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Energy secretary meets electricity apprentices

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, met electricity trainees in Sundridge to highlight the crucial jobs that exist in the industry.

From Press releases - 12 January 2016 12:00 AM

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Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, met electricity trainees in Sundridge to highlight the crucial jobs that exist in the industry.

The MP was given a tour of UK Power Networks’ unique training centre which provides a realistic training environment for Britain’s next generation of electricity engineers, who keep the lights on for millions of homes and businesses.

She was there yesterday for a guided tour of the centre which trains apprentices to maintain and repair underground cables (jointers), overhead power lines (linesmen) and electricity substations (fitters).

From a basket crane Mrs Rudd watched electrical trainees working on overhead power lines. She joined in a training session given to electrical jointers, stripping underground cables for repair and connection, a role usually performed outdoors in trenches.

After the tour there was time to informally meet apprentices and trainee engineers in the canteen to hear first-hand about their training experiences and career aspirations.

Mrs Rudd, who represents Hastings and is responsible for UK energy security, said: “Supporting apprenticeships and training is a priority for this government. I am delighted that UK Power Networks is helping young people’s futures at their training centre in Sundridge. The energy industry has a vital role to play powering the economy and it is great to see such enthusiasm among the trainees.”

Suleman Alli, director of safety, strategy and support services at UK Power Networks, said: “It was fantastic to welcome the Secretary of State to our training centre. She spent time talking to our trainees, shadowed their work and experienced the complexities of their jobs in our training rooms.

“This centre plays a crucial role because it is where we train our workforce in the specialist skills needed to keep the lights on. Not many people have been behind the scenes here and we were impressed by her enthusiasm and words of encouragement for our young trainees.”

Hundreds of apprentices have been through the company’s bespoke training in Sundridge and are now fully-fledged members of UK Power Networks’ workforce. The electricity networks are very reliable and this is largely due to highly-trained staff who work outdoors 24/7 in all weathers.

Since the company was formed in 2010 UK Power Networks has welcomed 209 recruits onto its apprenticeship programmes and this year there will be an opportunity for 15 new foundation apprentices. The students carry out their formal training in Sundridge and Suffolk and receive on-the-job experience shadowing experienced staff, participating in a 24-hour standby rota and gaining a gradual introduction to field work.

At the end of the programme, apprentices gain a Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF) Diploma in electrical power engineering. Some go on to complete more advanced qualifications or apply for the company’s supported studies programme to advance their career. Many former apprentices have progressed to become senior managers within UK Power Networks, providing a successful career pathway for employees and employer.

UK Power Networks offers foundation apprenticeships for school leavers, which are three years, plus advanced apprenticeships, which are two years, as well as roles for smart meter trainees. To find out more about becoming an apprentice visit: http://www.ukpowernetworkscareers.co.uk