Horsham man chosen to train as professional engineer by UK Power Networks

A Horsham 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.

Sam Smith worked as a shift maintenance electrician for a pharmaceutical company 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.

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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.

Sam Smith, from Horsham, has been chosen to become a qualified engineer at UK Power Networks

Sam, 20, is looking forward to working in the company’s asset management department as a protection and commissioning engineer upon completion of the higher apprenticeship course.

He said: "I’ve always wanted to work with a distribution network operator. The transition to net zero and working towards a green future has always been attractive to me.

"I’d known about the company during my previous role and worked in tandem with them prior to that. Whilst there I did my own research to see what the company provided and how I could add value.

"I see myself developing as a future leader and the programme allows for that too."

Sam 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 net 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, South East and East 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.

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