SCOTTISH utility firms are among the employers bidding to attract more diverse talent to the UK energy industry in a new scheme.

The Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, led by 28 companies across the UK, has launched a long-term commitment to plug a 220,000 expected skills gap by 2027 and improve inclusion across the industry.

ScottishPower, Scottish Water, SGN and SSE are among the firms involved.

Women, people with disabilities, the Black and minority ethnic (BAME) community and under 24s are all under-represented in the sector.

The partnership has launched a Workforce Renewal Skills Strategy to tackle this, with SSE also investing in a three-year strategy to improve diversity.

Colin Nicol, SSE’s managing director, networks, and EU Skills Council member, said: “There’s no quick fix or one-off initiative to build a more diverse workforce. It requires systemic change to give the best opportunity to attract, retain and develop the broadest range of talent.

“Action, not words alone, will drive diversity and this commitment is backed up with tangible outputs from all organisations involved to bring about the change we need.”

Nick Ellins, chief executive of the Energy & Utility Skills Group, added: “Through the inaugural skills strategy, led by the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, the UK’s utilities and their contractors have set out their ambition to enhance the diversity of their workforces and be ever more inclusive.

“This new commitment is a framework. It starts the collective action to help the sector workforce better mirror the communities it serves and secure the unquestionable benefits that result from having vibrant, truly inclusive and diverse teams.”

The energy and utilities sector is the largest single contributor to the UK’s infrastructure strategy.