Apprenticeships are helping build new careers in the energy industry, and their success was highlighted to the Education Secretary, Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, when he visited Northern Powergrid’s training facilities. The power network operator welcomed the Education Secretary into its business with a tour around its training facilities before meeting apprentices at different stages in their apprenticeship programmes.
Northern Powergrid is the network that delivers electricity to 3.9 million homes and businesses across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire.
During the minister’s visit the company demonstrated how apprenticeships are fuelling its future workforce, with new openings coming up in early 2019.
New career opportunities are being developed, through apprenticeships, for people from many different backgrounds.
Along with its highly successful Power Network Craft Apprenticeships, for people honing the skills needed to build, maintain and repair power networks, electrical power plant, overhead lines and cables, and its Power Network Engineer Apprenticeships, the electricity network operator has two of the UK’s first energy sector cyber apprentices.
This year has also seen new apprenticeships to create a new generation of Network Control Engineers and Design Engineers who will have the skills to manage the company’s power network and design future network investments and new electricity connections.
Northern Powergrid’s apprentice programme is not just for school leavers. Current apprentices range from 16 to 45 years in age. Some had previous careers in the police, dental, retail and travel industries before deciding to switch to a sector where innovation in smart technologies is helping create low-carbon networks.
Mr Hinds said: “It was great to meet the apprentices and staff at Northern Powergrid. They are an excellent example of how industry is working with Government to create more high quality apprenticeships so businesses can recruit the skilled workforce they need for a rapidly changing world.
“I was really impressed with the high standard of training and facilities, and to see how apprenticeships are helping people of all ages and backgrounds to gain new skills and get on in life. I wish them all the best for the future.”
Phil Jones, Northern Powergrid’s chief executive, said: “The apprenticeship programme is a huge force for good in our business and will remain an integral part of how we recruit and develop our workforce.
“We currently have more than 160 apprentices learning new skills and contributing to our business every day. Over the last decade we’ve trained more than 500 apprentices and 98 per cent of them are still part of our team. I think that shows that apprenticeships are right for our people as well our company.
“Apprenticeships are helping create a new generation of highly-skilled people who have the opportunity to contribute not just to Northern Powergrid - but also the wider regional economy we serve.
“We work with a range of partners, such as government, local colleges, the EU Skills Partnership and Academy Ambassadors, to help create educational opportunities that help people acquire more marketable skills.”
Northern Powergrid delivers apprenticeships through its three training centres in Castleford, Durham and Swillington. It will open its doors again in spring 2019 for apprenticeship applications.
Details will be published on northernpowergrid.com/careers and social media pages nearer the time.