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A day in the life of an apprentice fitter

Apprenticeship Week February 8-14

From Press releases - 2 February 2021 12:00 AM

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It’s National Apprenticeship Week and Cameron Carne from Stowmarket is one of UK Power Networks  apprentice fitters. He chose an apprenticeship instead of sixth form and university - and is delighted that he did. 

Cameron is based at the Ipswich depot working in a team of three on new electrical connections, or fixing power cuts involving high voltage underground cables.

“This is exactly what I wanted to do. I came to the company for work experience and then applied for an apprenticeship. I didn’t want to be stuck in an office. All my friends have gone to university, but there’s no guarantee they will get a job when they leave. I am here working and learning.

In six months time I’ll take my trade test, the week of my 19th birthday. An apprenticeship is a great way to work and learn, if you did it you would never regret it.”

My working day– by apprentice fitter Cameron Carne

6.45am: I usually leave home about 6.45am as I like to be in the Ipswich yard by 7.15am. If I’ve been out working on a fault beyond midnight then I’ll have a later start. Before the pandemic we would all gather in the office for a conference, but now I sit in the car or stand outside if the weather is good, others are spread around the yard or call in to the phone conference from home. We get updated about jobs, Covid safety, and anything else that’s needed to keep everyone in the loop, then we go off to our work. I just spent a week in a village near Braintree helping install a connection for a customer by creating a small substation. I could be working anywhere in an area that goes over to Newmarket, across Ipswich and up to Diss as well as further south.

I work on the high voltage underground cables as part of a team of three led by Dave Ward, we have been together for two years and  I have learned a lot from Dave, there’s nothing he doesn’t know!.

7.30am: We work 7.30 am to 3.30pm with half an hour for lunch and after going back to the yard I could be home by 4. If it’s a connections job then it’s been planned in advance so we know where we are going and what we are doing. But if we are on standby for power cuts we could go anywhere and we work until the job is completed and customers have their power back. Sometimes I could be out all night. 

3pm: Once the jobs are done there is always the paperwork to complete before going home. You have to be flexible in this work as the days can be short or long but it’s exactly what I wanted to do. I’ve always been interested in electricity and when I was younger I’d thought about being an electrician, but this just feels a bit more exciting and an apprenticeship is a brilliant way to learn as you earn.  I did work experience with the company back in the summer of 2017 which was arranged through school. I worked from the Bury depot which went well and they said they would really like me to apply for an apprenticeship if it interested me.

In six months time I’ll take my trade test, the week of my 19th birthday, and then I can qualify and progress. An apprenticeship is a great way to work and learn, if you did it you would never regret it.

I’ve never had a bad day, it’s not really work because I enjoy it!”

6pm:  When I’m not working I’ve been keeping myself busy with a project car. I’ve bought a Mazda MX-5 which I’m doing up whenever time and money allows. I got it pretty much the same time I started my apprenticeship so it’s been good to have that as a hobby. Hopefully I’ll be able to take it out more soon.