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Woodford Green man has the power

When John Andrews’ dad arranged work experience with some colleagues it not only lasted six weeks, it sparked a 40-year career.

From Press releases - 7 September 2020 12:00 AM

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John, 58, from Woodford Green, is now a member of the 40+ Club at UK Power Networks and is the commissioning and protection manager for the London area of the electricity distributor that serves 8.3 million customers in London, the East and South East of England.

John’s father worked in administration for the London Electricity Board for many years and his mother worked for them before he was born. His dad asked some of the engineers if John could have work experience after taking his O Levels. After a two-week stint they asked if he would like to stay longer and John realised it was the job for him.

He joined the technician engineering apprentice scheme in September 1980 where his first month’s payslip was £262.  After training his first job was supervising the installation and repair of lampposts and road signs in Camden.  “It was a great life driving round London in my Mini Metro working with jointers, fitters and engineers carrying out all types of operational work and I had a radio to communicate with everyone.”

John said in the early days the company’s main control room had diagrams on the wall showing the entire network. A few years later he moved into the planning department and computers were introduced. “Being young and keen I became the local expert and helped with the running of network analysis tools”.

John is now commissioning and protection manager in the London area, supervising and co-ordinating work on new electricity equipment for the capital.

John and Julie have been married for 28 years and have two children. In his spare time he enjoys sailing, classic cars, caravanning and DIY. 

Basil Scarsella, chief executive of UK Power Networks, said: “I recognise and celebrate the dedication and expertise of our employees, many of who have lived and worked in the communities we serve, for a long time. Their work keeping the power on is usually carried out behind the scenes, but it enables everyone’s everyday lives to run smoothly.

“Even for those who have been with us for many decades, 2020 has been an unprecedented year and I am hugely proud of all of our staff’s response to the many challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, with everybody working hard to keep the power flowing. Clearly we cannot gather together for our usual 40+ Club dinner this year, but everybody appreciates the reasons why and it remains a milestone well worth marking.”

In addition to career development for existing staff UK Power Networks continues to run apprenticeships, with new starters due to join in 2021.