Latest LMI published by TESP shares new skills insights

New Labour Market Intelligence published by The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership has shown an increased focus on low carbon activities and an increase in expected demand for qualified electricians and apprentices.

The detailed LMI study, carried out by research expert, Pye Tait, and funded by industry charity, NET, has provided up-to-date information on the electrotechnical sector in terms of its size, workforce demography, challenges and opportunities that it faces.

With a total workforce of around 276,000, best case scenario calculations estimate that around 33,000 additional workers are needed by 2027. Of those employers questioned, 54% and 49% respectively expect demand for qualified electricians and apprentices to increase over next two to three years.

There has been more work associated with net zero carbon agenda compared to 2020, with an increased number of businesses undertaking related activities such as heat pump installations (15% in 2023 vs 7% in 2020), Micro renewables (18% vs 12%), grid-sized renewables (11% vs 6%) and electrical performance certification (23% vs 3%).

When looking at which technologies are likely to have most significant impact over the next three years, responses included energy efficiency management (38%), EV or vehicle to grid infrastructure (31%), automation (21%) and network/wi-fi enabled devices (20%).

53% foresee no challenges in adopting new technology, up from 19% in 2018-19, indicating increased business confidence. However, the hardest roles to fill were cited as supervisors (73%), apprentices (53%), and directors/managers (50%). The highest volumes of hard-to-fill roles are skilled electricians and apprentices.

Main future challenges that employers highlight include labour pool and skills shortages, new technologies, net zero targets and rising costs. Barriers to net zero technology adoption include lack of available training, upskilling costs and insufficient government guidance and funding.

Drawing together all findings in the report, Pye Tait states that the two largest challenges the industry is currently facing are attracting a sufficient number of high-quality recruits and upskilling the existing workforce to meet changing technological needs.

“There is a task ahead to ensure we avoid skills shortages but it’s within the gift of employers to do something about it,” says Ruth Devine, Chair of TESP. “In addition to the recruitment of apprentices, there are many options to train staff already within the business. The concept of ‘Electrician Plus’ – upskilling qualified electricians in new technologies and wider CPD – presents a real business opportunity that should be seized upon.

“There are also thousands of learners on full time courses who are industry ready and could go through an accelerated apprenticeship, become qualified quicker and deliver benefits sooner. There’s no reason not to look at recruiting or upskilling as a way to grow your business and ensure the industry meets the challenges ahead,” concludes Ruth.

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