National Grid’s apprenticeships have just been rated as some of the best in the UK. It’s a great recommendation as the company expands the scheme and continues to back a variety of training schemes to nurture the future generation of personnel, as Aaron Coulson, New Talent Manager, explains.
Advancing up the apprenticeship league
“In our company, it doesn’t matter where you start – the world is your oyster.”
Steve Holliday, CEO, National Grid.
Over the past 10 years, 1,325 young people have graduated from a National Grid Advanced Apprenticeship, Engineer Training Programme or Graduate Development Training Programme.
Source: National Grid.
It’s a hopeful sign when youngsters start singing the praises of their training scheme and it looks as though we’re on the right path with our apprenticeships. That’s because the people who take them have voted us into the top 10 of the UK’s ‘Rate My Apprenticeship’ survey – in only our second year of participation.
We know apprenticeships are good, both for the people who undertake them and for National Grid. That’s why we’re substantially stepping up our intake of apprentices, with 183 new starters taken on this autumn. That figure is due to rise to 250 next year – more than double the number we took on in 2014 – as we fight the current skills shortage.
Apprenticeships are making a big come-back in the UK. In places like Germany they’ve never been out of fashion and that’s one of the reasons that country still has a strong industrial sector.
Training for success
These opportunities to ‘earn as you learn’, together with other training courses, are essential for our future business success and the growth of the energy industry as a whole. That’s why we offer a range of courses – Advanced Apprenticeships and Higher Apprenticeships, as well as Student Development and Graduate Development programmes.
Over the past 10 years, 1,325 young people have graduated from a National Grid Advanced Apprenticeship, Engineer Training Programme or Graduate Development Training Programme. We reckon that number will double over the next decade as we step up the pace.
Making the scheme even more attractive in years to come will be our promise to extend our commitment to pay the new National Living Wage to all our apprentices, interns and graduates.
Our range of training schemes
Our schemes cater for young people from a variety of educational backgrounds and provide the skills they need to go on and have a successful career in engineering.
This doesn’t only help them – it makes good business sense for the company, too. Many will go on to have a long career with us. We know that around 85% will stay with us for more than five years and around half will go on to more senior roles. That’s good news all round. Any company will tell you that recruiting takes up a huge amount of time, so having people stick around is really helpful to us.
CEO Steve Holliday made that point last month at the annual New Talent awards ceremony for 133 apprentices and graduates to mark the end of their formal two-year training programmes. “In our company, it doesn’t matter where you start – the world is your oyster,” he commented. And through our apprentice and training schemes, Steve and the rest of the management team really hope to encourage more pupils and students to pursue a career in engineering.
At the New Talent awards, an ‘Apprentice of the Year’ was named for each of 12 programmes that we’ve been running. One of the winners was Sam Smith, who has completed his three-year apprenticeship in Advanced Substation management and was recognised for his voluntary work promoting the apprenticeship scheme.
One of the reasons for our high rating is our world-class training centre at Eakring in Nottinghamshire, where many of our apprentices and graduates will spend at least some of their time. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Eakring, it’s a remarkable place. There are dedicated facilities for lots of different business areas – including overhead lines and an operational 400Kv substation.
For those of you who have just made it through your training, well done. You’ll be heading off to your destination roles in the company’s various business areas. It’s great to have you on board and we hope you make your career here. Crack on and you can look forward to great chances to advance your career – and the pay isn’t bad, either!