Chris Watkin, Head of People and Change at Guernsey Electricity, is working hard to ensure the company has the right balance of skills and expertise to deliver the energy transition for the benefit of all Islanders.
“As a community, we are taking positive strides towards our goal of becoming net zero carbon by 2050. That’s a challenging target but there is commitment from our government and an energy policy that sets a platform for Guernsey to transition towards decarbonisation.
Guernsey Electricity has an important role to play in helping the Island to achieve these environmental aspirations and a net zero future. As part of this responsibility, we must ensure we have the right people and skills to help deliver the energy transition.
The energy transition will increase our electricity requirements. To support this, we will need investment at a network level and larger cable capacities to meet the demand from not just heating homes and running appliances but powering more electric vehicles and other services.
What will our workforce in the future look like?
Advances in energy technology means that there has been a shift in the skills and experience that are needed to deliver the full spectrum of roles that keep our Island’s energy system running smoothly both now and in the future.
There will always been a need for Guernsey Electricity’s engineers, cable jointers, control room operators, electricians and mechanical operators. However, over time employees will need to be more future-focused with skills in tune with the evolution of the energy industry and developing technologies.
We will require more specific skillsets, such as submarine cable specialists and contractors who can install a variety of assets from photovoltaic systems to electric vehicle charging points both in private homes and public places.
Whilst the power station will be used less frequently for emergencies only, it will still remain an important part of our infrastructure.
Adapting to deliver
Adaptability will be key as we recruit employees with a forward-looking view of how our industry will develop and ensure we harness technological advances for the benefit of our wider Island community.
The energy professionals of the future will have a broad range of skills and expertise, relevant to the advances in the energy technology market. Digital specialists will play an important role within the business. Already, we have a new cohort of customer service employees who are digitally savvy, which helps to improve our service offering to customers.
With infrastructure to maintain and develop on Island and through our cable network to Europe, engineers will always have a vital role to play and there will also be a need for future engineers to be comfortable in the digital space as technology continues to advance.
Guernsey Electricity have a number of women across the business, including pivotal roles such as chief operating officer, project lead, legal council, HR and accounts and we hope to see the gender balance improve further in the coming years too as we recognise the benefits that diversity brings to overall business performance.
As the skills and expertise in the energy sector evolve, so does our training requirements. As a business, we invest heavily in training and more specifically our recently appointed head of energy transition solutions will help to join the skills we offer as a company with the Island’s changing energy demands.
Preparing the business for the future is an exciting task. Already we are working to embed a forward-thinking culture within the organisation that welcomes and is adaptable to change. We have a real opportunity to harness the positive changes within the energy sector for the benefit of all in our community, upskill our employees and recruit with one eye firmly on the future and the energy transition.
Our strategy aims to have the right people in the right jobs, focused on the right things. It is focused on ensuring our people lead the energy transition and play a strategic role in tackling climate change.
Alongside this renewed sense of purpose, we are investing in our people and focusing on creating a great place to work. We wish to provide a space where people feel valued for their contribution with a culture that encourages continuous improvement for the benefit of our community.
We have and important part to play and we are ready to be agile and adaptable to embrace the changes coming towards us.”