SSE’s Apprenticeship scheme opens countless avenues into the energy industry

I started work with SSE in 1979 as an apprentice at Peterhead Power Station. Little did I know then that over 30 years later I would be responsible for all of SSE’s electrical distribution business.

After my time at Peterhead I moved to working with SSE’s hydro power stations and spent 17 years in a variety of roles including Group Manager for the Sloy/Awe group which covers SSE’s hydro stations from Tarbet on Loch Lomond to Oban and Campbeltown. 

In 2002 I was made Head of Business Improvement, before moving to the Networks business as Head of Operations for Power Distribution, responsible for the operation, maintenance and refurbishment of the Electrical Distribution network in the North of Scotland. 

I soon moved to England to take up the role of Distribution Operations Director based in Reading where I was responsible for the network in the South of England. 

I’m now the Director of Distribution, responsible for all aspects of SSE's electricity distribution business and I owe it to applying for that apprenticeship scheme in 1979.

But, as much as I’d rather not admit it, 1979 was a long time ago so to give you an idea of what our current crop of young apprentices are up to we’ve produced a series of short videos. I would urge you to watch them so you can gain a greater understanding of what is involved in the SSE Apprenticeship scheme.

Laura Sneddon is a 30-year-old Technical Skills Trainee (TST) with Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution (SSEPD). She discovered SSE’s apprentice scheme whilst browsing on Twitter during a gap year in Australia and loves the unpredictable nature of her job.

Laura said: “The apprenticeship can take you anywhere – one day you might be out on a job and the next day you could be planning another, or learning about another part of the business. You spend time with jointers, liners and fitters, you undertake managerial-based placements and you spend around 13 weeks of the year studying for your degree.”

In this short video, qualified electrical fitter Tom Fraser talks us through his career with SSE to date. Tom graduated from our apprenticeship scheme four years ago and has now been with the company for a total of eight years.

“My training involved the right balance of attending college on block release and working on-site to learn the practical skills I now out to use every day. I enjoyed my apprenticeship so much I recommended it to my younger sister Katy.”

Iain Telford was actually encouraged by his father to apply for our apprenticeship scheme. Iain’s father enjoyed a long and rewarding career with SSE and thought it would be an ideal company for his son to work for.

“I’m a trainee with SSE’s networks business, Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution (SSEPD), and I’m glad I took the advice on board. I genuinely believe the younger generation bring fresh ideas which complement the knowledge and experience of more senior colleagues.”

SSE is currently recruiting 146 apprentices for our 2015 intake. We invest an average of £80,000 in each trainee – with opportunities in Power Station Operations, Gas Service and Gas Installation, Mechanical and Electrical Contracting, and our Power Systems business.

Our Apprenticeship programme is fantastic for anyone looking to get involved in the energy industry. I cannot recommend it enough.

To find out more about career and training opportunities at SSE visit www.sse.com/careers

About the author

Stuart Hogarth Director of Distribution

Stuart started work with SSE in 1979 as an apprentice at Peterhead Power Station. Stuart then moved to the Hydro Power stations and spent 17 years in a variety of roles including Group Manager for the Sloy\Awe group covering from Tarbet on Loch Lomond to Oban and Campbeltown. After moving to Perth in 2002 to work for Ian Marchant as Head of Business Improvement, he became Head of Operations for Power Distribution, responsible for the operation, maintenance and refurbishment of the Electrical Distribution network in the North of Scotland. Stuart was then involved in a number of development projects in England, before moving into the role of Distribution Operations Director based in Reading and responsible for the network in the South of England. Stuart is now Director of Distribution and is now responsible for all aspects of SSE's electricity distribution business across the UK.

Read more articles by Stuart Hogarth