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Singer hangs up his mic for a career of note

A star of the reality television show, Stage School, is starting a career with Britain’s biggest power distribution company.

From Press releases - 11 December 2017 12:00 AM

Singer hangs up his mic for a career of note - Biggin Hill.jpg

A star of the reality television show, Stage School, is starting a career with Britain’s biggest power distribution company.

Over the last nine months an aspiring singer, Santino Valentino, who is 16, from Biggin Hill, has played a leading role in the E4 reality television show, set at the D&B Academy of Performing Arts, a drama school in Bromley.

The show follows the lives of staff and students who are trying to make their dreams a reality, in Santino’s case as a pop singer. Now, he is hanging up his microphone to embark on a three-year foundation apprenticeship with UK Power Networks, which keeps the lights on across the South East, London and the East of England.

There were more than 400 applications for the apprenticeship scheme and following his success Santino is training to be a substation fitter through the Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standards, which include a qualification in electrical power engineering. His training and college work will be completed at the company’s training centres in Kent and Suffolk and he will put his new skills into practice from his depot in Brixton.

Santino said: “I was amazed to get the job because I’m quite young but I have worked hard and am looking forward to the new challenge and going to new places. It is going to be a pressurised job but we will get plenty of support and I think I can handle the pressure because I managed to do well in my GCSEs while filming four days a week for Stage School.

“I feel this will provide more of a long-term career for me. It is a very structured training programme, we know what we are going to be doing and we are well looked after. I see this as a way to plan for my older age, by learning a trade and getting a career.

“I would like to work my way up through the company and be the best that I can be. I don’t believe in holding back, I want to realise my full potential. It’s something I aspire to do, to keep going until I get to the top.”

Matthew Horstead, who is 17, from West Wickham, is also beginning an apprenticeship with UK Power Networks and is training to be an underground cable jointer based in Falconwood. Matthew, a former Ravens Wood School student, was ‘over the moon’ to get the job as it was the second time he had applied for the apprenticeship. He enjoyed design technology at school and was working in computer design, but realised that it was not the career for him.

He said: “Restoring people’s power supplies will feel great because, what can you do without electricity? Power is essential and without UK Power Networks people can’t use their computers and lights. I like being hands-on and the electricity industry really intrigues me. I will enjoy being able to put the lights back on in the local community.

“Hopefully I will complete the apprenticeship successfully and work as a jointer for many years. When I’m older I would like to progress to being an engineer, move up the career ladder and be a director one day.”

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.”

This year the company teamed up with 28 energy and utility companies through the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership to launch the new Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy. The strategy is raising the profile of job opportunities, training and skills through to 2020 in an industry that provides essential power, gas, water and waste management services to 65 million people across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

UK Power Networks has already trained more than 250 apprentices in the past five years to help fill the industry’s skills gap and currently has 66 apprentices completing training with the company. Last year UK Power Networks apprentices became the first in the country to complete the new Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standards and received their certificates at the House of Commons. For a chance to follow in their footsteps see the careers pages at www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk