Witney and West Oxfordshire MP meets SSEN’s next generation of energy workers

Group of men standing next to work vans

Image shows: SSEN 3rd year apprentice Lewis Henderson, SSEN’s Head of Region for Ridgeway, Craig Rankin, Robert Courts MP for Witney and West Oxfordshire, SSEN’s Training School Lead, Mike Trussler, SSEN 1st year apprentice, Peter Ranger and SSEN 1st year apprentice, Cameron McPhie

Over 650 apprentices have been recruited to Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ (SSEN) workforce in the last five years and Robert Courts MP met with five this week that will be working to keep the lights on across his Witney and West Oxfordshire constituency.

Mr Courts met with the region’s apprentices at SSEN’s depot in Oxford to talk about the scheme that sees around £80,000 invested in each new recruit over their three-year training period. Many of the jobs achieved through these apprenticeships are in rural areas, providing high quality, well paid training opportunities which, in turn, support local economies and communities across the UK. 

The group’s discussion also focussed on how they’ll be working to build and maintain the electricity infrastructure serving nearly 600,000 residential and business customers across the Ridgeway region and how they’ll play a part in helping the UK meet its net zero target through their career path as part of SSEN’s workforce.

SSEN’s Head of Region for Ridgeway, Craig Rankin explains more: “It was fantastic to welcome Robert Courts MP to meet our dedicated, and hard-working apprentices. SSEN is a strong supporter of the Government’s decision to adopt a net zero emissions target by 2050, and we are working on the ground to support the low-carbon technologies that will make this possible. SSEN’s apprentices that are being trained today will have a critical role on that journey.

“Living, working and training in their local area, they will learn every aspect of our region’s network that contains nearly 15,500 substations, and spans 14,000km of underground cable and over 9,550km of overhead lines.”

Craig continued: “Our parent company SSE was one of the first companies to call for a net zero target, putting sustainable development at the heart of its strategy and we’ve been delighted to meet Mr Courts at our depot today to talk about how this overarching strategy fits with our plans for the future of his local region, and how this next generation of energy workers will help achieve the net zero target.”

Mr Courts added: “It’s been fascinating to speak to some of Ridgeway’s apprentices; to hear about the variety of training they will undertake to keep the lights on for customers across the region. These trainees and apprentices will form SSEN’s workforce for the future and help in their plans to lower carbon emissions in line with the Government’s net zero targets, and I welcome their contribution.”

Ridgeway’s apprentices and trainees will play a vital role in delivering a secure, reliable and cost-effective service to the regions households, businesses and communities. Positions in this current intake of 40 new recruits across central southern England include apprentice jointers, electrical fitters and linesmen and women and most of their roles will take four years to complete, in order for them to gain a nationally recognised qualification.

Peter Ranger, 1st year apprentice said: “SSEN’s apprentice and trainee schemes means that I’ve been able to train and work as a mature learner in my local area, and provides me with a salary while I work through my course on my way to qualifying.

“Every day is different and it’s reassuring to know that, as well as the positive changes we’ll be making in our local communities, we’ll be helping tackle the wider issue of climate change. There can’t be many jobs you can say that about and I’d encourage anyone – of any age - thinking of a career in the energy industry to take a look at what SSEN has to offer and the stability this scheme brings to your career opportunities.”

SSEN’s Apprenticeship Programme offers the opportunity for apprentices to earn whilst they learn new skills and gain valuable work experience and qualifications. The programme can take three to four years to complete and is centred on work based learning and training linked directly to the job.

To find out more about these programmes, please go to https://www.ssen.co.uk/Careers/Apprenticeships/