 10x Economic Vision and Skills Strategy, including the Green Skills agenda. We want to see more people learning the skills needed to ensure Northern Ireland is well positioned to maximise the opportunities available as we move towards net zero. I encourage everyone who is eligible and interested in this exciting field of work to access this training and gain industry-recognised qualifications and certification.”

Programme numbers are limited, to book a place email NIE Networks.