As one of the fastest-growing industries in the UK, the electricity networks sector is continuously looking for skilled workers. Almost all industries rely on a consistent electricity supply, so distribution must be efficient and secure. We take a look at careers in the energy networks sector and some of the routes towards employment.
The industry is benefiting from an ever-advancing range of smart and low carbon technologies that will interact with electricity networks and electric connection systems. This is driving the need for a new generation of engineers with the skills to work on the energy systems of the future. The average starting salary is £16,000.
Apprenticeships are a great option for those who want to combine hands-on work experience with vocational learning. The qualifications available include estimating, electrical design, electrical contracts, and technical electrician diplomas. Having hands-on experience as well as technical knowledge and interpersonal skills will boost your employment prospects.
Several employers across the UK support these apprenticeships helping to develop your skills and technical know-how. Many professionals in the distribution sector build their careers through a Power Network Craftsperson Advanced Apprenticeship or a Higher Apprenticeship for Electrical Power Network Engineers.
Other relevant college courses include the Level 2 Certificate in Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technology and the Level 3 Diploma in Engineering Technology. If you are already employed in the electrical industry with the necessary certificates, you could apply for a place on an engineering training scheme to develop distribution skills.
Employers also recognise Degrees in Engineering. The specialism which they cover can often enhance employment prospects and open the door to graduate programmes in the energy sector.
For electricity networks distribution, employers value excellent problem-solving skills, a good knowledge of computer systems, and attention to detail. Also vital is a willingness to learn in challenging environments (such as during the night and working on heights).
Nurturing new talent
As one of the largest employers in the North East and Yorkshire, Northern Powergrid helps to nurture new talent in the sector through its 2019 Graduate and Technical Staff Trainee Engineer Programme, and Trainee Engineer (Foundation Degree) Programme. By offering such an initiative, the company is future-proofing its workforce through the development of new talents.
We want to attract a new generation of brilliant, agile engineers who can energise their career, strengthen our workforce and help us deliver our £3 billion programme of investments and improvements for our customers now and in the future. Becky Robson, Head of People, Northern Powergrid
Currently, the UK faces a skills shortage in engineering subjects and industries are constantly on the lookout for new talent. The Government declared 2018 ‘The Year of Engineering’ to remedy the skills shortage by enticing new employees into the industry. Studies show that for the engineering sector to overcome the skills gap, 186,000 recruits would be required to fill vacant roles in the field each year until 2024.
The electricity network distribution sector is vital for maintaining the day-to-day running of many businesses. So, promoting future talent to join the industry requires a further emphasis on the diversity and availability of routes and opportunities.