From education to employment

UK Power Networks hires first 26 of 54 apprentices to power up Net Zero

Twenty-six new apprentices have joined the workforce at UK Power Networks, to gain skills that keep power flowing, while helping more low carbon technologies to connect.

UK Power Networks is recruiting 54 apprentices in 2023, developing new skills to keep the lights on as experienced staff retire and serve the low carbon economy.

The apprentices will spend the next two years learning traditional skills to rigorous standards, maintaining a reliable electricity network for 8.5 million homes and businesses across London, the South East and East of England. Their work will support power infrastructure which will enable people to use an estimated 4.3 million Electric Vehicles and 650,000 heat pumps by 2030.

Recruits will train to become experts as either electrical linespeople, fitters or jointers and learn how to repair, maintain and connect overhead lines, substations or underground cables. Practical skills taught in the company’s dedicated training centres in Suffolk and Kent, will be put into practice during on-the-job training where they will live, work and serve their local communities.

Demand for places was high, with nearly 700 applications for 26 roles. The highly-acclaimed training scheme, accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, has a high retention rate of 98% and 25% of recruits achieve distinction. The apprentices train in Level 3 Apprenticeship Standards.

Cairo Hyde, 19, fromLewisham, London, is training to be a cable jointer at Camberwell. He said:

“I studied electrics at college and this was the career route I wanted to take so I’m excited and can’t wait to get started. I’ll work on underground cables that connect power to the area. I’m proud of the work I’ll be doing because I’m going to make a difference.

“I enjoyed maths at school and considered where I could implement maths in a career, so I looked at engineering. I did an internship with UK Power Networks, working on electrical design. I enjoyed it, but realised I like being hands-on, rather than working in the office. I feel comfortable here, it’s a very welcoming and open company. They help you when you need help, but they also make sure you can stand on your own two feet.”

Charlie Aston, engineering trainee manager at UK Power Networks, said:

“The next decade is set to be a transformative time for the electricity sector as Britain progresses towards achieving Net Zero. We are investing in training local talent to make sure we have the pipeline of essential skills necessary to continue providing a great service to our customers.

“Our craft apprenticeship programmes ensure a high-quality, well-trained workforce fit to maintain reliable power supplies and serve our communities. UK Power Networks is recognised as a great place to work and successful apprentices can look forward to secure jobs and exciting career development and training prospects. We would also like more women to apply, and reap the benefits from these rewarding career opportunities.”

Phil Beach, chief executive Energy & Utility Skills, the skills body for the gas, power, waste management and water industries, said:

“We are delighted that new power apprentices are starting their careers at UK Power Networks on the high quality, future-facing apprenticeship standards that are an important part of our work in delivering a safe, skilled and sustainable workforce with employers. As a provider of rigorous end point assessment, Energy & Utility Skills Independent Assessment Service is confident that these power apprenticeships will provide the best possible start to new careers. The drive to Net Zero and a green power grid is creating great opportunities for apprentices of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy long, high-quality careers and make a positive difference to the transformation of the UK power industry.”

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