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Designing our future

Posted on: 10/05/2016

These days’ apprenticeships seem to be a political and industry buzzword. You can’t read about employment opportunities without it cropping up, and no Government Minister ever fails to champion their benefits for opening doors into the world of work.

But to us, and I am extremely proud to say this, it’s nothing new. Since we started operations in 2005, apprentices have played a pivotal role in how we do business, resulting in a well-trained, highly skilled and loyal workforce who know our business inside and out and add value to our organisation.

We have taken on 119 apprentices so far, which is no mean feat for an organisation of our size.

  • 57 have been in Emergency and Metering Services – the first responders to reports of gas leaks.  
  • 41 have been in Network Services – the team that maintain the control systems of the gas network
  • 11 have been in Build & Repair – who maintain the gas network and lay new gas connections; and
  • 10 have joined the alliance that delivers our gas pipe replacement programme, working with our contract partners AMEC Foster Wheeler and Morrison Utilities Services.

This is important for a range of reasons. Not all of our colleagues will be here in five or six years, and apprentices give us the ability to maintain our workforce at the level required to meet our workload. The other, longer term, benefit that apprentices can bring is further options for managers of the future too.

With this in mind I am pleased that we are offering 25 new career opportunities in our Build & Replace and Network Services teams this year to those who are keen to progress in a world of gas engineering. A selection of applicants will be invited to assessment centres in June 2016, and the successful candidates will attend a full induction programme in August. You can find out more information about our apprenticeships here.

Our apprenticeships offer adult learners aged 16 and over an opportunity to earn while they learn in a real job, gaining a real qualification and a real future. Hiring apprentices helps build our business long into the future by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

I started out as an apprentice in Build & Repair and I was sure that what I was learning would stand me in good stead for a long time to come and it did – but it’s no easy ride. On the way I’ve got an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering and I’ve become a Chartered Engineer. I still love coming into work every day – the gas industry is always fascinating – and exciting. I’d recommend a career in the gas industry to anyone.  

Andrew

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Andrew Hopkins

Wales & West Utilities Director of Operations