A former Royal Marine from Southwick is following in his electrician father’s footsteps by becoming an apprentice for UK Power Networks at the age of 39.
David Ground, 39, who also coaches his son’s U14s football club, Hove Park Colts, has beaten off stiff competition to win an apprenticeship with the electricity distribution company.
His dad worked at the company’s legacy firm, Seeboard, for over 20 years and David, who left the Royal Marines 12 years ago, will now be expertly trained as a substation fitter in the specialist skills required to deliver electricity to local homes, schools, hospitals and businesses.
He said: “I consider myself lucky to gain an apprenticeship at 39. Not many companies will employ people to learn a new trade and I feel so fortunate to have an opportunity to start again.
“I had relevant experience as a self-employed electrician before coming here. I wanted stability and progression so looked at all the big companies and discovered UK Power Networks’ experienced apprenticeship scheme. With the word apprenticeship in it I didn’t think I would be successful, but I decided to apply anyway and I am so glad that I did because now I’m here and I’m happy.
“I will be installing and servicing equipment in electricity substations that supply everybody with electricity. If your electricity goes off they might call me, I will go out and get it back on for you.
“The training is really good. They have thought of everything. Everything that I am hearing is to benefit us or make our life easier. I want to stay here, learn and would love to progress.”
The company has 135,000 electricity substations, which help keep power flowing to 8.3 million customers across the South East, London and East of England.
His core training and college work will be completed at the company’s dedicated training centres in Kent and Suffolk and he will put his new skills into practice from a depot in Three Bridges.
Steven Read, trainees’ programmes manager at UK Power Networks, said: “Ensuring that we have skilled crafts people working on our distribution network is key to ensure that our customers’ electricity supply is maintained. The recruitment and training of apprentices enable us to grow our skills base, which is important in our industry.
“Our chosen candidates should be proud of their success. It was a highly competitive process and we always look for a very specific type of person who will have the dedication and ability needed for these crucial roles.”
There were over 1,100 applications for the apprenticeship scheme this year. UK Power Networks currently has 99 apprentices completing training with the company.