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MP sees how apprentices train for the future

Sevenoaks MP Sir Michael Fallon saw behind the scenes at a training centre run by UK Power Networks, which is at the forefront of developing a smart, flexible grid to meet the changing needs of energy consumers.

From News & press - 27 November 2018 12:00 AM

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From the safety of Sundridge training centre, Sir Michael saw how virtual reality is used to assess the potential of the company’s apprentices to work at height, maintaining overhead power lines, without setting foot outside the classroom.

Sharon Webb, training centre manager at UK Power Networks, said: “Virtual reality is realistic enough to make your knees knock if you are not keen on heights. It is another addition to our extensive training and the benefit is that it is safer for our staff, enabling us to deliver training that brings reality to life in the classroom.”

Suleman Alli, director of safety and strategy at UK Power Networks, said: “The safety of our employees, contractors and the public is paramount. Even as the UK’s safest network operator there is no room for complacency and we were delighted to demonstrate to Sir Michael how we are continually improving the training and development of our staff, an approach that has put us in the top 12%[1] of UK employers for our investment in training."

Sir Michael said: “The apprentices who undergo their training in Sundridge are preparing to provide an essential public service at a time of unprecedented change in the energy sector. I was pleased to hear first-hand how much they value their training and understand the positive contribution their work makes to their local communities.”

At a time of revolutionary change in the way electricity is generated, distributed and used, the company’s training school is investing in the future, developing the next generation of electrical experts to continue delivering a safe, reliable and efficient electricity network for 8.3 million homes, businesses, schools and hospitals.

The company, which is the UK’s biggest electricity distributor, currently has just over 100 apprentices in training. As the world of energy changes, their work will help to ensure the electricity network is smart, flexible and supports new, low carbon technologies, such as electric vehicles, energy storage, solar PV and heat pumps.