Northern Powergrid

Northern Powergrid



  • 180510-webV-NPg's David Wright, NPG's Sally Hartley, IPA's Keith Waller, NPG's Ian Hulbert with Nick Ellins, EUS.jpgNorthern Powergrid is one of 28 companies receiving an award for promoting investment in skills and training through the Procurement Skills Accord
  • The Accord has stimulated a number of advances for the sector, including an increase in the percentage of the eligible workforce accessing training
  • Piloted in October 2016,  the number of signatories has since grown from five to 38
  • The Accord requires signatories to adhere to five audited commitments

Energy and utilities companies - including Northern Powergrid - that signed a pledge to promote investment in training and development through procurement across their supply chains have been recognised at a ceremony today (10 May) at the Crowne Plaza in Birmingham.

The event has been organised to coincide with the release of the Annual Report results of the Procurement Skills Accord which chart the initiative’s performance during its first year.

Northern Powergrid and fellow signatory companies have committed to:

  • address sector-wide skills gaps & shortages
  • promote signing up to the Accord through their supply chain
  • promote relevant skills development across the supply chain through procurement
  • continuously improve performance
  • monitor and report relevant performance.

The Annual Report results include a series of encouraging outcomes:

  • nearly 74% of eligible companies (28 of 38) achieved the commitments.
  • of the 28, four attained over 95% of available marks.
  • close to 70% of the companies with a relevant supply chain onboarded at least one new suppler.
  • 86% of signatories demonstrated a commitment to continuous improvement through sustainable workforce practices.
  • a 1.5% increase in the percentage of the eligible workforce of nearly 39,000 were given access to technical and operational training during the last year – up from 9.5% to 11%.

The 2015 National Infrastructure Plan for Skills identified a number of challenges across sectors, regions and skills groups, to keep productivity high, costs affordable and ensure the delivery of the infrastructure pipeline to 2020 and beyond.

One of the key challenges was to find a mechanism to incentivise skills investment through procurement and engagement approaches that would provide appropriate incentives to retrain and up-skill the workforce to meet future skills demands. The energy and utilities sector’s work to meet this challenge through the Procurement Skills Accord Project was recognised and welcomed by Her Majesty’s Treasury.

The Accord was piloted in October 2016 and the number of signatories, of lead and supply chain companies, has since grown to 38.

Kate Davies, Chief Operating Officer at Energy & Utility Skills,* said: “The Procurement Skills Accord was built by the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership and it is exciting to see such progress after just one year. The Procurement Skills Accord’s commitments are robust and are part of ensuring our sector proactively tackles its skills challenges through investment in its current workforce through the supply chain as well as creating new opportunities. By focusing on formal training programmes targeted in areas of current and future skills shortages, participating companies are ensuring appropriate impact in the right place. The results achieved and the awards are well deserved.”

Nick Ellins, Chief Executive at Energy & Utility Skills, added: “The results of the Procurement Skills Accord shows how structured collaboration between the asset holders and their supply chain partners increases investment in training and builds valuable resilience in to the sector’s workforce.

“We can all talk about achieving resilient UK infrastructure, but unless you have the people and capabilities to make it resilient, it’s an arbitrary point. The workforce in the utility sector, is delivering the largest single contribution to the £0.5 trillion National Infrastructure Plan and daily essential services of key strategic value to the UK economy.”

Andy Bilclough, Northern Powergrid’s Head of Delivery, City Zones, said: “We’re proud to be part of the Accord. Providing training and development to enhance the skills of people working in our industry is key, and the Accord is helping us to extend this priority beyond our business and into our supply chain. 

“Through our procurement processes we’re ensuring that our suppliers and contractors demonstrate how they are improving skills across their workforce, and delivering training and development that will attract and retain quality people. 

“Our sector is going through exciting changes with growth in low-carbon and smart technologies. As we move towards more active networks, ensuring we have access to highly skilled people, both in our business and via our supply chain, is vital. The Accord will support our focus on engaging the skilled professionals we need to manage our network now and in the future for our customers.”

The Accord steering group is inviting other sector employers to consider signing up. Initial enquiries can be made via   

Read more about the Accord here and its proceeding to full roll-out here.

The energy and utilities sector combined accounts for the greatest share of the UK Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline (2017/18 - 2020/21). The combined share is 43% (£104.8bn), which is significantly greater than the next largest category – transport at £78.5bn, which is responsible for 29% of 2017/18 – 2020/21 Pipeline.