SSE launches pilot scheme to help job hunters into the industry

Low carbon energy firm SSE has launched a new pilot jobs programme to help recruit people into the industry in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

The UK-listed company, the leading generator of renewable electricity in the UK and Ireland and one of the largest electricity network companies in the UK, has teamed up with STEM Returners to support people who have taken a career break or are looking to return to the sector.

The 12-week programme will help people with STEM skills restart their career and all returners who take part will have the opportunity to gain a full-time position with SSE.

SSE estimate the wider energy industry will need to recruit circa 200,000 people in the next decade, to plug the skills gap and bolster the race to net zero. The company has already announced over 1,000 new jobs since June as part of its £7.5bn investment programme over the next five years to spur a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Stewart, Director of HR at SSE, said: “The energy industry was facing a skills gap before the coronavirus took hold and now with real momentum to build a cleaner, more resilient recovery from the economic impact of coronavirus and reach net zero, the industry will need to recruit thousands more green jobs for the future.

“These are skilled, sustainable roles which will benefit the UK regions; we’ll be building the world’s biggest offshore wind farm off the coast of Yorkshire, Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm off the coast of Moray and two huge projects on Shetland, not to mention the raft of opportunities that exist across many other areas of our business.

“This scheme will help us support people already skilled in STEM industries, back into work where they are very much needed.  In a difficult jobs market, the energy sector is providing some much-needed good news for long-term career prospects in all areas across the UK and Ireland.”

The STEM Returners scheme is just one of several SSE programmes to help tackle the twin challenges of plugging the skills gap and ensuring a more diverse and inclusive energy workforce.

SSE already recruits over 100 apprentices and trainees into the sector every year and is also recruiting over 50 graduates for its development programme with roles in electrical, mechanical and civil engineering, IT, cyber security and other engineering related disciplines.  It also works with Barnardos to support young people with paid work placements.

Currently, only one in 10 UK engineering posts is held by women and only three out of 50 are BAME. The STEM Returners programme has previously comprised of 46% female engineers whilst nearly a third came from an ethnic minority background.

Natalie Desty, Director and founder of the STEM Returners programme, said: “There are lots of initiatives to cater to the next generation of STEM workers, but the STEM Returners programme is aimed specifically at those wishing to go back to engineering mid-career.

“Our record speaks for itself. Helping disadvantaged engineers back into full-time work helps not only them but the STEM sectors as well. To get the opportunity to work with an industry leader like SSE is fantastic and their commitment to workplace diversity is something that should give all engineers heart during what has been a difficult period for the industry.”