NORTHERN POWERGRID GRADED OFSTED OUTSTANDING IN FIRST-EVER FULL INSPECTION FOR APPRENTICESHIP TRAINING PROGRAMME
Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the electricity distribution network across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, has been awarded an Outstanding Ofsted grading for its apprenticeship programmes and training provision.
The network operator is one of just a handful of UK employer training providers to achieve this grade – which is the highest available from the education regulator Ofsted. The grading recognises the company’s commitment and ability to deliver high-quality training for the people who will work on the electricity network that powers everyday life for 8 million people across 3.9 million homes and businesses in the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, and is critical to enabling a low carbon energy future.
A five-person Ofsted team inspected Northern Powergrid’s craft and technical apprenticeship programmes over four days, examining five distinct areas: quality of education, behaviours and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management, and apprenticeships, grading all as Outstanding.
The inspection process involved employees from the Health, Safety and Training, Operations and People teams, as well as apprentices, trainers, supervisors, line managers and external colleagues that support Northern Powergrid in its apprenticeship programmes. At the time of the inspection, Northern Powergrid had 101 apprentices in training, with a further 123 having recently completed their training and preparing for their final assessment.
The full Ofsted report states that apprentices enjoy their learning and demonstrate exceptional commitment to all aspects of their programme, noting that apprentices are proud to work for the organisation and are keen to share their experiences and support others in the community.
In addition to its Outstanding apprenticeship programme, Northern Powergrid also recognises the importance of lifelong learning for its alumni apprentices through personal development and career progression and is developing a framework to do this through mentoring, peer learning and career conversations.
As the network operator prepares to deliver its £3bn business plan to support the region’s drive towards a net zero future, improve services and take action to support an inclusive and greener energy future, it is set to create 1,000 new job opportunities between 2023-28. Northern Powergrid is already taking action to grow its team and is actively recruiting with opportunities in everything from field operations and customer service to smart grid engineering and project management. Latest vacancies are available on the company’s careers page.
Phil Jones, Northern Powergrid’s Chief Executive, said: “We’re very proud of this result. It reflects on the professionalism and dedication of our team and the enthusiasm they put into creating top class career opportunities for people in our region.
“We intend to build on this success as part of our commitment to develop a workforce that helps our region achieve its net zero ambitions.”
Peter Mucklow, Director, Apprenticeships at the Department for Education, said: “I congratulate Northern Powergrid on achieving an overall outstanding in its first full Ofsted inspection, which is very impressive. It is not only a measure of the quality of the learning and training Northern Powergrid provides, it also supports our shared goal of providing young people and adults with the skills they need to achieve their potential.”
Phil Beach CBE, Chief Executive Energy & Utility Skills, said: “I’m delighted to hear that Northern Powergrid has completed an exceptionally positive Ofsted inspection.
“To receive an ‘Outstanding’ is a huge achievement. One of only three employer providers in the UK to receive this highest rating this year, Northern Powergrid is clearly in the vanguard of delivering first-class training for a safe, skilled, and sustainable workforce.”
Northern Powergrid apprentice, Kathryn Tomlin, who is currently training to work on Northern Powergrid’s underground cable network, said: “I’m in my second year as a Crafts Apprentice and I’m really enjoying it. It’s fantastic to know that the training I’m receiving, which enables me to learn, earn and gain new qualifications, has also been recognised by Ofsted as outstanding.
“When I look around Northern Powergrid, I see so many people who’ve started as apprentices and progressed their careers, so I know this is an important first step for me. My training helps ensure I can work safely on our network now and in the future - and being an apprentice has shown me that it can open the door to a diverse range of career opportunities in the future.”
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