UK Power Networks is set to train the next generation of electrical engineers, with the distribution network operator taking on 21 new apprentices.
All the trainees will spend three years completing the foundation apprenticeship specialising in one of three traditional crafts as electrical linespeople, fitters or jointers learning how to safely repair, maintain and connect overhead lines, substations or underground cables. Two of the trainees will join the commercial arm of the business, UK Power Networks Services, working on infrastructure projects at Stansted Airport and the Ministry of Defence.
UK Power Networks is responsible for delivering power to 8.3 million homes and businesses across London, the South East and East of England, with the new recruits ensuring that the network is fit for the next generation. However, that network is constantly evolving, with the distribution network operator currently spending millions on upgrading it ready for the UK’s transition to net zero.
Charlie Aston, engineering trainee manager at UK Power Networks, commented, “This is a time of great change in the electricity industry and the apprentices will learn to play a key role in maintaining reliable electricity supplies. The future is bright for these new recruits and if they perform well, they can look forward to a secure future and excellent working conditions.
“Once they are fully trained, they will keep power flowing to our communities, provide new connections, upgrade electricity substations and carry out essential electrical maintenance. We refer to them as ‘keeping the lights on’, but these trainees will do much more than that as our essential networks power heating, lighting, the internet and electric vehicles.”
Speaking of their acceptance to an apprenticeship at UK Power Networks, Owen Ryan, 22, from Luton, noted, “Both my uncles have previously worked for this company so I’ve always had an interest in the field. Apprenticeships are important because it gives you that practical experience while you earn at the same time. I’m looking forward to completing my training to become a fully qualified overhead linesperson.”
Joseph Davey, 18, from Peterborough, added, “I studied electrical installation at college for the last two years at level two and three so this feels like the next logical step. An apprenticeship is a nice blend of further education combined with practical work and that suits someone like me who is more hands-on.”
The first five months of the apprentice’s training is at Bridgwater and Taunton College in Somerset where they will complete a City and Guilds qualification in Electrical Power Engineering. This is the technical qualification required to achieve the Level 3 Power Networks Craftsperson Apprenticeship. The practical element of the apprenticeship will be completed at the company’s dedicated training centres in Suffolk and Kent coupled with on-the-job training with experienced field staff, putting new skills into practice under personal supervision.
Since 2016 all foundation apprentices who join UK Power Networks have completed the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award as part of their training, fostering a spirit of teamwork and resilience.
Following the latest Ofsted monitoring visit the company’s training programme continues to be placed in the top 3% of employer training providers.