National gas board ensuring vacancies in Cumbria.
British Gas plans to create approximately 2,600 new roles within the company by 2012 as a result of the smart meter roll-out. These job vacancies will appear all around the UK, mostly at their head-quarters in Leicester, but also here in Cumbria. The 2,600 will include 2,100 smart energy experts working “in the field”, 400 supporting team members and 130 managerial staff. This will obviously mean that 2,100 will be working remotely installing the new meter. Engineering jobs will hence be boosted in the Cumbria area. 1,700 of these jobs are already working for British Gas in some capacity all around the country and it is expected that the remaining 900 new recruits will be people who transfer to British Gas from current third party metering organisations. However, the new employees could be newly trained youths from apprenticeships etc; so the new scheme will no doubt improve employment figures and opportunities.
The 2,600 smart metering jobs are in addition to the 1,500 skilled green jobs British Gas announced in February this year; these roles, which will be filled over the next two years, include: wind farm designers, energy efficiency surveyors and engineers, whether design engineers, mechanical engineers, chemical engineers, or other.
The British Gas Energy Academy
The Energy Academy consists of five training sites across the country; there are facilities in: Dartford, Thatcham, Leeds, Hamilton and Leicester. The training sites each include a “green” training area where apprentices can learn to install smart meters and the low-carbon technologies of the future, including solar panels and biomass boilers. There is also a large British Gas base in Carlisle, which will also be offering training to potential employees in engineering and management fields. The Academy was originally formed in 2003 and has already trained more than 5,000 apprentice engineers, who have gained qualifications equivalent to NVQ Level 3. British Gas has invested £30 million per year in the Energy Academy, and will invest a further £60 million in training over the next two years. The scheme has been very successful with Ofsted awarding the Academy an “Outstanding Grade 1” grade. 96% of Academy recruits complete their training, and 90% remain with the company for five years or more. Once completing the scheme, qualified engineers will earn a minimum of £29,000. This is a huge incentive for the engineers on the scheme looking for the job vacancies and could lead to a huge salary in cheaper areas of living such as in Carlisle, or Cumbria as a whole.
British Gas has the largest smart meter trial in the country with almost 50,000 homes and businesses already benefiting from the new technology. They believe that smart meters could help every home in Britain save energy; the company welcomed the Government’s announcement on 11 May about its plans for the roll-out – and, in particular, its preference for the supplier-led central communications model, which British Gas believes will lead to a speedier roll-out of the technology.
British gas in Carlisle already has a substantial on-going operation and is central to the firm within Cumbria. They offer job opportunities to many in the area, in engineering and management roles, amongst others. This new scheme is going to boost the recruitment process of engineers in Carlisle and lead to safer careers in Cumbria.