Diversity & Inclusion Charter
In collaboration with the Heat Networks Industry Council (HeatNIC), Equans has led the introduction of a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) charter; supporting growth in the sector as it strives to deliver low carbon heating solutions. The HeatNIC is comprised of heat network operators and energy firms that deliver heat to almost 500,000 UK customers as an alternative from gas-boiler heating.
District heating currently only accounts for around 2% of all heat generated in the UK. However, the Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy sets out the government’s intention to scale up low-carbon heat networks and create a step-change in low-carbon heat network market growth
To meet the unprecedented growth required to scale up low-carbon heat networks, as many as 35,000 new direct jobs in the sector will need to be created by 2050. This growth of low carbon heat networks and the transition to net zero heating will require a skilled workforce, specialised in the installation, operation and maintenance of low carbon heat generation, systems, and networks. In addition to the technical work force, it will need expertise in a wide range of areas including commercial, legal, communications and customer service.
The D&I charter will be adopted by signatory companies, which will have to honour seven commitments, comprising:
Create an inclusive environment in our workplaces
Achieve best practice in recruitment, retention, and career progression practices
Actively promote diverse representation at events
Collect data and monitor their organisation’s progress
Lead by example and support the development of good diversity practice by collecting and sharing examples of practical activities that contribute to progress with other signatories
Develop and adopt future protocols that support practical implementation of the aims of the charter
Commit to senior leadership responsibility for Diversity & Inclusion commitments and initiatives
The D&I charter is one initiative developed by HeatNIC's Jobs and Skills working group. Alongside it, an annual workforce survey has been developed which aims to gather data on the make-up of the heat networks workforce, skills and training gaps for growth and on the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) strategies put in place by organisations. The independent survey is being undertaken in partnership with the ADE, BEIS and with support of the National Skills Academy for rail.