On Thursday 13th June, 2019, National Grid hosted a visit by Her Majesty’s OFSTED Chief Inspector (HMCI) Amanda Spielman to their Eakring Learning Centre.

The visit gave National Grid the opportunity to share how they are using apprenticeships to invest in the skills of its future workforce and in turn support the UK skills and climate change agenda.

The National Learning and Development Centre, situated in Eakring, Nottinghamshire is the only one of its kind in the UK, and HMCI was given a special tour of the site. The visit follows Ofsted’s most recent inspection of National Grid’s Apprenticeship programmes where the company was graded as “Outstanding” for the third consecutive time.

The centre offers a range of technical, professional and leadership development programmes, in addition to residential work experience programmes with 50% female attendance, to encourage more young women to consider exciting STEM career opportunities, helping to address the STEM gender gap.

Home to an array of immersive learning environments like an electricity substation, overhead lines, virtual reality suites and the only fully functional gas transmission training facility in Europe, the Eakring Learning Centre is the only UK training facility of its kind.

HMCI was not only shown these facilities but also spent time speaking to National Grid apprentices about their development journey’s and facilities available on site.  These include fully equipped training rooms, state of the art practical training workshops and residential accommodation for the trainees.

John Tyler, UK Head of Academy at National Grid, said:

“It was a pleasure to welcome Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector (HMCI) Amanda Spielman to Eakring Learning Centre. It gave us the opportunity to share our knowledge, discuss and demonstrate that we are fully invested in the current and future skills of our organisation and that of the broader UK economy.”

Freddie Chidlow, Substation Advanced Apprentice at National Grid, said:

“I initially went to university to study physical education, but I felt it wasn’t the right path for me. I wanted to try something different where I could combine training with actual work experience. I’ve always had an interest in this industry, and I’m pleased that I joined the National Grid Apprenticeship programme. This opportunity is a great way to get the qualifications and experience I need to start my career. There are many facilities and courses on site that will help shape my future.”

Ofsted Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman said,

“I am delighted to have visited the National Grid Learning Centre in Nottinghamshire. It was really inspiring to hear from apprentices about their training to be the engineers of tomorrow, keeping the country fully powered. I was particularly pleased to learn that the centre has a residential work experience programme where 50% of the attendees are girls, to encourage them into STEM careers.”

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