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Electricity staff keep powering on

Few people benefit from a ‘job for life’ these days, but over 90 power workers are currently celebrating 40 or 50 years in the industry at UK Power Networks.

From Press releases - 11 September 2019 12:00 AM

Electricity staff keep powering on.jpg

In total, Britain’s biggest electricity distributor has more than 480 staff with 40 or more years’ service. Those reaching their 40th milestone with the company are invited to attend an annual 40+ Club event which recognises their contribution to the electricity industry.

This year they included linesmen, cable jointers, engineers, safety advisers, trainers, assessors, telecommunications engineers, data analysts, accounts and control staff.

UK Power Networks’ longest serving employee is cable jointer Darian Brayfield, from Hounslow, who at 76 has worked with the firm for 57 years, having joined the business in December 1962. He continued working to keep himself busy after the loss of his wife six years ago.

Darian said: “I have always enjoyed body building at the gym to keep myself fit and while I still feel fit I still enjoy my work. I have always liked the job. I am used to heavy work from my days digging out joint bays, but I don’t do as many cable joints these days.

“In my role now I go into customers’ houses to replace equipment [known as the cut-out]. They nearly always offer me a cup of tea and have a chat. I enjoy meeting people.

“I worked my way up to a cable jointer’s mate before being made a jointer in no time. I’m probably one of the most experienced jointers in the company.”

Rose Mackinnon, from Sussex, was the first woman apprentice to join UK Power Networks’ apprenticeship scheme in 1979. Her career developed from apprentice electrician to safety adviser.

Rose said: “While in many ways the industry is very much the same now as it was when I started, the technology has definitely improved. The people I work with at UK Power Networks are as friendly and helpful as they always have been when I joined 40 years ago.”

Marking 50 years in the electricity industry is Conrad Coltelli, a telecommunications engineer from London. He said: “I’m still enjoying what I’m doing and I’m not ready to retire. I don’t want to leave because I’m entering the most interesting time of my life, as far as work goes.

“We are entering the digital age, delivering network services to improve automation in our substations. We are rolling out greater bandwidths, faster speeds and automation is more reliable. Our work is essential to operate the electricity network and has helped significantly reduce the impact of power cuts. Every day is different and I still enjoy it. It’s in my blood and UK Power Networks is the best company to work for.”

Basil Scarsella, chief executive of UK Power Networks, said: “We like to recognise and celebrate the dedication and expertise of our employees, many of whom have lived and worked in the areas we serve for a long time.

“Their work keeping the lights on is usually carried out behind the scenes, but it is very valuable in helping everyday lives run smoothly and contributing to the success of local economies.”

UK Power Networks delivers power supplies to 8.3 million homes and businesses. The company is listed in the Sunday Times Best Big Companies to Work For, as voted for by its employees.

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