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Skills boost for Colchester man

22 Apr Skills boost for Colchester man

A Colchester man has been chosen to train as a professional engineer and will be working to keep the power flowing to thousands of homes and businesses.

Joshua McAlinden previously operated as a smart meter operative and cable jointer prior to joining UK Power Networks, the country’s largest electricity distributor, which has chosen him for a two-and–a-half year higher apprenticeship to become a fully qualified engineer.

The annual Training Barometer report from In-Comm Training released this month (April) indicated optimism towards apprenticeships, with 67% of companies had taken on apprentices during the last 12 months, whilst 97% retained all their learners despite the pressures of Covid-19. This year, UK Power Networks is taking on 14 new craft apprentices and five higher apprentices who will play a key role in the country’s transition to Net Zero, as the company enables communities to use low carbon technologies, including electric transport and heating.

Joshua, 30, is looking forward to working as a protection and commissioning engineer upon completion of the higher apprenticeship course.

“This was a great opportunity to expand on the knowledge I have and move into a new field,” he said.

“There is so much to learn in this new role and the qualification can be applied to loads of other areas in the business. I’m hoping to use this experience to train and become a future leader. I’d like to be a fully qualified protection and commissioning engineer for years to come.”

Joshua is being paid while he studies and will be given a broad understanding of the business through a number of learning work placements. The course is a mix of classroom-based and practical sessions mostly held at one of the company’s training centres in Suffolk and Kent.

Dudley Sparks, UK Power Networks’ head of technical training and technical assurance said: “Apprentices are a vital component of our business make-up and a great way to show the work we’re doing in our communities. As we strive towards achieving Nnet Zero, they will play a vital part in helping to find new engineering solutions and ensuring that we have secure, reliable supplies for the future.”

UK Power Networks distributes electricity across London, the South East and East of England to 8.4 million customers. The company’s operational teams deliver safe and reliable power supplies, which enable the increasing uptake of electric vehicles and electric heating towards a low carbon future.