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Power apprentices start earning and learning

Thirty bright sparks have joined UK Power Networks’ latest apprenticeship programme.

From Press releases - 4 March 2014 12:00 AM

Apprentices group photo 1.jpg

Thirty bright sparks have joined UK Power Networks’ latest apprenticeship programme.

The new recruits will be learning how to keep the shining across a quarter of Britain. The group includes a former electrician from Kent, a meter fitter from London, a tree cutter from Suffolk, an ex-policeman from Essex, a soldier from Kent and a satellite TV engineer from Hertfordshire.

They were selected from 641 applicants to join the popular on-the-job training scheme with the company which distributes power across London, the South East and East of England. Over the next two years they will prepare to join the skilled teams which keep power flowing to more than a quarter of Britain’s population 24hrs a day. The apprentices specialise in climbing electricity poles, fixing and connecting power cables or kitting out electricity substations.

Adam Mason, who will be training to become an electrical jointer, said: “UK Power Networks sounds like a great company. They look after their staff and provide plenty of training. I have high ambitions here and want to go as far as I can, learning different things. As an electrical jointer I will be locating faults, joining up cables and getting people on supply.”

Timothy Stanford, who will be training to become an electrical jointer, said: “This was a natural progression from what I did before working as a tree cutter around UK Power Networks’ power lines. I’m going from working in the air to working underground. I was involved in tree clearance work after the St Jude storm, which was an incredible experience. Working with UK Power Networks’ linesmen increased my interest in working for the company.”

Marc Llewellyn will also be training to become an electrical jointer. He said: “I have always been interested in power distribution and did a lot of research. I’d seen the vans and knew it was something I wanted to do. It’s interesting working with live electricity. If there is a fault on the electricity network I could get a call out in the middle of the night because we have to get people’s power back on, particularly if it’s vulnerable customers such as an old people’s home. People depend on us to get the lights on.”

Patrick Clarke, director of network operations at UK Power Networks, who began his career as an apprentice, said: “There couldn’t be a more exciting time to join the electricity industry, with new technology bringing faster changes in the next ten years than ever before. We look for people with a great attitude, keen to serve their communities and critically safety-conscious, which is the baseline for the electricity industry.

“The average age profile of our workforce is now 50+ so this is an excellent time for young people with new ideas to make their mark. We are one of the few long-term industries where if you perform well your future is secure. If you’ve got talent and you are prepared to work hard, you could have a really promising future with us.”

The apprenticeship scheme helps address a shortage in the number of electrical craftsmen joining the industry to train as linesmen, jointers and fitters. Hundreds of apprentices have been through the company’s structured programme of training and now look after the power network in their communities.

The scheme includes formal training at UK Power Networks’ training centres in Kent and Suffolk and on-the-job experience putting their skills into practice. At the end of their programme the apprentices will qualify with a Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF) Diploma in Electrical Power Engineering.

UK Power Networks offers foundation apprenticeships for school leavers, which are three years, plus advanced apprenticeships, which are two years. To find out more about becoming an apprentice visit: