Parents section

What is a Trainee Engineer programme?

A trainee engineer programme provides hands on experience, a salary and the opportunity to gain qualifications while you work. Our trainee engineers have the opportunity to study towards and gain a minimum HNC level qualification from an academic provider. Our trainee engineer programme takes 3 years to complete and offers a starting salary of circa £17,539.

Three myths about Trainee Engineer Programmes de-bunked

Trainee Engineer Programmes are not for top students

Trainee Engineer Programmes are not inferior but are purely an alternative route to gaining a meaningful career. We are looking for career-focused individuals, who have considered their options and are keen to enter the world of work, while learning. University isn’t always the best choice for young people and trainee engineer programmes can offer a real valuable and worthwhile alternative. Moreover, all of our trainee engineer programmes involve further study and qualifications at a minimum HNC level.

Trainee Engineer Programmes are at a disadvantage because they do not have a degree

Our trainee engineer programmes provide the opportunity for a wealth of qualifications, training and experience. All our apprenticeships and trainee schemes offer the opportunity for further study, most often at College or University. Our Trainee Engineers study towards and gain a minimum HNC level qualification from an academic provider. All of this while gaining work experience and soft skills working with diverse groups of people! And it doesn’t stop there – we have supported many trainees with their study goals expanding on what they have achieved on our programmes throughout their career!

University grads earn more money than former trainee engineers

We view our trainee engineers as vital to the future success of our company and want to make sure we help them achieve their full potential. Our programmes are massive investments in our trainees future and ours. For example, we invest a great deal in our trainee engineers over 3 years – through employment, mentors, training, and further study.  As there skills and experience develop, so does their salary.

How successful can your apprentice and trainee engineer programmes be

Case Study of Nathan Sanders, Managing Director SSE Utility Solutions and associated businesses.  

Nathan Sanders, is now Managing Director of SSE Utility Solutions and associated businesses SSE Water Ltd, SSE Heat Ltd, SSE Pipelines Ltd and SSE National Networks. Nathan began his career with SSE as a Comprehensive Electrical Apprentice showing that completion of your Apprenticeship isn’t where your career progression will stop.

Nathan joined SSE in 1988, completing his apprenticeship with Southern Electricity Board, covering all aspects of electrical installation works. He went on to have several roles, some of which included SEC Technical Trainee, Contracting Engineer, Senior Contracts Manager and then in 2010 Managing Director of SSE Utility Solutions and associated businesses.

Below are the qualifications he has gained during his time working with SSE:

  • MSc. “Positive Leadership Practice”
  • NVQ Management Studies
  • Mecuri Sales Management
  • IOSH Safety Certificate
  • HNC & ONC Electrical Engineering
  • C&G Electrical Installation & Maintenance 

How do we look after them during our programmes?

We have SSE mentors who help guide our trainee engineers throughout their programme and there is also a dedicated Programme Manager whom oversees all that our Trainees do in terms of their development and attainment.

Studying away from home

All of our Trainee Engineers do spend some time staying away at an academic provider. This is usually for 2-3 weeks blocks once per term. We tend to find most trainees settle in well as they have met and made friends with colleagues that are also on the programme with SSE. Many say they actually enjoy these study blocks as they are with like minded individuals who want to get on and do well.

It’s good to know too that as a company we also pay for any travel and accommodation required whilst on study blocks. 

My children have an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers, but isn’t the industry male dominated?

We are absolutely committed to taking measures to address gender imbalance and equality issues for those considering apprenticeships and trainee programmes in STEM subjects. 2016 proved to be a significant year for SSE in its diversity and inclusion journey. We are the first energy company in the industry to publish detailed reporting into the gender pay gap in our company in order to be open and transparent. In addition to a number of internal programmes aimed at addressing some of the issues the company is facing, SSE partnered with external organisations including Teach First, The Women's Engineering Society, Prospect and Equate Scotland. We are also visiting more schools, conducting joint events with bodies such as Skills Development Scotland and the Glasgow Science Centre to encourage females with an interest to pursue careers in STEM subjects and change the status quo of our industry being male-dominated.