Our people are integral to our success and their fulfillment and development is core to our people proposition. The COVID-19 pandemic brought a whole new range of challenges for our employees but with the introduction of flexible working patterns, Wellbeing Toolkits and the creation of a support group for Line Managers, we managed to face the new challenges head-on and keep a highly engaged and productive workforce.
Due to the constraints imposed by the pandemic and ongoing workplace disruption, 27 employees who were unable to work were placed on furlough. The Company has received reimbursement of relevant costs through the UK Governments’ Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
We focused throughout the year on maximizing the use of transferable skills across the company. This saw our colleagues in the tidal and hydro businesses come together with the Uskmouth conversion team to drive the planning and permitting process as well as input into the design and engineering of the project. This allowed us to further demonstrate our commitment to the on-going development of our staff, providing new opportunities to share learning and develop new skills.
Over the past few years, we welcomed the opportunity to engage talented young individuals through internships and work placements and this year we expanded our outreach by launching the Apprenticeship Program. We were very excited to be able to welcome two Apprentices into our ranks in the last quarter of 2020.
Although the momentum on STEM in 2020 was disrupted because of the pandemic, we continued planning our STEM activities with a focus on improving underrepresented groups’ participation in the sustainable energy and engineering sectors. We worked hard in 2020 to establish a plan for high school visits in 2021 to continue being actively involved in the communities in which we operate with the first meetings taking place in quarter one of 2021.
We continued working on implementing the core competencies across the group to support our people with their professional development and to further embed our Company values of Safety, Environment, Tenacity, Innovation and Respect. These competencies also underpin our approach to recruitment where we continue to adopt recruitment best practice, focusing on an inclusive and equitable process.
We want our people to feel motivated to do their best every day. In support of this aim, we launched a company-wide Bonus Scheme in 2020 to ensure our employees have a vested interest in the performance and growth of the company.
Finally, we were honoured to receive two awards at the Scottish Green Energy Awards at the end of 2020: Champion of Renewables and Outstanding Contribution. Both awards highlighted the hard-work, talent and tenacity that our people and our business have shown in the past year.