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Former tank driver to climb ladder of opportunity

In the run up to the tenth National Apprenticeship Week (March 6-10), a Woodford man is embarking on a career with the UK’s biggest power distribution company.

From Press releases - 7 March 2017 12:00 AM

Robin Carter-Brett.jpg

UK Power Networks, which keeps the lights on across the east of England, South East and London, ran a very competitive selection process after about 100 people from varied walks of life, applied for seven Power Networks Craftsperson apprenticeships late last year. The company has already trained more than 250 apprentices in the past five years to help fill the industry’s skills gap.

Once trained, Robin Carter-Brett, aged 27, from Woodford in Essex will be a cable jointer, helping ensure smart meters are smoothly installed by electricity suppliers, in homes and businesses across Enfield in future. He will follow an 18-month Trailblazer Apprenticeship framework, which includes a qualification in electrical power engineering.

He said: “I was really happy to be offered this apprenticeship, I had a great sense of achievement. It was brilliant timing - I got the phone call to say I had been successful on my last day in the Army. I had started looking during my resettlement period (when you start looking for work) and got the phone call on my last day in camp when I was handing my uniform back.

“I wanted something new, to learn a new trade. You are always going to need electricity; it is the source of so much of what we do. I wanted to get a wider understanding of it. Keeping it running for everyone, now that’s an achievement.

“It was a very thorough process. It establishes your base level very well and having established your base level you know they are not going to drop you in at the deep end. I am impressed with the facilities and the training. Everything is sorted for you and well managed by the training team. It is very thorough. I would like to learn and work my way up through the ranks, to take the opportunities offered and progress up through the career ladder.”

After leaving King Harold School in, Waltham Abbey, Robin studied to be a mechanic and tried various jobs before joining the Army for six years. He said: I was an armoured infantry driver and did a high level of maintenance on the various vehicles. I was also a physical training instructor. I was posted to Brunei, Latvia, Canada and did a tour of Afghanistan. People often ask me what that was like and it is difficult to know how to answer. It was tough, but you just get on with it.”

Steven Read, trainees programmes manager at UK Power Networks said: “Ensuring that we have skilled crafts people working on our distribution network is key to ensure that our customers’ electricity supply is maintained. The recruitment and training of apprentices enable us to grow our skills base which is important in our industry.

“Our chosen candidates should be proud of their success. It was a highly competitive process and we were looking for a very specific type of person who will have the dedication and ability needed for these crucial roles.”

In 2016 UK Power Networks’ first group of smart meter trainees became the first apprentices in the country to complete the new Trailblazer apprenticeship and received their certificates at the House of Commons.

For a chance to follow in their footsteps see the careers pages at www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk.

Factfile (source www.gov.uk):

• Apprenticeships are available in 1,500 job roles, covering more than 170 industries

• After finishing, the majority of apprentices (90%) stay in employment (including 2% self-employed), with seven in ten (71%) staying with the same employer

• Apprenticeship participation increased to 899,400 in the 2015/16 academic year, up 3.2 per cent on 2014/15 and the highest number on record

• Over 200 Trailblazers involving more than 1400 employers and more than 160 new standards are in development

• A quarter of former apprentices had been promoted (23%) within 12 months of finishing

• 83% of apprentices said their career prospects had improved