To mark the start of National Apprenticeship Week (8th-14th February), Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is kickstarting the careers of 16 new trainees and apprentices in central southern England, ensuring the ongoing coronavirus pandemic doesn’t derail the job prospects of the next generation of engineers.
Responsible for operating and maintaining the electricity distribution networks supplying over 3.1million homes and businesses across central southern England, including the Isle of Wight, SSEN adds this latest intake of new recruits to the many jobs created across SSEN in 2020, as the organisation steps up its ambitions to build the electricity network needed to deliver net zero.
One new recruit is 24-year-old Melissa Speake, who is re-locating from her home in Edinburgh to become a Trainee Engineer on the Isle of Wight.
Melissa will train and work with experienced staff across SSEN’s South East infrastructure which serves the area’s 750,000 customers and stretches over 43,375 kilometres in areas including Chichester, Portsmouth, Aldershot, Basingstoke and the Isle of Wight.
“The virtual induction introduced us to so many employees across the ranks and showcased the possibilities for development and progression that senior members had gone through. The message of ‘work hard and keep asking for the tools to progress’ was reiterated in our sessions as the tool for growth in our careers and within the company.
“With the pandemic, unemployment rates and general desperation was and is a recurring theme in the news but in this time some sectors have grown, and I want to be a part of something that is growing.
“I was attracted to SSEN as it is an essential industry and I know that, once trained, my skills will be relevant and applicable for at least the next decade. The company has enough variety of roles and sectors that as long as I am open to learning I could progress into different areas throughout my career.”
In previous years recruits would have attended a week-long induction event before undertaking activity at training centres on-site and at college, but coronavirus restrictions mean they’ve been welcomed via a mixture of virtual and limited face-to-face meetings and they will be subject to social distancing measures and blended learning as they progress.
Provided with all of the technology they need to earn as they learn, the trainees and apprentices will also occasionally join a fully qualified colleague in a work support bubble, meaning they can maintain practical experience, but only through social distanced learning with one other person, ensuring all safety and coronavirus hygiene measures are strictly adhered to.
John Stewart, SSEN’s Director of HR, said:
“Just as efforts have continued to battle the coronavirus pandemic so too have they stepped up in the fight against climate change, so whilst it will have been a very different induction to the business for our latest apprentices and trainee engineers, they couldn’t be joining the industry at a more vital time.
“Our business is investing £4m a day in low-carbon energy and electricity infrastructure over the next five years and these recruits are joining an industry at a critical moment in the low carbon transition, setting their careers up to play a pivotal role in delivering a net zero future.”
To find out more about how you can join SSEN as an apprentice or trainee, go to https://www.sse.com/careers/.
— to www.islandecho.co.uk