With 50 years of delivering successful apprentice programmes through dedicated in-house facilities with an experienced team of instructors, Northern Ireland’s energy infrastructure provider, NIE Networks, holds its apprenticeship programme to a high standard. It is company led, creating the ideal environment for the programme and ensuring that all apprentices who successfully complete the programme achieve employment within the company.
The apprenticeship is one of the key routes of entry into the company, contributing to between 16 and 20 per cent of recruitment every year. And since January 2016, the apprenticeship programme has delivered 27 competent craftspeople to NIE Network.
But over the past five years, the company has gone a step further by developing a number of programmes where the skills required were not previously available. Currently, NIE Networks delivers training in diverse disciplines including craft, technical and support roles with numerous enhancements to the programmes like financial management, team building and even how to deal with conflict.
And NIE Network ensures each apprentice has the support they need to build their careers within the company. Career advice and guidance is regularly availability throughout the programme through various meetings and collectively for the cohorts on an annual basis at a ‘career carousel’ event supported by senior management.
In the past three years, NIE Networks has spent £70,000 to enhance training delivering to replicate the electricity network, allowing skill development in a safe and realistic work environment. This includes a live line area, interactive TVs, new metering training facility and IT updates. And the organisation plans to spend a further £80,000 in 2019/20.
The programme received IET accreditation in September 2016 and continues to retain the accolade of being the only IET approved apprentice programme in Northlern Ireland.