Recently I was pleased to go on a really interesting visit to Electricity North West’s state of the art training academy here in Blackburn.
Electricity North West are responsible for maintaining the power infrastructure in the North West – covering a huge area, from Carlisle in the North right down to Macclesfield in Cheshire, to the South. And during my visit Steve Cox, Head of Engineering Strategy provided a helping briefing as to the structure of the electricity supply industry, explaining the four stages; generation, transmission, distribution and supply, Electricity North West being responsible for distribution – this means maintaining all of the power lines to ensure that the electricity gets from the power stations to our homes and businesses.
It is clear that the work Electricity North West do is absolutely vital, ensuring power to 2.4 million households and businesses across the North West. Any failure in the distribution provided by Electricity North West can have massive knock on effects – as in the case of last years’ floods during Storm Desmond, which resulted in major power loss in the Lancaster area. It was reassuring to hear, however, how much Electricity North West understand how catastrophic to communities power cuts are, and how much investment the company has committed to as it works to reduce the likelihood of power cuts.
I was delighted to note that thanks to its central location and great transport links Electricity North West chose Blackburn as the location for its Training Academy, which provides technical and practical training for apprentices who go on to practical placements within the company. The Electricity North West’ successful 5-year apprenticeship scheme, trains graduate recruitments and A-level entrants. The academy also provides specific electrical qualifications as well as vocational on-the-job training. The training academy means that staff are fully equipped and trained to meet the challenges of keeping the North West’s electricity network running. I was pleased to hear that Electricity North West have a successful apprenticeship scheme, apprentices are trained for 5 years, most go on to have careers in the company and there is good staff retention.
It is great to see such a significant service provider within the electricity supply industry focussing its training in the Blackburn area and investing so much in ensuring that young people are equipped to a high standard.
With more and more energy moving towards renewables – through wind and solar – and an inevitable growth in the use of hybrid and electric cars, it is clear that demand is going to increase massively over the coming years, and I was reassured at the work that is being invested by Electricity North West in ensuring that an investment strategy is in place.
I was also pleased to hear about the work that the company is doing to tackle fuel poverty and improve efficient customer use of electrical appliances and I will be looking to bring together the Blackburn community and Electricity North West in order to look at what local projects we can organise so that our community benefits from lower energy costs.
If you’re interested in working for Electricity North West, you can view their current openings as well as learn more about their apprenticeship and graduate schemes here