A TRAINEE from Wisbech more used to riding the ocean waves is carrying on a family tradition to focus on maintaining electricity lines as part of his new career.
Jack Matthews (18), of Outwell Road, is among 11 successful candidates joining UK Power Networks’ Apprentice programme to become jointer, linesmen and fitters, working on the electricity distribution network.
Over the next three years they will prepare to join the skilled team of field staff who keep a quarter of the UK’s electricity networks running.
Jack, who will be based at the company’s King’s Lynn depot as a linesman, said: “When I left school I got into college doing a sound engineering and audio production course because, in my spare time, I work at a holiday park on sound and lighting, doing a bit of DJ work too.
“But my dad is a linesman for the company, having done 26 years so far, and my grandad was one for 40 years too. Dad encouraged me to go for this apprenticeship because he knws what a good, long-term career it is.
“Of course, it means I already know about the job and lifestyle – being on call at awkward times of the day and night, every day of the year, has been part of my upbringing so I can take it in my stride.”
As well as enjoying fishing, air rifle and shotgun shooting, Jack is also a jet ski instructor along the North Norfolk coast at Sea Palling.
Basil Scarsella, UK Power Networks’ chief executive, said: “It is vital we employ the right people with the right skills. Our apprenticeship scheme is a huge success and ensures we can continue to provide the right service for our customers – both now and in the future.”
The apprenticeship scheme restarted in 1996 to address a shortage in the number of electrical craftsmen joining the industry. Since then hundreds of apprentices have been through a structured programme of training and many of them are now fully-fledged members of the workforce.
The new recruits embarked on the programme at the start of this month. At the end, they will qualify with a Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF) Diploma in Electrical Power Engineering. Anybody who is interested in joining such a course should call 020-7397-7690.