It's National Apprenticeship Week! Read how Lewis Cassidy, an Apprentice from ScottishPower Energy Networks (SPEN) is combining work and study to help support our network's stability.
NAME: Lewis Cassidy
APPRENTICESHIP/JOBTITLE: Graduate Apprentice, SPEN
WORK LOCATION: SPHQ (Engineering Design & Standards)
What do you enjoy most about your apprenticeship?
The combination of work and study is great – I’ve been able to apply skills and experience I gained and developed through my coursework to my role, and vice-versa. Balancing work, study, and life can be difficult at times, but it’s an encouragement to push myself to achieve.
What three words would you use to describe your experience so far?
Inclusive, challenging, and encouraging.
What are you most proud of in your working area?
We’re all working, whether directly or indirectly, toward ensuring that our network is as stable and efficient as it can be. Every person in our licence areas is a stakeholder, and being able to make a meaningful positive impact for so many people is something we can all be proud of.
How do you think your role makes a difference to the wider environment?
The work I do involves supporting my team by improving the sustainability of our operations and supply networks, but I feel that my role itself represents opportunity by providing a route to professional employment for many people who cannot afford, or are otherwise unable, to access higher education through the traditional degree programme.
What is your stand out moment from your apprenticeship so far?
Getting involved with the Breaking Barriers programme was a great experience for me: my first exposure to SPEN was through the same programme, so being able to support the next cohort of students in their ED&S placement was a clear reminder of the progress I’ve made since then with the support of SPEN.
What lead you to this career choice? How do you think you’ll benefit from your apprenticeship?
As I’ve been told many times in my time here, it’s an interesting time to be working in electricity networks – we are an essential industry going through a massive transformation to accommodate future demands and new modes of generation, and we are fundamental to the green economic recovery. By taking part in the Graduate Apprenticeship programme, I’m able to gain four years of professional experience, a degree, financial security, and a career in a great organisation.
What has been the biggest challenge for you during the pandemic and how have you overcome this?
It’s easy to feel isolated, and it’s now almost a year since I’ve seen any friends face-to-face. However, I’m lucky in that we’re still able to keep contact through regular video calls etc.
What support is available to you on your apprenticeship?
In SPEN, I have the full support of my colleagues, my managers, and the team in Workforce Renewal; outside SPEN, I have a Learning Advisor through university, a mentor through ENABLE Scotland, and my family and friends.
What are the people like that you work with and how do they support you?
My colleagues are all great; I’ve not got a single bad thing to say about any of them! Everyone is willing to share their time and experience when it could be helpful, and are very good at keeping me involved in the work they are doing.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’ve come a long way since joining SPEN, both personally and professionally. I’m really glad that I’m working for an organisation that is invested in my development!