Northern Powergrid has shared with the Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, how its Ofsted outstanding-rated apprenticeships are helping power new careers in the energy industry and supporting regional skills growth.
The electricity network operator welcomed the Minister to its Swillington training centre this week to see its outdoor training facilities before meeting several Northern Powergrid apprentices at different stages in their apprenticeship programme.
The visit, which is part of The Department for Education’s National Apprenticeship Week (6 to 12 February), showcased how the network operator is training a new generation of engineers and craft people who will be part of sector that is critical to enabling a greener energy future.
Northern Powergrid is one of just a handful of UK employer training providers to be able to offer Ofsted Outstanding-rated apprenticeship programmes. The rating recognises the company’s commitment and ability to deliver high-quality apprenticeships and training for the people who will work on the region’s electricity network. It also formally recognises the high standard of training Northern Powergrid set and holds itself accountable to every day.
During the ministerial visit, the network operator demonstrated how apprenticeships are helping power its future workforce and how it works, as a regional anchor organisation, to encourage a more diverse range of people to consider a career in the energy sector.
In addition to its highly successful Power Network Craftsperson Apprenticeships, for people looking to develop a career based around the craft skills needed to build, maintain and repair power networks, electrical power plant, overhead lines and cables, and its Power Network Engineer Apprenticeships, it also offers apprenticeships to create a new generation of Network Control Engineers and Design Engineers who will have the skills to manage the company’s power network and design future network investments and new electricity connections.
Northern Powergrid’s apprenticeship programmes are not just targeted at school leavers. Its current apprentices range from 16 to 45 years in age. Some had previous careers in the police, dental, retail and travel industries before deciding to pursue a new career in the energy industry that is powering the growth of smart and low carbon technologies.
Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education Robert Halfon said: “With over 170 apprentices currently on the books and a strong track record of offering a ladder of opportunity to people at all stages of their career, Northern Powergrid have truly earned their ‘Outstanding’ rating from Ofsted.
“It was a real privilege to meet some of Northern Powergrid’s apprentices at their training centre in West Yorkshire as part of National Apprenticeship Week and inspiring to see how the company is boosting our efforts to build a skills and apprenticeships nation.”
Gareth Pearson, Northern Powergrid’s Head of Health, Safety and Training, said: “Our apprenticeship programmes are a huge force for good in our business and the communities we serve. They will remain an integral part of how we recruit, grow and develop our workforce and we have more than 170 apprentices actively learning new skills and contributing to our business every day.
“We are a key regional enabler of net zero ambitions and a major employer. Over the next five years we’ll be creating 1,000 new job opportunities, many of which will be apprenticeships. We’ve already successfully trained more than 600 apprentices since 2009, and with 98 per cent of them remaining part of our team it demonstrates that this approach is right for our people and our company.
“Apprenticeships are helping us create a new generation of highly skilled people who can contribute not just to Northern Powergrid – but also the wider regional economy. We want to play our part in increasing the region’s workforce skill levels. That’s why we work with a range of partners, such as government, local colleges and the EU Skills Partnership, to help create educational opportunities that can help people reach their full potential.”
Northern Powergrid delivers apprenticeships through its three training centres in Castleford, Durham, Hull and Swillington. It is currently recruiting Power Engineer Apprentices, with applications open until 19 February.
As part of the programme, successful recruits will gain skills for life and study a fully funded foundation degree as part of the three-year apprenticeship. Through work placements they will also learn about new technology, the use of sustainable resources to reduce Northern Powergrid’s carbon footprint and gain the required technical capabilities to maintain and develop the network that powers 3.9 million homes and businesses across the region. The network operator is also preparing to open its 2023 Power Network Craftsperson Apprenticeship in the spring. Find out more at northernpowergrid.com/careers.