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Ipswich apprentice launches career in power

An Ipswich apprentice has started his career in the electricity industry with UK Power Networks.

From Press releases - 26 October 2021 12:00 AM

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18-year-old Caden Gardiner will be trained in traditional skills that maintain, repair and build electricity networks which help deliver power to 8.3 million homes and businesses across the East of England, London and the South East to ensure safe and reliable power supplies. 

He is among 21 apprentices starting this year who will also play a key role in the UK’s transition to Net Zero, as the company helps to enable low carbon technologies for local communities, including electric transport and heating.

All the trainees will spend three years completing the foundation apprenticeship specialising in one of three traditional crafts as electrical linespeople (like Caden), fitters or jointers learning how to safely repair, maintain and connect overhead lines, substations or underground cables. 

Caden did a B-Tech at Suffolk One College prior to joining the company and is hoping the apprenticeship is a stepping stone to him becoming a fully-qualified engineer in the future.

Caden said: “I was looking online for apprenticeships and discovered the UK Power Networks website. I read about people who have worked for the company previously and it interested me. Apprenticeships are a good investment for the company as they train their employees and invest in their future. You also get on-the-job training which you don’t always get at university.”

Charlie Aston, engineering trainee manager at UK Power Networks, said: “This is a time of great change in the electricity industry and the apprentices will learn to play a key role in maintaining reliable electricity supplies. The future is bright for these new recruits and if they perform well, they can look forward to a secure future and excellent working conditions.

“Once they are fully trained, they will keep power flowing to our communities, provide new connections, upgrade electricity substations and carry out essential electrical maintenance. We refer to them ‘keeping the lights on’, but these trainees will do much more than that as our essential networks power heating, lighting, the internet and Electric Vehicles.”

The first five months of their training is at Bridgwater and Taunton College in Somerset where they will complete a City and Guilds qualification in Electrical Power Engineering. This is the technical qualification required to achieve the Level 3 Power Networks Craftsperson Apprenticeship. The practical element of the apprenticeship will be completed at the company’s dedicated training centres in Suffolk and Kent coupled with on-the-job training with experienced field staff, putting new skills into practice under personal supervision.

Caden will complete the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award as part of his training, fostering a spirit of teamwork and resilience. Since 2016 all foundation apprentices who join UK Power Networks have taken part in the programme. 

Following the latest Ofsted monitoring visit the company’s training programme continues to be placed in the top 3% of employer training providers. 

UK Power Networks is ranked number one in the global Smart Grid Index, number six in the UK’s Top 25 Best Big Companies to Work For, and a ‘Platinum’ Investor in People.