The future is bright for the LPG workforce By George Webb, Liquid Gas UK CEO

Friday 7th January 2022

The New Year is a time of reflection – what went well over the last 12 months, what challenges we overcame, and thoughts of what 2022 will bring. New Year’s resolutions are made, and if I was to make one for the LPG industry, it would be to pledge to attract the best new talent to future-proof the sector.

Attracting people to the low carbon energy sector

Bolstering the LPG workforce is a current opportunity to overcome. This is why we have already made it a sector-wide priority to take on more apprentices and attract greater numbers of newly qualified university graduates. They will bring new ideas, skills and knowledge to allow us to make the most of the prospects on the low carbon energy sector horizon.

As with the rest of the energy sector, we have faced graduate recruitment challenges, with graduates currently equating to just 0.5% of our labour force. Additionally, just over 1% of our workforce is made up of apprentices, a figure that is notably lower than the energy and utilities sector average of 5%.

As we are also faced with the challenge of an aging workforce, the recruitment of more graduates and apprentices will prevent a future employee shortage too. Currently, 63% of the LPG industry workforce is aged 40 or over, and, unsurprisingly, it’s estimated that in the next decade 27% of the whole of the energy sector workforce will retire.

Enabling personnel

Re-skilling those working within other areas of the energy sector will be vitally important in the LPG industry’s transition to decarbonisation. There is currently a manual skills gap within the LPG sector, so we need to create an exciting offering to attract more installers, plant operators, engineers and HGV drivers.

As demonstrated by Liquid Gas UK’s 2020 Industry Census, over £100m is currently being invested into bioLPG and a total investment of £600m into the LPG Industry is planned over the next five years. Some of this will be spent helping those working in the oil sector to transfer skills and become gas safe engineers, who can help us to deliver net zero by retraining in LPG and then bio-LPG installation.

Training and employee development is also of high priority which is why between January and May 2020, £1,059,582 was invested in upskilling the workforce. At Liquid Gas UK, we’re also leading the way with recognising the talent already in the sector, celebrating the outstanding work individuals are doing.

Recognising achievements

As part of our responsibility as a member organisation to promote advancement and shout about those who are newer to the industry, we launched the inaugural Young Person in LPG Awards in the autumn of 2021.

The awards were open to people aged 30 or under, providing an opportunity to recognise the hard work of young people and encourage their passion and enthusiasm for the industry.

The winners were announced at our annual conference in November. Melissa Chisell, from AvantiGas, was awarded Young Apprentice of the Year, with Jess Speed, from Continental, taking home the accolade for Rising Star of the Year.

Looking ahead

It’s vital we continue to look to the future. Liquid Gas UK will be running another Census in 2022 to ensure we have up-to-date picture of the LPG landscape and workforce, and we’ll once again giving employees the opportunity to recognise their achievements at the next Young Person in LPG Awards.

So, as the Christmas songs take over the radio and the festivities begin, I’m optimistic about the future of our industry – with the right people on board – the future is bright!

The trade association for the LPG and bioLPG industry in the UK