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Hertfordshire apprentices learn how to keep the lights on

Three Hertfordshire apprentices are learning how to keep the lights on in their community with Britain’s biggest power distribution company, UK Power Networks.

From Press releases - 7 December 2018 12:00 AM

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Calem Maouchi, who is 20, from Welwyn Garden City, Lewis Holt, who is 18, from Stevenage, and Ben Etheridge, who is 17, from Rickmansworth, will be expertly trained in the specialist skills that deliver electricity to local homes, schools, hospitals and businesses.

Calem will learn to safely fix, maintain and connect underground cables at Stansted Airport with UK Power Networks Services, which runs electricity networks for clients including in the rail and airport sector. Ben will learn the same skills and be based in Borehamwood. Lewis will be expertly trained to work on overhead power lines from his Enfield base.

The company has 180,000 kilometres of electricity cables and 135,000 substations which help keep power flowing to 8.3million customers across the East of England, London and the South East.

Calem, a former student of electrical installations at Oaklands College, in St Albans, said: “I will be making sure that electricity keeps running for the airport so planes can land, pilots can communicate with the control tower and security systems work.

“Many things are going to be electrical in the next 20 to 40 years so there is a big opportunity in this industry. There won’t be a shortage of jobs. I want to progress with the company, be accomplished and successful. My interviewer started as an apprentice fitter and now he is the head of power supplies for Stansted Airport and runs the whole show there.

“Safety is paramount here so at least I know I’m going to be safe and everybody around me will be safe. It’s not just at work that will help me, it’s at home too. Everything is neat and tidy and everyone respects everything. It’s a really good place to work.”

Lewis Holt completed one year at sixth form college and decided he would prefer to be out working. He was working in a pub when his dad had a chat with him about a long-term career.

Lewis said: “I looked at UK Power Networks because my dad told me about it. He started as an overhead linesman and is now an electrical engineer.

“The further I got through the process the more I wanted to do it. I was always interested in science and electricity at school. I learnt a lot about the job before I started, now I would like to become an engineer at some point like my dad”.

Ben Etheridge studied an extended diploma in engineering at West Herts College. He said: “I wanted a hands-on job and went for apprenticeships after a year. The assessment was a really good day that tested you on lots of things. When I got the job, I was more than happy. I am going to be helping the community by fixing any problems that happen.”

Outside work Ben has been a Thai boxer for the past few years and taken part in more than 50 fights. He trains almost every day and wants to be a mixed martial arts fighter.

Their core training and college work will be completed at the company’s dedicated training centres in Kent and Suffolk and they will put their new skills into practice from their depots – Calem at Stansted, Lewis at Enfield and Ben in Borehamwood.

Steven Read, trainees’ programmes manager at UK Power Networks, said: “Ensuring that we have skilled crafts people working on our distribution network is key to ensure that our customers’ electricity supply is maintained. The recruitment and training of apprentices enable us to grow our skills base, which is important in our industry.

“Our chosen candidates should be proud of their success. It was a highly competitive process and we always look for a very specific type of person who will have the dedication and ability needed for these crucial roles.”

There were over 1,100 applications for the apprenticeship scheme this year. Foundation trainees have a chance to complete a Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award during their training. UK Power Networks currently has 99 apprentices completing training with the company. To view a video about UK Power Networks click here.