The importance of recruiting a diverse workforce to deliver net zero

Alyssa Blackledge is completing an apprenticeship within National Grid Electricity Transmission, where she is currently training to become a substation craftsperson in the Northwest of England. She writes about the importance of apprenticeships in getting to net zero, and the crucial need for more diversity in these roles to get us there faster.

I’ve been fascinated by technology from a young age, and first twigged that I wanted a hands-on, practical career when I was a sixteen-year-old college student, restless in the classroom. I really love everything about engineering: my job brings constant variety. Every day presents a fresh challenge or a new project to work on.

An apprenticeship with National Grid was a brilliant way for me to combine my love of technology with my desire to be learning on the job. I’m passionate about delivering a cleaner, greener future, too, and realised that apprentices have a vital role to play in getting the UK to net zero. I’m really proud to be part of this workforce.

The industry has to make sure that apprentices are recruited from diverse backgrounds. Fresh challenges need fresher thinking in order to tackle them in the most efficient way. This is one of the many reasons why it’s so important to have a diverse team. If everyone has the same way of thinking, everything always gets done in the same way – stifling innovation. We need people from a range of different backgrounds, with a variety of experiences and perspectives to help us get to net zero faster.

I’m super passionate about increasing diversity in the industry – there’s still lots of work to be done to recruit more women into the sector, for example. National Grid’s own research shows that the sector needs to recruit for 400,000 jobs between now and 2050 to get the UK to net zero.

Many people might say that one person alone can’t make a difference when it comes to climate change, but when you work on delivering the energy transition, that doesn’t feel like it’s true. Being part of an organisation that is at the forefront of the future of energy empowers me every day and I’d really encourage others to think about becoming an apprentice – no matter what stage of their career they are currently at.

One of the things I love about working at National Grid is that I’m at the heart of innovation and cutting-edge technology. I have experienced first-hand how invaluable apprenticeships are in giving young people the tools and knowledge to train in their respective fields and join the net zero energy workforce.

It’s crucial that we build upon our outreach and continue to attract a wider, more diverse array of talent to the industry so that we can deliver a clean, fair, and affordable energy future for the communities that we serve.