A Dartford recruit has joined an elite power apprenticeship programme, to help keep power flowing to millions of homes, while supporting Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Jack Atkins, 20, from Dartford, Kent, has gained a place among 14 new recruits on UK Power Networks’ highly-acclaimed apprenticeship, learning the expert skills to help keep the lights on for 8.4 million homes and businesses across the South East, London and East of England

The apprenticeship programme was recently accredited by theInstitution of Engineering and Technology (IET), meeting the highest standards of quality, content, support and assessment.

Jack will spend the next two years on the programme studying at dedicated training centres and working under supervisionalongside experienced experts in the electricity industry in London to become a fitter, maintaining and upgrading electricity substations. He will learn vital skills and play an important role in meeting the growing demand from communities and organisations as more and more turn to low carbon technologies such as Electric Vehicles and heat pumps.

Jack, who studied at The Leigh, Dartford, started training as an electrician after leaving school and has worked on electric charge-points, domestic and commercial electricity supplies,including at Buckingham Palace. He said his first impressions of his new employer were ‘amazing’.

He said: “This is a big step in my life and I was over the moonto gain a place on this apprenticeship programme. People love working here, it’s a company where you can grow, work your way up and make a name for yourself.

“I couldn’t go into an office doing the same thing every day. In my new role there is always going to be something different every day, which makes it interesting. 

“An electrical fitter is someone who goes to electricity substations and construction sites to connect electricity to make sure everyone has power in their homes and businesses.”

Rt Hon Justine Greening, chair of the Purpose Coalition, said:”Apprenticeships are an integral part of how we plug the skills gap, enabling young people to earn while they learn and providing them with a positive pathway to a career. As an employer-provider, UK Power Networks were rated good with two areas of outstanding in their recent Ofsted inspection. 

“UK Power Networks are expanding their programme, opening up access to traditional and emerging careers which will be part of a new high tech, green economy. Its continuing work to develop and support young people will provide a pipeline of talent directly from the communities it serves and will also drive stronger social mobility – a key imperative for a successful Britain of the future.

“As a leading member of the Purpose Coalition, UK Power Networks has demonstrated the positive impact that a purpose-led company can have on those communities it’s part of, as well as on its customers and colleagues. In the face of the twin challenges of recovery from the pandemic and the current economic crisis, as well as the acceleration to net zero, it has stepped up to the mark as the first distribution network operator to partner with the Purpose Goals initiative. Measuring the impact it has across a range of social mobility indicators, will enable the business to continue to ensure that opportunity is open to everyone.”

Charlie Aston, engineering trainee manager at UK Power Networks, said: “As more industries look to low carbon technologies to help achieve their sustainability and cost ambitions, our apprentices can play an important role in helping to achieve the country’s Net Zero carbon emissions targets over the coming years.

“We look to recruit people who share the company’s focus on teamwork and values. They will shadow an experienced teamas part of their training, spending at least a quarter of the programme completing on-the-job training.

“Our apprenticeship is an ideal opportunity for people who enjoy working in the outdoors and want variety as they will face different challenges every day, usually in different locations.”

UK Power Networks is ranked number one in the UK in the global Smart Grid Index and was also named first in London earlier this year on the Best Big Companies to Work For list 2022. The company is also rated as a ‘Platinum’ level Investor in People.

Applications for the next intake of apprentices for 2023 are open. More information on applications can be found here.