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Electricity apprentices scoop Palace awards

DoE apprentices

Ten electricity apprentices who help keep the power flowing to homes and businesses across London, the East and South East, have achieved Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards at Buckingham Palace.

The group swapped their usual surroundings of electricity substations, and working up poles or down in trenches, to gather at the palace and meet Duke of Edinburgh Trustee His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex.

UK Power Networks apprentices complete a Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme during their training as it helps develop the skills and qualities needed in their working life. Training expeditions at Dartmoor and Exmoor were followed by the final expedition hiking 50 kilometres through Snowdonia for five days.

Joe Lewis, 21, now a qualified technician working on HS1 to maintain the reliability of trains, said:

“The hardest part about the programme was the expedition. It was across four days in Snowdonia and included being self-sufficient while navigating and walking many miles each day.

“I enjoyed the teamwork on the expedition. Everyone was helping each other to get to the end. I also enjoyed the sense of achievement when carrying out my volunteering section, where I volunteered once a week at my local Oxfam for a year.”

Engineering trainees manager Charlie Aston said:

“The DofE scheme develops the positive characteristics we look for in our employees such as teamwork, responsibility and resilience. That’s why we joined forces with the charity three years ago, to give our young apprentices the best start to their careers with us and I would like to congratulate this group on passing both the apprenticeship and the Gold Award.”

Ruth Marvel, DofE CEO, said:

“Achieving a Gold DofE Award is a remarkable achievement at any time – but over the last two years young people have overcome extraordinary challenges to achieve theirs. I’m delighted we’re finally able to give them the celebration they deserve and recognise the amazing passion, resilience, and creativity they’ve shown. 

“Young people were some of the hardest hit by the pandemic, losing out on education and social development, experiencing unprecedented levels of mental ill-health and now a cost of-living crisis – but, as today’s attendees show, they have the potential to achieve amazing things given the chance. We owe it to all young people to give them access to opportunities like the DofE, which can help them build their confidence, resilience and skills so they’re ready for anything.”

Factfile: Group achievements:

  • 13,500 hours learning new skills
  • 1,000 hours physical activities
  • 1,000 hours residential activities
  • 792 miles walked
  • 360 hours on volunteer work

The group are:

  • Matthew Horstead – 22, West Wickham
  • Callum Stevenson – 21, Stowmarket
  • Alex Moyo – 22, Watford
  • Daniel Ferry – 21, Bedford
  • Jack Charters, 21 – Stevenage
  • Lauren Gilbert – 22, Romford
  • Aaron Atkinson – 22, Tottenham
  • Kye Burkert – 20, Harold Wood
  • Joe Lewis – 21, Northfleet
  • Daanyal Parvez – 25, Enfield
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