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Press Office
0113 322 7950

Out of hours: 0113 322 7978

Stakeholder Relations Team

stakeholder@northerngas.co.uk

Future proofing our workforce

We’re big on pipes at NGN, but we’re even bigger on people.

Without motivated colleagues who believe in what they are doing, we can’t hope to become the world-beating business we aspire to be.

We’ve improved conversations with our workforce, through regular get-togethers to discuss hot topics, and an accessible senior management team that gets out and about across the network. Crucially, these sessions are not just talking shops – they lead to genuine change.

We have a unique relationship with our contractors. We use local engineering firms to deliver all our mains replacement work, as we find their local knowledge and pride in the job benefits everyone. We’ve recently renegotiated new eight-year contracts with these companies, underlying our commitment to these partnerships.

We also remain committed to graduate and apprentice schemes, giving young job seekers a flying start while future proofing our business.

Case studies

We have some exciting projects on the go to help to keep the region cooking on gas and ensure that every penny that we spend delivers maximum value to our customers.

Developing the engineers of the future

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In 2017, we plan to recruit sixteen new operational apprentices and nine apprentices in office roles.

Muzamel Ahmed joined NGN as a graduate mechanical engineer in 2016, and is relishing the opportunity to build a career.

The variety of the work, combined structured programme of training and goal setting, has proved a great launch pad.

Muzamel said:  “The graduate scheme has given me the perfect start to my engineering career with its well-balanced and structured targets.”

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A more flexible workforce

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In our business, flexibility is vital. Workloads can ramp up dramatically in winter months, when the network is under greater strain.

In response, we’ve developed a bespoke training course so that our engineering teams can become qualified Gas Safe Registered engineers in by building on their existing experience. This enables them to provide back-up to our full-time emergency engineers when needed.

The move allows us to ramp up our quota of qualified, professional engineers on the ground, if the weather is unkind to us this winter.

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Getting all our data in a row

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Like many large organisations, the way we store and manage data needs improving.

We are mid-way through a major project to replace a variety of legacy systems with a single, elegant solution. Colleagues will be able to access real-time information on just about any aspect of the business, through an easy-to-use interface.

A huge amount of work is going on to clean up existing data and move it to the new system, which will be rolled out towards the end of 2018.

It will allow us to make quicker and better informed business decisions, right across the company.

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Modernising IT systems and processes

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Historically, we have owned our own IT infrastructure and worked under a model where maintenance and support were outsourced.

Our move to a Cloud based system is making it easier and faster for us to invest in improvements that we need to make for customers and stakeholders, rather than what is available through an existing supply chain.

We estimate these improvement will save around £2m per year, but more importantly, the changes will mean we are in real control of IT and data, so we can be faster in responding to our customers and to emerging business needs.

Bringing our development team in-house is also delivering wider benefits, with the team being able to harness the kind of cutting-edge app technology our colleagues and customers are used to.

Over the past year we have shared our approach with Wales and West Utilities, SGN and Leeds City Council, among other organisations.

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Honing our skills

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Working in such a technically demanding industry, it’s essential that we keep our skills and knowledge up to date.

We run a comprehensive in-house training programme, to ensure colleagues have the right skills for the job. Training has a strong practical focus, and combines practical on site exercises and classroom based learning. We use latest technology, such as Google glass, to bring topics to life.

We also have a skills succession programme, in which younger colleagues shadow older, more experienced engineers, to ensure knowledge is retained within the business when engineers retire. This approach of teaching new dogs old tricks ensures we can face the future with confidence.

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