Alex's Story - Cable Jointer Apprentice, UK Power Networks

Alex Sanderson was the only female in the group when gaining her Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standard. She reveals why an apprenticeship is the route for her, and how she sees her career progressing. 

Alex Sanderson, Apprentice with UKPN

What do you do and where do you do it?

“I am based in a depot in Trowse, in Norwich. I connect homes and businesses to the electricity network.”

What do you like the most about your role?

“At the moment I’m spending time on building sites and domestic properties extending electricity mains. I really like working on electricity faults because it’s so interesting. A fault is like a big puzzle. We have to find and fix the problem to get customers back on supply.”

How did you get into it?

“I was training as an electrician before joining UK Power Networks in November 2014. It was a good foundation for this role. I was the only female in the first group of apprentices in the country to gain the new employer-designed Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standard.”

Why did you choose an apprenticeship?

“An apprenticeship is an essential training requirement for the job that I do. A lot of people end up in debt after university and being in a classroom wouldn’t have suited me. I’m more of a hands-on person, which is demonstrated in my work.”

Why engineering?

“I like the fact this job has great career prospects. If you work hard and prove yourself you can progress. I plan to go into an engineering or management role.

“My advice, especially to women, is to never give up. When it gets difficult, just keep going. You will find easier ways of doing things with experience. If it starts off hard it will get easier, but you need to work hard to get to where you want to be.”

I’m proud to be the first woman to gain this qualification. I’m dyslexic … my colleagues couldn’t have been more supportive

What challenges did you face?

“I’m proud to be the first woman to gain this qualification. The hard work has paid off. I’m dyslexic, so sometimes needed help writing my reports. My colleagues in Norwich couldn’t have been more supportive, they are fantastic.”

How does the role match with your expectations: fallen short, equalled or exceeded?

“I didn’t come here with fixed expectations because I didn’t know much about the role at first. I volunteered to do work experience as a way to see what the work involved, get noticed and as a way to get into the company. My aim is to progress and work my way up.”

Why is your role important?

“My role is important because new developments need electricity supplies and if people have a power cut we fix it. Everyone relies on electricity to power mobile phones, tablets and TVs, so it’s a crucial job.”

Find out more about Apprenticeships, UK Power Networks, or read our other Stories. If you're thinking about applying for a role, visit our Current Vacancies page.