Britain’s biggest electricity distributor has recruited 16 new apprentices to learn the specialist skills that keep the lights on across a quarter of the UK.
UK Power Networks continually invests in apprenticeships, growing the skills needed to maintain, repair and expand an electricity network that serves 8.3 million homes, businesses, schools and hospitals. The company currently has 99 apprentices, who are vital contributors to the business.
The latest group will be training to work on underground electricity cables and substations. They follow hot on the heels of a summer intake, many of whom are preparing to work at height, repairing and maintaining overhead power lines.
The latest recruits will complete their core training at the company’s training centres, in Kent and Suffolk, where they gain knowledge, skills and competence in the classroom to work productively on the network, before starting work at their depots.
The training centres test their knowledge and practical skills on mock power lines, substations and cables. Alongside formal training, the recruits gain on-the-job experience in the field, putting their skills into practice.
Steven Read, trainees’ programmes manager at UK Power Networks, said: “Our successful apprentices become part of the workforce that keeps electricity flowing to a population of about 18 million people. Our apprenticeship programmes are top class, developing the next generation of experts to run our electricity networks and maintain an essential service.”
Endorsed by Energy and Utility Skills and accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, UK Power Networks’ recruits follow a Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standard and become fully qualified in one of three trades: cable jointer, overhead lines person or electrical fitter.
There were over 1,100 applications for the apprenticeship scheme this year. Foundation trainees (aged 16 to 21) complete a three year course and have a chance to complete a Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award during their training. Experienced apprentices join the business with previous experience and complete their training in two years.
UK Power Networks is the country’s biggest electricity distributor, making sure the lights stay on for more than eight million homes and businesses across London, the South East and the East of England. Network operators aren’t the same as energy suppliers; network operators manage local power lines and substations, while energy suppliers sell the electricity that runs through the power lines.