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Shoeburyness man to climb ladder of opportunity

In the run up to the tenth National Apprenticeship Week (March 6-10), a Shoeburyness worker is embarking on a career with the UK’s biggest power distribution company.

From Press releases - 7 March 2017 12:00 AM

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UK Power Networks, which keeps the lights on across the east of England, South East and London, ran a very competitive selection process after about 100 people from varied walks of life, applied for seven Power Networks Craftsperson apprenticeships late last year. The company has already trained more than 250 apprentices in the past five years to help fill the industry’s skills gap.

Once trained, 24-year-old Tim Gilbert from Pentland Avenue, Shoeburyness will be a cable jointer, helping ensure smart meters are smoothly installed by electricity suppliers, in homes and businesses across Purfleet in future. He will follow an 18-month Trailblazer Apprenticeship framework, which includes a qualification in electrical power engineering.

He was delighted to be offered the apprenticeship after a determined effort to secure a place, and said: “I was ecstatic and shocked. It was a difficult interview. I was in the office of my previous employer when I heard, and fortunately I was by myself so it didn’t matter how loud I shouted! It was third time lucky. On my first attempt I didn’t get past the initial assessment. Second time I got to the interview stage but didn’t get any further but this time I got all the way.”

“It was difficult, but that is essential to get the best people out of it. It was quite stressful but definitely worth it when you get through. I showed you can learn from the process and improve.

“When you turn on a light you take it for granted and don’t think about everything that goes into it coming on. I wanted to learn all about this. We always need gas and electric so effectively you have a job for life. I have always thought that the utilities give you very good training so thought it would be a good industry to get into.”

“I would like a long prosperous career with UK Power Networks. There is lots of room to grow and I would like to move on into specialist high voltage work. The company is very safety orientated and you can tell that its values such as integrity and responsibility are part of the DNA of the company. We are encouraged to put those values into our everyday life as well.”

Tim, a former Shoeburyness High School pupil, previously worked for his father’s company Dantimax, which services forklift plant and aircraft ground support equipment at Southend, Stansted, Luton and Gatwick airports.
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 were looking for a very specific type of person who will have the dedication and ability needed for these crucial roles.”

In 2016 UK Power Networks’ first group of smart meter trainees became the first apprentices in the country to complete the new Trailblazer apprenticeship and received their certificates at the House of Commons.

For a chance to follow in their footsteps see the careers pages at

Factfile (source

• Apprenticeships are available in 1,500 job roles, covering more than 170 industries

• After finishing, the majority of apprentices (90%) stay in employment (including 2% self-employed), with seven in ten (71%) staying with the same employer

• Apprenticeship participation increased to 899,400 in the 2015/16 academic year, up 3.2 per cent on 2014/15 and the highest number on record

• Over 200 Trailblazers involving more than 1400 employers and more than 160 new standards are in development

• A quarter of former apprentices had been promoted (23%) within 12 months of finishing

• 83% of apprentices said their career prospects had improved