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Brighton electricity key worker remembers 40 years in power

Electricity key workers are marking 40 years’ service in jobs that help keep the country going.

From Press releases - 7 September 2020 12:00 AM

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Nearly 80 fresh-faced recruits offered jobs in the electricity industry in 1980 went on to enjoy long and successful careers working on essential electricity networks which power homes, schools, hospitals and the economy across the South East, London and East of England.

One of those celebrating their staying power at UK Power Networks is Peter Smith, 64, from Southwick, Brighton. An advanced electrician, Peter joined the company as a domestic electrician, connecting electric showers, storage heaters and working on deliveries for Seeboard’s shops. Peter said: “It is a good company to work for and definitely a good industry to be part of. My advice to newcomers to the industry is to stick with their apprenticeships which can be difficult, because there is a lot to learn.”

Normally, newcomers to UK Power Networks’ 40+ Club, which has 500 employees with over 40 years’ continuous service, mark the special milestone at an annual celebration, that recognises the important role of long-serving employees. This year, celebrating safely at home, they include skilled experts in electricity engineering, linespeople, cable jointers, substation fitters, HR, projects and connections.

Basil Scarsella, chief executive of UK Power Networks, said: “I recognise and celebrate the dedication and expertise of our employees, many of who have lived and worked in the communities we serve, for a long time. Their work keeping the power on is usually carried out behind the scenes, but it enables everyone’s everyday lives to run smoothly.

“Even for those who have been with us for many decades, 2020 has been an unprecedented year and I am hugely proud of all of our staff’s response to the many challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, with everybody working hard to keep the power flowing. Clearly we cannot gather together for our usual 40+ Club dinner this year, but everybody appreciates the reasons why and it remains a milestone well worth marking.”

Britain’s biggest electricity distributor, UK Power Networks, is listed in the Sunday Times Best Big Companies to Work For. The company owns and maintains the electricity network which delivers power to 8.3 million homes and businesses across London, the South East and East of England.

In addition to career development for existing staff UK Power Networks continues to run apprenticeships, with new starters due to join in 2021.

1980 factfile: 

•UK inflation reached 17.99%, unemployment hit a 44-year high of 1.9 million and Britain was entering a deep recession

•Council tenants gained the right to buy their homes from their council at a discount, giving many families their first step on the housing ladder

•John Lennon was shot dead in New York and Pink Floyd’s album The Wall hit number one

•Smallpox was eradicated following a global immunisation programme led by the World Health Organisation

•23.5 million viewers tuned in to watch James Bond in Live and Let Die on ITV

•Permed hair, shoulder pads and bold colours were the fashion

•Post it notes were first introduced