Whether it’s venturing into tunnels deep below London, using futuristic new technology or keeping the country’s lights on (literally) by making sure electricity flows to the right places, our apprenticeship schemes offer so many different and exciting opportunities – all while playing a part in National Grid’s commitment to tackle climate change.
These are just a few examples of the roles that our apprenticeships include, fostering the skills needed for a green energy future with a mix of studying and hands-on experience.
I’m training to join the team that makes sure energy is moved around the network to get where it’s needed, safely and securely.
As part of the scheme, I work on different projects that help me learn to respond to faults on the network, manage safety processes and respond to critical alarms raised by emergency services, members of the public or my colleagues in the field.
It’s been really interesting learning how data is gathered from overhead power lines and substations, and then communicated back to the control room. I’ve also enjoyed learning how to operate an air blast circuit breaker, doing safety switching and learning how the integrated energy management system (IEMS) is used to monitor the system and operate substation equipment.
I love that the team I’ll be joining is responsible for keeping the lights on. I’ll see the impact of my job every day and having that purpose and real-life impact is the most rewarding part.
The role also combines my love for engineering with my passion for the environment and climate change. And, as there aren’t many women in engineering, I’m happy to play a role in getting more women into this industry.
...a foundation degree in Electrical Power System Engineering at Aston University.
I’m training to become an Asset Lifecycle Engineer, which essentially means finding new ways to get the most out of our assets. 'Assets' are anything we own or operate on the network – like overhead lines, underground cables, transformers, circuit breakers and infrastructure – so this means that no two projects or days are ever the same!
One of the most exciting things about this role is knowing that the projects I work on hold real-life relevance. For example, I led a project to review how we gather temperature data from buried cables and the conclusions of the report are real conclusions, which will impact how National Grid operates.
One project involved travelling to London to investigate an issue with a grid transformer. I had the opportunity to take a look inside the tunnels that feed the substation. This was very surreal as London is so busy and noisy, yet in the tunnel you could hear a pin drop.
I’ve also loved spending time the Eakring training facility; although much of our training is virtual due to the pandemic, some practical training still takes place here. It’s like a hotel, with a really relaxed atmosphere and the food provided is AMAZING. Evenings are spent with all the other apprentices, either in the bar area or the chillout room, where you can connect a games console. In the summer months they can even provide you with mountain bikes, or there’s a local driving range if you want to practice your swing.
Over 10,000 people apply for National Grid apprenticeships evert year. I remember saying 'I've won the golden ticket' when I heard the news.
What's really rewarding is knowing that all my hard work is paying off – whether that’s positive feedback from colleagues or the training centre, or positive results from university. I feel like I have free reign to do whatever I want (within reason) in order to develop my understanding and knowledge.
...a foundation degree in Power System Management at Aston University.
Working towards becoming a Substation Craftsperson means I get to be part of all kinds of innovative projects, which are not only helping to 'keep the lights on' around the country but also contribute to our target of net zero emissions.
Exciting parts of my role include travelling around the country to complete jobs on our various substations, and witnessing the implementation of innovative projects like the smart wires project – new technology from the US that helps to balance and maximise the power flow in our network.
There’s also the opportunity to get my license for operating on-site machinery, like mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs).
Because the work I do is always changing, and there’s such a breadth of knowledge across my team, I'm constantly learning new things and have the ability to pass this knowledge onto others.
As a female engineer it’s also rewarding to know that I’m playing a real role in inspiring more women to get into this industry.
...for a Power Network Level 3 City and Guilds qualification, and Power Network Standard (Trailblazer) qualification.
London Power Tunnels (LPT) is a £1 billion flagship project to rewire South London by housing electricity cable infrastructure in tunnels up to 60m below street level.
Knowing that this project will help the city to access the renewable energy of the future, and benefit people’s lives for years to come, means that being a part of it is not only exciting but extremely rewarding.
Some of the best and most exciting parts of being involved in the LPT project has been getting out on site and experiencing the tunnels first-hand; travelling deep underneath London and getting to see how National Grid is making the future a reality.
One of the most rewarding things about my apprenticeship is that I can really feel myself growing as a person. Before joining, I would never have imagined doing most of the things I’ve done and taken part in. But each day I push myself further out of my comfort zone, which is a massive boost to my confidence.
...for my PMQ exam under the APM project management qualification.
The TNCC control room deals with the real-time remote operation of high-voltage equipment in the UK’s substations. If a fault occurs, or equipment needs to be maintained, we’re the ones who are responsible for switching equipment in and out – all while keeping our on-site colleagues and the public safe.
As part of my apprenticeship I’m learning how the control room works and undergoing all the training required to cover this role. It’s made me realise how seriously the TNCC take safety and why the work that happens in there is so crucial.
Developing our teambuilding skills in Aberdovey with my apprentice colleagues – it was great to get to know each other through fun activities like climbing mountains.
Once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, I'm also really looking forward to shadowing the engineers in the control room.
By working in the control room I’ll have the chance to make a real difference in the future of the electricity industry, which I’m quite passionate about. I also like to think that I can play a part in inspiring more women to get involved in the energy industry.
...a foundation degree in Electrical Power Systems Engineering at Aston university.
Want to know more about becoming a National Grid apprentice?