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Archie

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Archie's STORY

Power Apprentice
UK Power Networks

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Power apprentice Archie, 20, from Poplar, East London, describes his role with UK Power Networks, learning the skills that keep power supplies flowing to local communities. Archie is due to complete his training this summer and will be based in West Ham.

Tell us about your background? 


I went to Bishop Challonor Catholic School in Shadwell and at that point I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a career. I started sixth form and worked during my spare time as ground crew at the ArcelorMittal Orbit abseiling sculpture in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. In winter, I worked as a marshal for the ice rink and helped my dad, a self-employed plumber. I heard about UK Power Networks’ apprenticeship through a family friend. 
 

Why did the apprenticeship interest you? 


By then I was working and liked to have my own money and independence. I was looking for work that would be a career, rather than a job. Provided I am successful, I will have this career for a long time and I have made good friends through the programme. 
 

What will your job involve?  


I’m part of the maintenance team that looks after equipment in electricity substations that distribute power to homes and businesses. We all take electricity for granted and wherever you go you can turn on a switch and there is power. It’s something people don’t think about, but our team is responsible for maintaining reliable power supplies.  

It dawns on me how many people rely on the jobs we do. If you look up in London you see lots of buildings with lights on which depends upon the equipment we maintain.

Best part of the job so far? 


The people have been the best part of the job. Many of my friends are people from work. When you work together day-in-day-out, you become close. I lived with people on my apprenticeship course for a year, eating together every night and going out together outside work.  


Colleagues put a lot of trust in us, especially as apprentices, when we are new. When they get to know you, they give you jobs and you become part of the team.  

 

What impact will innovations such as electric vehicles, greener generation (such as solar and wind) and heat pumps will have on your job? 


It dawns on me how many people rely on the jobs we do. If you look up in London you see lots of buildings with lights on which depends upon the equipment we maintain. 


These days our communities are becoming even more reliant on electricity for transport and many buildings are moving away from gas to electricity. It is becoming more and more important to maintain a reliable power network. 

 

Advice to others considering this apprenticeship?  


Do as much research as you can about the apprenticeship because it is important to do something you enjoy. If you are successful then learn how to make a good cup of tea for a start! You start at the bottom and work your way up. You earn respect in the same way you earn the trust. In years to come, you may find yourself coaching an apprentice. 

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