SP Energy Networks (SPEN) is currently investing £10 million to upgrade the electricity network in Mid Galloway. The investment is helping to reinforce the security of electricity supplies to homes and businesses in the area and is also improving storm resilience.
As a result of the investment programme, the demand for local power line workers has increased. SPEN has teamed up with Dumfries and Galloway College to offer places to semi-skilled tradesmen, with a view to up-skilling to become a linesman.
To date, 39 students have already completed an up-skilling course with a further 36 places available over the next two years. On successful completion of the course, 20 of the trainees will be offered permanent employment with Dumfries & Galloway Council. SP Energy Networks is also working closely with its contractors, who have recruited many of the graduates to date.
The 17 week long course was devised to attract those with existing experience in areas like scaffolding, roofing and telecoms by providing the skills to access careers in the growing electricity supply industry. A background in electrical work coupled with experience of working at height is seen as an advantage for these positions and anyone interested in applying should email firstname.lastname@example.org
Guy Jefferson, Distribution Director at SP Energy Networks, said: “As many as four out five workers in the energy sector are set to retire over the next fifteen years, which comes at the same time as we are looking to deliver the most important upgrades to the electricity network in over half a century. To deliver this major investment programme we need to see new recruits across the board, from apprentices to tradesmen to engineers and graduates.
“Partnerships like the one we have developed with Dumfries & Galloway College are essential to encourage new blood in to the industry. After only 17 weeks the students on this course will have the opportunity to establish long-term careers in the energy industry, in highly-skilled roles, and help to deliver major investment schemes like the one we are undertaking in Mid Galloway.”
Carol Turnbull Principal and CEO of Dumfries & Galloway College, said: “Dumfries and Galloway College is delighted to be involved in this exciting initiative. It is an excellent example of how Colleges add value to Scotland’s economy by working with industry to build relationships and by translating their requirements into training and education programmes that we then deliver and lead to job opportunities at a local and national level.
The SPEN team recently carried out a number of community meetings in Mid-Galloway to discuss progress on the project.
Alistair Geddes, Chair of the Mid-Galloway Power Forum, said: “As far as I am concerned, I cannot commend SP Energy Networks too highly for their investment in Mid-Galloway. Not only has this resulted in a significant up-grading of their infrastructure, but it has radically reduced the number of faults/supply interruptions, thereby providing a better service to local communities. Taken together with their plans to increase employment opportunities, this represents good news, indeed, for the area.”
The investment in the area will mean fewer and shorter interruptions during extreme weather events and SPEN’s industry leading approach to storm resilience will ensure that overhead lines are built with specifications matched to the expected weather conditions.
Notes to Editors:
The Mid Galloway Investment scheme works includes:
80km of overhead line is currently being refurbished from Sorbie to Port William and covers Elrig to Craignarget Hill Forest. This work is nearing completion.
The main powerlines, 40km from Newton Stewart to Sorbie will be upgraded during the period 2014 and 2015
60km of overhead line from Sorbie, Whithorn to Monreith will be refurbished during 2015
45km of overhead line from Sorbie to the Isle of Whithorn will be refurbished during 2015
37km of overhead line from Sorbie, Garlieston to Kirkinner will be rebuilt during 2015
27km of overhead line from Sorbie to Whauphill will be rebuilt during 2015