Apprenticeships have long been a popular option for school-leavers, job-seekers and employers throughout the UK, with 27,000 apprenticeship starts across the nation in November 2017 alone. At npower, we see enormous value in apprenticeships as part of our early careers offering, which also includes graduate schemes and internships and placements. This commitment has seen us take on a new cohort of Smart Meter apprentices, completing our 11-group run which has seen us welcome 106 new apprentices to this part of the business. These team members will play a very significant role in the ongoing roll-out of Smart Meters across Britain and are integral to the future success of the business. Here’s what you need to know:
About the Smart apprenticeship programme
We’ve been running the Smart apprenticeship scheme since 2016, when we identified the need to bring on and train new talent to help support the Smart meter movement. With the 2020 deadline for Smart Meter installation rapidly approaching, we knew we needed to not only increase our resources in this area, but also add new skills. Currently, 25% of the Smart workforce at npower is apprentices.
The 14-month programme is run in partnership with Group Horizon and produces fully-qualified Smart Meter Installers ready to hit the ground running upon graduation of the programme. And while the Smart Meter programme will taper off as the installation deadline nears, none of our installers will be out of work. While we are not currently taking on new apprentices in the Smart Meter space, we are always looking at new ways to upskill our colleagues and introduce new people to the business.
Recognising the success of our apprentices
Our apprentices do great things. Recently, one of our Smart apprentices was shortlisted for the National Skills Academy – Power Apprentice of the Year in the Rising Star category. Karl Warner started with us as a meter reader when he became aware of the opportunity to upskill to Smart Meter Installations, gain qualifications and safeguard his future career. His participation in the apprenticeship saw him learn gas and electrical skills, as well as improving his English and maths levels – not to mention improving his overall confidence. He’s on track to taking on a mentoring or management role within the business, something the apprenticeship scheme has helped bring within his reach.
In Karl’s own words: “I would strongly recommend an apprenticeship to others. It’s an investment in your future and you get trained and qualified along the way. To achieve what I have in 18 months is great – there is no looking back.”
Karl is now one of the team’s top performers, despite being new to smart installations, and his finalist placing for the national award is testament to his hard work and success in the apprenticeship programme.
Karl is one of a number of successful apprentices who have completed our Smart Meter Apprenticeship. Read more about what our other apprentices had to say about their experience by clicking here.