New apprentices and engineers kick off their careers at SSE

One of the many things that I’m proud of at SSE is the opportunities we provide for young people through our apprenticeship scheme. So today’s Scotland induction week event held at St Johnstone FC’s home ground at McDiarmid Park is a highlight of the working year. 

Since 2007 SSE has hired 800 apprentices, which represents an overall investment of £64m, as we spend £80,000 per trainee. I’m also proud of the retention rate of our trainees with over 90% of them remaining in long term sustainable jobs here.

We’re always looking to attract more female engineers and apprentices so we are delighted to have 10 joining our ranks this year, which is a step in the right direction. We know we have a lot more work to do, but the building blocks are now in place. 

Let’s be totally clear about this: there is no way that anyone out there should think for a moment that engineering is a male orientated career. If that was ever once true; it couldn’t be further from the truth today, but we recognise we have to keep working hard to redress the gender balance. 

We also know that half of the energy sector’s workforce will leave or retire by 2023. That’s potentially something of a ‘ticking time bomb’ for our industry so we need to put our money where our mouth is and fully back the talent of tomorrow. 

So this year alone SSE will welcome an intake of 169 apprentices and trainees across the UK. We’re backing the talent of tomorrow to the tune of £11.68m this year, investing an average of £80,000 per apprentice.

So what can our new starts expect to do once they come aboard? Well, SSE trainees help maintain the 205,000 km of SSE’s power lines across its distribution and transmission networks and its power stations, wind farms and hydro projects. They will carry out commercial or domestic electrical work. 

SSE offers apprenticeship programmes lasting three to four years in nine different areas ranging from contracting (electrical, mechanical and heating and vent) Power Distribution (overhead lines, fitting and jointing) and Generation (electrical, Mechanical and C and I). 

It puts trainees through foundation degrees as well as giving them work experience across the business.  Graduates then join a two year rotational programme to develop their skills and experience and become professional engineers.  

So the very best of luck to our new intake as they start what I hope will be rewarding careers in the exciting world of energy. And for anyone else looking for further information can do so by visiting our careers page.

About the author

John Stewart Director of Human Resources

John Stewart is SSE's Director of Human Resources and is responsible for the development and delivery of Human Resources and Training Policy across SSE. John has worked for SSE since 2009 and has over 20 years of experience in the Utilities sector having worked across the UK and in the USA for companies such as Southern Water, ScottishPower and PacifiCorp.

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