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Applications open to join energy industry’s diversity and inclusion taskforce

09 August 2022

Press contacts for journalists

Joshua Atkins

Head of Communications

press@energynetworks.org

ENA Press Office

press@energynetworks.org

Tackling Inclusion and Diversity in Energy (TIDE) is a new taskforce which aims to improve Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) across the energy industry, through collaboration with existing groups and taking an industry-wide approach. TIDE is jointly supported by ENA, Energy UK and Ofgem. 

Sent on behalf of the TIDE initiative 

Tackling Inclusion and Diversity in Energy (TIDE) is a new taskforce which aims to improve Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) across the energy industry, through collaboration with existing groups and taking an industry-wide approach.

TIDE was launched with ten initial members at the industry’s annual EDI conference in June this year, where delegates were also asked to provide feedback on the group’s suggested priorities.

Now the feedback has been reviewed, three initial priority areas have been agreed and the taskforce is opening the group for up to ten further organisations to join. It is hoped that this phased approach will enable the group to engage with people who can bring skills to support delivery against the priorities and provide opportunities for people who may not already have visibility within industry, but have valuable experience and ideas.

The initial priority areas will focus on:

  • Insight gathering and benchmarking
  • Sharing practical tools for best practice
  • Engaging with leaders to drive change

The nomination process for joining TIDE will run from 9 August – 26 August. Candidates will be asked to submit a short testimonial including how their skills will help to achieve the taskforce’s priorities, and how they think they can bring different perspectives to the group. The taskforce will run initially for 18 months after which a review will take place to determine if it should continue. It will meet every two months from its first meeting in September. To ensure work is completed outside of meetings, members must commit to being able to contribute 6 – 10 hours a month. Nominees are welcome to submit their applications via TIDE's Survey Monkey.

The group is also looking for specific roles to be filled which include:

  • Supply chain liaison
  • Government liaison
  • Industry EDI groups liaison

Celia Anderson, Offshore Wind Skills Strategy Lead at RWE and Chair of TIDE, said: “Improving EDI is not just about doing the right thing, it makes business sense. It needs to be embedded in organisational strategies as a business priority, and so it’s essential we engage with leaders to drive change across the energy industry.

“With the current challenges the industry is facing, EDI is part of the solution to achieve the growth and drive to Net Zero. In fact the case for enabling diverse workforces is strengthened as we will need thousands more people to join our industry over the next decade.

“All companies need to do more – some are working well in some areas but all have further work to do to be more inclusive and diverse. We need to build a picture of which companies are leading the way and learn how they’ve done it and how they have benefitted, alongside which companies need to do more – and make it as easy as possible for them to understand why EDI is important, and implement effective initiatives.

“We know it will take time to see tangible results as culture change doesn't happen overnight, but there are many simple steps companies can take immediately that will make a difference. I am hopeful that by working collaboratively, connecting with the right people, and sharing knowledge and best practice we can take actions now that will drive long-term improvements.”

Notes to editor

More information about TIDE can be found here: https://www.energy-uk.org.uk/energy-industry/equality-and-diversity/tide-taskforce.html

TIDE was launched with representatives from the following organisations:

  • OWIC Diversity Working Group / RWE
  • Energy UK
  • Energy Networks Association / Pride in Energy
  • Ofgem
  • Citizens Advice
  • CGI / Young Energy Professionals
  • KPMG
  • Electralink
  • JLW Innovations
  • POWERful Women

Qualitative feedback was sought through facilitated discussions at the conference, held both in-person and online.

Specific questions were posed around setting EDI targets and data collection:

  • It is clear there is a broad range of approaches across different companies.
  • Data must be collected before targets are set, but there are many barriers in collecting data due to trust in data privacy and why the data is being sought, response rate and resource.
  • Companies are in need of practical ways to improve response rates and also achieve targets, such as roadmaps and examples of what has worked.
  • Targets must be used for the right reasons and not just as a box ticking exercise.
  • Overall, the majority of groups concluded that industry-wide targets would not be effective, recognising that each organisation is on its own journey.
  • Geographical and physical workplace considerations e.g. offshore were also discussed.

Specific questions were also posed around a Diversity Commitment of best practice which companies could sign up to:

  • The feedback included tangible ideas of what could be included, such as ensuring organisations have an EDI strategy, Board-level EDI representation and follow best practice in recruitment.
  • However, it was also noted that more work needs to be done to determine what best practice is, as well as ensuring that leaders are engaged; therefore, this has been pushed to a longer-term activity for the taskforce.
  • It is hoped that by first gathering insight and benchmarking, sharing best practice, and putting the business case forward for leaders to drive change, that a diversity commitment will be more effective.

There is need for a library or platform for shared best practice and educational resources:

  • This will be created as part of a new EDI Hub.
  • The Hub will contain links to webinars, as well as specific organizations that can help organisations improve their EDI actions, suggestions of which were also sought at the conference.

Other areas that were raised in the feedback will be covered as part of a series of knowledge boosters and best practice case studies for EDI professionals including:

  • data collection and targets
  • recruitment
  • EDI strategies
  • mentoring, reverse mentoring and shadow boards.

Quantitative feedback was also collected via an anonymous survey, but responses were limited (48) and so the following results should be interpreted in this context:

  • leadership driving change was cited as the top challenge for improving EDI in industry
  • this was followed by “culture” and a lack of visible role models.

Respondents were also asked to suggest other groups the taskforce could engage with, this input has been valuable.

About Energy Networks Association

Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the companies which operate the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.

ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.

Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Grid Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.

What are energy network operators?

Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 45,000 people in the UK and Ireland. They are represented by their industry body, Energy Networks Association (that's us).

Press contacts for journalists

Joshua Atkins

Head of Communications

press@energynetworks.org

ENA Press Office

press@energynetworks.org