electircal substation engineer at National Grid

Start Date:
2016
Location:
Bolney
Programme Type:
Apprenticeship - Higher Level (Level 4/5)
Salary:
£24,500 annually
Review Date:
May 2018

Review Score

8.7/10

1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:

9/10

By definition I am an electrical substation engineer. This ultimately involves maintaining and ensuring the correct operation, of the HV electrical equipment that is vital to the United Kingdom’s energy sector. Being a trainee at National Grid, is an amazing opportunity for anyone looking to enter the electrical engineering field, as it offers you the chance to not only learn from some of the more experienced engineers, but it is also a unique scheme in that the company will sponsor you to get a foundation degree, which is an opportunity most other companies do not offer. The trainee scheme with National Grid, is split into three main sections (attending university, attending your chosen substation location & attending a training Centre) because of this, no two days are the same, and the variation of work is like no other.

2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?

10/10

National Grid actively encourages you to learn more skills, and push yourself that little bit further every day. The apprenticeship scheme offers the opportunity to acquire many different skills and certificates, which are provided by recognised institutions – meaning that even if you leave the company, the skills you learn here will stay with you wherever you go next. Predominately, most of the time during the apprentice programme, time will be spend away from home along with your fellow apprentices. Although this can be daunting for some, talking from my own experience I can say that any initial worry I had, was immediately forgotten when I started to talk to the lads who were in the same position as me, and infact these people have now become some of my best friends. Because of the fact that you are away from home a lot, with a whole bunch of people who initially you don’t know, skills like team work, communication & general people skills are all improved without you really noticing it. Internal & external training courses are also something that are frequent during the training programme. Internal course are delivered by National Grid staff during the apprenticeship, this training is typically based around the equipment on site. The external courses are delivered by a wide range of professionals, who all offer different course which are planned in to the apprenticeship timetable, to ensure that the scheme itself can be completed (just to give an example, I have been trained and received a license in scaffold erecting & MEWP driving, as well as a wide range of HSE regulations and certifications)

3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?

9/10

On the whole I would say the programme is enjoyable. If I was to put it into my own words, I would say that at times it is easy to become demoralised and unmotivated, due to the sheer amount of work that is asked of you. Pressures like university and different milestones given throughout the apprentice programmes, at times can seem hard to meet and can cause some stress. However when you consider the fact that a degree is being paid for, a company car is being provided & petrol is being paid during this period, as well as a bunch of other skills and training courses being provided by the company, it all becomes worth it. The professionals that you meet at the substation, are all welcoming and willing to help you learn, the training providers and recruitment team within the company can also be described as the same. Overall I think this experience has been enjoyable, and I would recommend to anyone interested, as it does set you up for a long and prosperous career.

4. How valued do you feel by National Grid?

9/10

The company is generally good at communicating praise and concerns, from management to staff level. To back this point up, every year a sit down review with the substation team leader takes place, where a discussion on how the year went and where to improve in the future. As well as this every three months a review with the new talent specialist also takes place, covering the same things but in less detail. The company has a system called ‘appreciate’ whereby if someone does something worthy of recognition, then an appreciate will be given to them, which will basically give them virtual money to spend on items included within the company catalogue (these items could literally be anything ranging from a pen, to a laptop or TV). The company openly encourages people from any department to bring new ideas to the table, and will support you through any area where you may need it.

5. How well organised/structured is your programme?

9/10

The overall structure is good, and the ease of which the apprenticeship runs is generally ok. Upon joining the company, inductions were delivered to all trainees so that they were all clear on the roles they were undertaking and what the programme itself would involve. The training aspect of things all ties in nicely, as for the entirety of the three year scheme, training is something that is always ongoing and provided by the company to keep you going. In terms of studying, the hard fact is that you have to accommodate it all off your own back, and often the work load can follow you into the evening and cause the days to be long.

6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?

8/10

The overall structure is good, and the ease of which the apprenticeship runs is generally ok. Upon joining the company, inductions were delivered to all trainees so that they were all clear on the roles they were undertaking and what the programme itself would involve. The training aspect of things all ties in nicely, as for the entirety of the three year scheme, training is something that is always ongoing and provided by the company to keep you going. In terms of studying, the hard fact is that you have to accommodate it all off your own back, and often the work load can follow you into the evening and cause the days to be long.

6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?

9/10

The overall structure is good, and the ease of which the apprenticeship runs is generally ok. Upon joining the company, inductions were delivered to all trainees so that they were all clear on the roles they were undertaking and what the programme itself would involve. The training aspect of things all ties in nicely, as for the entirety of the three year scheme, training is something that is always ongoing and provided by the company to keep you going. In terms of studying, the hard fact is that you have to accommodate it all off your own back, and often the work load can follow you into the evening and cause the days to be long.

7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?

9/10

The salary that you receive throughout your training is a good competitive salary and is better than some of my friends who work full time (to put it into perspective). It made even better when you consider all work miles are paid for by the company, any food costs that are racked up during time away is also covered, and any hotels on top of that are also paid by the company. So the salary itself is pretty much all disposable and yours to do as you want to.

8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?

6/10

OpporOpportunities outside of the company are there, depending on how you view them. For example the company will willingly support and sponsor you for any charity events, fundraisers, and community days that may have been arranged (the latter is something that myself and some of the engineers from my substation were involved in just last week). Aside from that however, no real opportunities have been offered to me as of yet, in terms of company progression or met ups etc.

9a. Would you recommend National Grid to a friend? *

Yes

9b. Why? *

The scheme that National Grid are offering is unique and a once in a life time opportunity. The salary and all the benefits outweigh any of the negatives that may come with being away from home. The scheme at times can feel intense and sometimes it is easy to loose motivation during the programme. However all in all the opportunity that is on offer is like no other, and it is almost a given that when you come out of your time, you are set up for a job for life, with a degree and earning a really good wage.

10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to National Grid? *

Be prepared, be willing to learn & open minded. Stick with it and I assure you that you will not only get the most out of it, but you will also thoroughly enjoy it. The interview process itself is only as hard as you make it, so do plenty of background researches before you apply and you will be fine in your interview. Generally everyone had different experiences from the interview days, but with preparation you will be fine.

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