From education to employment

First apprenticeship Standard graduation takes place in the House of Commons

The very first apprentices following a new employer designed apprenticeship standard graduated today at an event in the House of Commons.

The fifteen apprentices, employed by UK Power Networks, are the first to successfully complete on of the new Trailblazer apprenticeships, designed by top employers to meet the needs of industry. The Trailblazer programme forms a key part of the Government’s reform of apprenticeships to ensure businesses get the skills they need to succeed.

The apprentices will now put their 18-month Power Network Craftsperson Standard training programme to good use, having been trained as ‘jointers’, connecting and repairing underground electricity cables to keep the lights on across London, the South East and East Anglia. Their role will include ensuring local electricity networks are ready for the roll out of smart meters by electricity suppliers.

Following the success of the apprenticeship standard, it was also announced at today’s event that employers in the sector have committed to recruiting over 4000 apprentices this year.

Basil Scarsella, Chief Executive Officer of UK Power Networks said:

“I’m delighted our apprentices’ hard work has paid off. Their success really demonstrates the business case for offering apprenticeships. Investing in standards to develop sector specific qualifications makes a huge difference to employers as the qualifications are relevant to industry and specific to employer needs.

“This new standard and the successful completion by 15 of our team will enable our business to progress with a more qualified, highly trained and efficient workforce. I am extremely proud of their achievements.”

The 15 graduating apprentices are:

  • Louis Baldwin, who lives in Enfield
  • Andrew Barnett, Herne Bay
  • Craig Belton, Smallfield, Surrey
  • Curtis Blake, Harlow, Essex
  • Oliver Boarer, Shoreham, Sussex
  • William Davies, Bromley
  • Sean Fisher, Hemel Hempstead
  • Sean Gray, Peterborough
  • Krzysztof Maik, Watford
  • Waqas Mirza, Ilford
  • Shira Stewart, Peckham, London
  • David Veysey
  • Mark Webb, Horley, Surrey
  • Michael Shannon, Grays, Essex
  • Lee Shannon, Stanford-Le-Hope, Essex

Two of the graduating apprentices are father and son Michael and Lee Shannon.

Mick Shannon, 55, of Grays, Essex, joined UK Power Networks’ trainee scheme in 2014. He said:

“I am honoured to have completed my apprenticeship alongside my son Lee and I speak on behalf of the whole team when I say that this apprenticeship has been of huge benefit to us all as we deliver in our jobs, giving us all role specific skills and a nationally recognised qualification.”

The standard was developed by twelve Power sector employers, working collaboratively with Energy & Utility Skills Limited – who ensured the rigorous end-point assessments to determine workforce competence levels – based on tried, tested and trusted methods within a safety sensitive industry.

Today’s event reinforces the Government’s commitment to three million apprenticeships by 2020, providing the skills employers and the economy need for growth. A new Government campaign – Get In Go Far – launched in May, to encourage more young people and their parents to see apprenticeships as a valid and credible route to a rewarding career. Apprenticeships are available in 1,500 job roles, in more than 170 industries. Apprenticeships develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce and improve productivity.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said:


“Employers are the best judge of the skills and experience an apprentice needs. That’s why we have given employers the power to design apprenticeships that deliver. The apprentices graduating today can be both proud of their achievement and confident that they are equipped to take their career to next level.”

New apprenticeship standards offer employers the opportunity to ensure that apprenticeships truly meets their needs and the needs of their sector.

Since apprenticeship reforms started in September 2014, over 400 new Trailblazer apprenticeship standards have been developed; with 112 approved and ready for delivery. The new apprenticeships include everything from financial services, the armed forces and broadcast production. There are 1,400 employers involved, with 2,200 apprenticeships started in 2015/16 so far.


Nadhim Zahawi, MP and apprenticeships adviser to the Prime Minister said:

“It is tremendously exciting for me to host this ground-breaking event, to celebrate the first apprentice graduates on a new Standard. 

“Trailblazers have a massive bearing on the future of apprenticeships, setting out the exact skills, attributes and talents that employers need as well as stamping the mark of quality indelibly on each apprenticeship.

“I can’t congratulate these 15 apprentices enough for their dedication to their profession and succeeding in achieving their apprenticeships.” 

For more information on apprenticeships, visit

For more information on apprenticeship standards, visit:

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