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National Grid Higher Apprentice Kyriacos Yianni for careers story

I’m in a team of people who care about me

Kyriacos Yianni, 23, is passionate about finding ways to create a greener future and, as a Higher Apprentice, he’s realising this ambition while also building a bright future for himself.

Hi, I’m Kyri and I’m an apprentice Substation Engineer in the Electricity Transmission Operations business.

No matter who you are or where you come from, if you have enthusiasm you can work for National Grid. There are so many routes into different apprenticeships and jobs.
 

National Grid Higher Apprentice Kyriacos Yianni for careers story

I’ve never been a big fan of exams, so after my GCSEs I did a two-year Level 3 BTEC in Engineering at Barking and Dagenham College. Afterwards I worked for three years as an electrician, with my dad. We did all the electrics for the Fuji film shop in London’s Leicester Square – a personal high for me – and lots of offices and private houses.

That hands-on experience has been a big help to me, but I deal with much higher voltages here! In some ways, I’m a big kid – I love the big bang that air-blast circuit breakers make. But I’m also passionate about using new technologies to create a greener future for everyone.

I went to a job fair at London Excel and got chatting to the people at the National Grid stall. I was really impressed when the first person I met there called me afterwards. All the way through the interview process, I always had a personal point of contact and felt that people cared about my progression. I started the three-year Higher Apprenticeship training in September 2019.

Earning while you’re learning

The scheme here is second to none, with a foundation degree at the end and on-the-job training. There’s also the small matter of earning while you’re learning.

I felt I was immediately in a team of people who cared about me as a person and about my success – university friends, my line manager, my work colleagues. There are so many different and interesting opportunities available within such a big company, so you can have a job for life but with fresh new challenges.

Our CEO John Pettigrew is a perfect example of this. I was really impressed when we had a New Talent chat with him and he explained his journey from a graduate apprenticeship, working in different departments to becoming head of the company.  That was inspirational to hear.

The scheme here is second to none, with a foundation degree at the end and on-the-job training. There’s also the small matter of earning while you’re learning.

The one thing I didn’t want was to be stuck in an office every day – this is a perfect combination of practical working on the equipment and theoretical studying of designs.

Embracing diversity

I’m part of the New Talent newsletter team, seeking out stories about the many different and inspirational groups within the company. I recently wrote an article on the LGBT group here and the events held during lockdown, including weekly quizzes and a virtual Pride. We embrace diversity here and one of our values that underpins everything is that we treat everyone equally and how we want to be treated ourselves.

I’ve learnt so much about myself during my training – like the positive feeling afterwards that’s makes the stress of exam revision and juggling work worth it. It feels life-affirming being part of such an interesting and rewarding company.