Martin Grant

UK & Europe

Martin is the chief executive officer of Atkins’ Energy business, is a chartered engineer and Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers with both a BSc and PhD in Mechanical Engineering as well as the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) Silver Medal. He was also appointed as an RAE Fellow in 2012.

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One of the most significant challenges facing the energy sector is the impending retirement of the ‘baby boomer’ generation – our most experienced engineers. As highlighted in the Energy section of the report, the UK has not built a new nuclear power station for more than 20 years, meaning the only engineers with the relevant skills and experience will either be in the later stages of their career or have gained their knowledge from overseas. To be losing these individuals and their experience to retirement is itself a crisis. Coupled with a shortage of young engineers coming through the system, we are going to struggle to resource projects at both ends of the spectrum.

With the government’s National Infrastructure Plan containing energy projects totalling £274bn, with £194.7bn of that already in construction and £80.2bn set aside for future investment, skills must continue to be a top priority in the ever evolving energy landscape. These are large scale projects which will need high levels of experienced, technical and safety engineering professionals to deliver the programmes such as Moorside and Hinkley Point C, as well as the potential for new approaches like the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon to come online alongside maintenance of existing infrastructure.

We are also witnessing increasing levels of engineers moving across sectors. With fewer people with the right skills available, wages will be used, as we are already seeing today, as a mechanism to attract the best talent onto key infrastructure projects. This in turn will have a rippling impact across all the infrastructure sectors. As wages are driven up, this puts additional cost pressures on projects. It is important that this is accounted for as projects are developed.

The need for new energy infrastructure has already driven the sector to focus very carefully in recent years on the current skills resources available and what we need to do to tackle a skills shortage. Hinkley Point C is a great example of business and government working collaboratively, identifying a skills gap and plugging it. With specific qualifications and training on many energy projects, it’s important we have funding and opportunities for individuals to be skilled up to the standards required on these projects. This is why government, which recognised the training needs of this major infrastructure project demand extra resource, allocated £1.275 million to support a consortium of training providers across the South West to up-skill and re-train local people. We need to take these positive, working examples as best practice in assessing and understanding our resourcing challenges and use them across other sectors before the skills shortage challenge sets in and impacts future projects.

The full skills report is available to view / download here.

Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, North America, Rest of World, UK & Europe,

Jo Moffatt from Atkins’ Energy business has been recognised in the Power Part Time List 2014 as one of the UK’s top 50 part-time and flexible working executives, one of only two engineers to make the list, alongside senior employees from companies including Sky, the BBC and HSBC.

Here, Dr Martin Grant, chief executive officer of Atkins’ Energy business discusses flexibility and the work-life balance, and why it is important for both employer and employee.

In recent years there has been a wide spread realisation that managing the work-life balance is a critical part of business in the 21st century.

Recognising that peoples’ lives are genuinely more complex and fast paced today than they were 10 years ago has resulted in a need to address how the world of work sits in an employees broader life.

We are extremely proud that Jo has been included in this high profile list of successful professionals who work part time. Jo has been a role model for people across Atkins who want to work flexibly, and as one of the first people in the business to work in a flexible way, she has encouraged and mentored others to look at the options open to them.

Flexible working is not necessarily about working fewer hours but about being supported in managing the various constraints of personal and professional circumstance in a way that is agreeable to all parties.

People should not be prevented from progressing their careers because of other life commitments – a single parent or carer should have the same opportunity to advance as everyone else, but without a degree of flexibility on both sides this can prove difficult. For me, the recognition of Jo and the others on the list is demonstration of the fact that this isn’t just about allowing people to keep working, it can also be about providing a route for individuals to reach the top of their profession whilst working part time for all or some of their careers.

At Atkins, flexibility is not a one size fits all approach, different people will have different requirements throughout their lives and we try really hard to be mindful of this – it’s a powerful tool that can be used to help both individuals and organisations grow and become stronger.

By making work as accessible as possible to as many as possible, businesses are far more likely to attract and retain skilled workers. They are also likely to encourage a more diverse workforce at senior levels – something a large percentage of organisations are currently striving towards.

UK & Europe,