The apprentice with energy

A week’s work experience proved life-changing for Nathan Hunt. Now 17, he swapped plans for A Levels and university for an apprenticeship with National Grid. Here he talks about what and how he’s learning and his hopes for the future.

From conveyor belt to career kick-start apprenticeship

I joined National Grid at 16 as an apprentice. I was planning to do the normal school ‘conveyor belt’ thing – A-levels, a degree, maybe a Masters – before moving into a career. But then, a year before my GCSEs, I saw a week’s taster course with National Grid* advertised on our school intranet. It was free and a week off school – what was not to like!

In the nicest way, if the Grid was laying a trap I fell into it. I thought: ‘This is one of the best opportunities I’ve got’…

In the nicest way, if the Grid was laying a trap, I fell into it. I thought: ‘this is one of the best opportunities I’ve got’, so I applied for their apprentice programme and got through. I think National Grid really cares about their apprentices. The course is one of the best in the country and the pay is higher than other apprenticeships I know of.

Hands-on experience from the start

The apprenticeship programme lasts three years. It’s fair to say the work is more ‘hands on’ that I thought, but it’s the right choice for me. Our team moves around our patch and right now we’re working on Network Rail transformers, doing maintenance and overhauls.

One of the highlights for me is that I’m curious to get behind the scenes of some of the country’s infrastructure – stuff the public doesn’t see. Also, knowing that what I’m doing helps keep our society on its feet.

Contributing to the quest for Net Zero

I feel I’m part of the decarbonisation plans for Britain. Part of my team’s work is about the capability of the system and upgrading our assets. If we make it to Net Zero, as I hope we will, I know I’ll have done my bit.

* Run in partnership with the Smallpiece Trust