UK Power Networks to take on over 100 new apprentices this year – more than 25% of industry intakeNews
Posted by: electime 7th February 2024
The electricity firm UK Power Networks which took on 54 apprentices during 2023, is now planning to take on over 100 in 2024.
The Distribution Network Operator delivers power through overhead power lines, underground cables, and substations across London, the South East and East of England, serving approximately 20 million people.
With 400 apprentices joining the industry across Great Britain in 2024, UK Power Networks will provide 25 per cent of the industry’s intake.
To invest in a skilled workforce for the future, the firm is planning to hire 34 apprentices with previous work experience for a two-year course, and another 16 school leavers on a three-year scheme.
In addition to the craft apprentices, the firm is adding another 50 apprentices in other parts of the business; namely 24 Level 3 and Level 5 Leadership Academy recruits, 10 Level 3 Data Technicians, 10 Level 4 Data Analysts, six Level 7 Data & Technology Solutions Specialists and three finance apprentices will be added to the roster.
Half the apprentices hired in 2023 were career changers with some making the leap from other professions such as a barber, a zoo worker and a brewer. The firm also strives to find apprentices from under-privileged and under-represented backgrounds, through a range of tailored schemes.
During National Apprenticeship Week (5-11 February), UK Power Networks is working to train and retain all the apprentices who have joined the company, setting them up for a long career in an important and ever-changing industry.
Higher apprenticeship schemes are also open to existing employees who can build new skills to help them progress at the company. The Top 50 Inclusive Employer aims to include young people from under-represented backgrounds, including with its “Power Among Us” internship scheme organised in conjunction with multiple youth groups in London.
Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education Robert Halfon said: “Apprenticeships are crucial to giving people from all backgrounds the chance to climb the ladder of opportunity while addressing skills gaps and helping to grow our economy.
“It is brilliant news that UK Power Networks is continuing to embrace apprenticeships, taking on 100 more apprentices next year and focusing on those from under-privileged and under-represented backgrounds.
“UK Power Networks understand the apprenticeship levy and use it well. They have experienced the wealth of benefits apprentices bring to their business, and I hope more businesses follow their lead and experience this for themselves.”
To find out more about applying for a role at UK Power Networks see careers.ukpowernetworks.co.uk
In their own words:
Katherine Polston joined the company in 1995 and has recently completed a Level 5 Operations Departmental Manager Apprenticeship to hone her skills in management and leadership.
The General Enquiries & Smart Metering Manager based in Bury St Edmunds manages a team of 27 people and cites the apprenticeship as something that has benefitted her personal and professional growth.
She said: “I take great pride and am fully committed in trying to become the best version of me that I can.
“The apprenticeship has helped me to become more confident in all aspects of leadership and management and has enabled me to enhance my skills, knowledge and behaviours.
“I have been able to motivate and engage my team to achieve great performance and become the best in class in terms of customer service.
“My progress has been noticed by the team and my manager. I look forward to additional development opportunities and further career progression in the near future.”
The qualification helped her successfully restructure the team, identify areas for improvement, and optimise workflow, productivity and team cohesion.
Surrey-based trainee cable jointer Anton Povystan – originally from Kyiv, Ukraine – is now nearly halfway through his apprenticeship with UK Power Networks after realising his Biomedical Engineering degree at King’s College “wasn’t right for him.”
He said he was drawn to the apprenticeship because he wanted to simultaneously improve skills that are useful in the workplace whilst getting a qualification that is directly relevant to work.
Anton said: “I really enjoy working and learning at UK Power Networks. I feel that the skills I’m gaining are directly useful to the work I’m doing, and I’ve already done hands-on work which was lacking during my time at university.
“I feel like it has definitely opened doors for me in this industry, and unlike uni, when I finish this course I am almost certain to get a full-time job. There is plenty of opportunity to progress in the company and in the industry as a whole. The skills taught on the apprenticeship allow you to move forward quickly through your career if you choose or stay as a Jointer if you wish.
“I feel like I’d want to get some experience as a Jointer first, but I’m looking at gaining more qualifications to become an engineer in the future.”
Fortune Okonajiofor, a trainee substation fitter based in London’s Canning Town, took on an apprenticeship with UK Power Networks after previously training as a regular electrician.
His ambition was to become a full electrical engineer – which was recognised and supported by the electricity firm.
He said: “I did well in school but over time I lost interest in academics so I decided to seek a job role in the trades.
“My long-term goal was to work as an engineer for an electrical distribution company.
“UK Power Networks was the perfect workplace to fulfil that goal. I also wanted an environment that values the mental health of its employees. After finding UK Power Networks’ company values which include respect and integrity, I knew I would be a good fit. The company also had the Investors In People accreditation which meant opportunities to progress within the company.”
Director of Network Operations, Patrick Clarke, started his career as an apprentice in 1978 and has navigated his way through the industry for the past 45 years making his way to the top and mentoring others along the way.
Patrick said: “My sense of determination was perhaps shaped by my challenging upbringing in Jamaica.
“My excellent entrance exam performance with the London Electricity Board opened doors to an advanced apprenticeship and a successful career in an executive team for the last 20 years”