Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Fifteen apprentices climb ladder of opportunity

Fifteen apprentices are starting careers with Britain’s biggest power distribution company.

The apprentices are beginning an 18-month apprenticeship with UK Power Networks, which keeps the lights on across London, the South East and East of England.

They will be training to be cable jointers on low voltage electricity cables and will follow the Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standards, which include a qualification in electrical power engineering.

Their training will be completed at the company’s dedicated training centre in Kent and they will gain the experience to put their new skills into practice from their depots in Crawley, West Ham, Maidstone, Purfleet, Brixton, Enfield, Walton-on-Thames, Hemel Hempstead, Camden and Croydon.

Steve Winder, who is 33, from Essex, said: “I feel proud to be working here. We will be providing the power that everyone needs to go about their daily lives, which is a big responsibility. There is satisfaction in restoring power to people who have had issues and need power to get on with their lives.

“I hadn’t had an interview in six years so I was quite nervous. I thought they were going to be looking for younger people but they were more interested in my skills.”

Daniel Bartlett, who is 25, from Sussex, said: “I like the fact that everything in this country revolves around electricity. Nothing can function without it and to train as the person that resolves people’s electricity issues is a very valued job.”

Steve Read, trainee 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. 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