Regional network operator UK Power Networks has offered full-time roles to five interns emerging from under-represented backgrounds in London.

The star quintet showed outstanding promise among participants in the DNO’s ‘Power Among Us’ programme. They now receive apprenticeships in craft roles related to the capital’s power grid.

The ‘Power Among Us’ programme saw UK Power Networks reaching out for the first time to various youth groups across the capital, to offer work experience for young people from communities so far under-represented in the energy industry.

The initiative was inspired by the UK’s cost-of-living crisis, where significant levels of unemployment are being experienced in London. Opportunities were given to nine individuals not in employment, education or training (aka ‘NEETs’).

Participants spent two weeks in UKPN’s offices where they developed soft skills in communication and interaction with colleagues, at the same time growing to understand how the UKPN operates.

The second half of the programme saw them go out with trained engineers to see first-hand how the power network is maintained.

UK Power Networks aimed to provide interns with employability skills that can be transferred into a variety of industry sectors.  The enterprise has judged  ‘Power Among Us’ first cohort to be a success, with every intern displaying skill and determination to learn about the industry.

The regional netco, a Top 50 Inclusive Employer, has made been at pains to give opportunities to youngsters who have traditionally not considered or had difficulty in accessing careers in electrical engineering. It plans to expand the initiative to the South East and East, after the programme’s success.

UKPN’s outreach and development specialist Natasha Paramasamy was among the initiative’s leaders. “The progress and growing maturity observed in our interns are commendable, “ she noted.

“They have dedicated themselves wholeheartedly, embracing an open mindset throughout the programme. The presentations they delivered at its end reflect the positive influence it has had on their personal and professional development.”

UKPN’s director of network operations Patrick Clarke began his career as an apprentice. He added:

“I think the industry has got some way to go. It’s still not seen as an attractive industry to some young people, and certainly not to young people from diverse backgrounds.

“To make this change, fishing in many different pools is essential, so when we cast our nets there will be interest from all types of people – because the best candidates come from every part of society”.

Kamron Nicely is one of the chosen five.  “The skills that I’ve developed is learning the difference between an electrician and an electrical engineer”, he said.

“If I wasn’t offered this opportunity, I would be doing voluntary work for an electrician, which is what I was doing before this. I would say this will have a good impact on my life and change my life because hopefully, I can get to a place where I want to be.

‌”It’s going to improve my future”, Kamron added, “by giving me the experience to come across business people, working class people and build networks in the future. I’m ready to start at UK Power Networks right away to be honest. They’re saying May or September, but hopefully it will be May”.


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