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Grid for Good

Guest Contributor - Catch 22, about 2 years ago

In a time when youth unemployment is a major concern, and 47% of those furloughed are under 24, the energy industry is struggling to attract strong candidates.

In the UK, the energy industry needs to recruit for 400,000 jobs between now and 2050, to meet demand and tackle climate change. The motivations for getting involved in the energy sector are now lucrative, sustainable, and can offer the opportunity to build a cleaner, greener way of life, but the sector desperately needs to find the candidates.

The challenge can be finding those who arewilling to go through additional training. For some who are ready and able, they can often be put off by the huge upfront cost of study. By the time those who have taken on that cost graduate, the attraction of traditionally lucrative careers wins; in 2019, more than 40% of UK physics graduates, a key target for the industry, chose careers in banking, finance and technology.

Tackling both youth unemployment and this industry problem, Catch22 is working with National Grid on their 'Grid for Good' programme. The scheme supports young people who have faced barriers to work, from health challenges or a criminal record, to those with no qualifications or with an extended time out of work, to get into the energy industry. People with low educational attainment, ex-offenders and the recently unemployed are all supported to both upskill and find a new career in an industry in which a skills shortage is affecting the whole country.

From Catch22's networks, young people are recruited into the programme and are supported in gaining an insight into the energy industry. Grid for Good works with nine charities across the UK and abroad, and over the next ten years, expects to help 22,000 people enter the industry and thrive in a truly sustainable career.

Through twelve weeks, participants receive two weeks work experience and access to job opportunities, including apprenticeships and internships. Through a strong alumni support network, made up of former participants of the programme, even more opportunities open and new recruits are able to access additional help. So far, Grid for Good has helped over 1000 young people and has 600 National Grid employees registered as volunteers.

Lewis Bennett has participated in the Grid for Good programme. As well as one-to-one careers support, Lewis attended workshops that developed his communications and teamwork skills, and others which focus on his CV-writing, interview skills, and building a personal profile.

He says that before Grid for Good:

No-one really sat through with me, apart from my parents, to work on my CV.

Lewis adds that his resilience has improved though the Grid for Good collaboration:

You've got to put yourself out there and keep trying.

Lewis is one of hundreds of young people Catch22 has been supporting to build a future career and he now has a permanent role at the National Grid.

To keep opening these doors, and ensure we are leading young people down truly sustainable paths, programmes like Grid for Good are essential.

Click here to get involved in Grid for Good through Catch22.