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Fifteen power apprentices start learning and earning

Fifteen young power apprentices are going to be keeping the lights on in their new careers with the electricity distributor UK Power Networks.

From Press releases - 4 October 2016 12:00 AM

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Fifteen young power apprentices are going to be keeping the lights on in their new careers with the electricity distributor UK Power Networks.

There were 350 applications for 15 places on the popular on-the-job training scheme which develops the skills needed to maintain, repair and expand the electricity networks that deliver electricity supplies to 8.1million homes and businesses.

The trainees will spend the next three years preparing to join the specialist teams who run the electricity networks across London, the South East and East Anglia 24 hours a day.

The apprentices will complete a Power Network Craftsperson Standard training programme specialising in either overhead lines (linesperson), underground cables (jointers) or electricity substations (fitters), gaining practical training and nationally-recognised Trailblazer qualifications.

In July a group of apprentices employed by UK Power Networks were honoured at the House of Commons after becoming the first apprentices in the country to successfully complete the new Trailblazer apprenticeship programme, designed by top employers to meet industry needs.

Basil Scarsella, chief executive of UK Power Networks, said: “In three to four years our new trainees will be fully operational, enabling our business to progress with newly- qualified, highly trained employees. The country’s engineering workforce is ageing and as our people retire we need to make sure we have the supply of young people coming through over the next few years to continue to do the good job our teams do today, maintaining reliable power supplies for our customers.”

All the trainees working to the new Trailblazer standard work to a level of competency based on tried, tested and trusted methods in a sector where safety is paramount. On completion of their studies they will gain a Certificate in Electrical Power Engineering.

Their studies include formal training at UK Power Networks’ training centres in Kent and Suffolk and on-the-job experience putting their skills into practice. The trainees will spend up to 11 months in residential training centres gaining the knowledge, skills and competency to work on the network before starting in their areas. The apprentices shadow experienced staff, participate in a 24-hour standby rota and have a gradual introduction to field work.

After they qualify they can complete more advanced qualifications and can apply for the company’s supported studies programme to advance their careers. Many former apprentices have progressed to become senior managers within the company.

A dedicated free telephone number has been introduced - 105 - which customers can call if they have a power cut. This will get you through to your local network operator which runs the cables and power lines delivering electricity to your area.