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Audio Transcript: Apprenticeship Podcast Natalie Murphy

The text below is the transcript from the ScottishPower Apprenticeship Podcast with Natalie Murphy.

[Music] hi this is skills for Life a podcast
Series where we hear from current and past apprentices at Scottish Power to
find out why an apprenticeship is such a great career choice in this episode I'm joined by Natalie Murphy who is social
projects and sector education consultant at Scottish Power and Michelle Kelly who's a urine industry student at
Scottish Power hello hi so I'll start with you Natalie can you just give us an
outline of your role I've given you a good introduction there sounds really important and professional tell us what
it is that you do yeah the main the main part of the the role that I have within um the team is delivering the the stem
agenda for um the company so we we have a responsibility to try and you know
increase the number of of young people who are taking stem subjects at school we we also have a vested interest in in
you know establishing that into their kind of curriculum at an early age so that they can then go in and choose
subjects at school which will help them get a career in stem so we we do a lot of work with external Partners like
Glasgow Science Center um and we also work with a number of schools and other external stem Partners to help us
deliver that message uh in addition to that we also do a lot of work with Charities so we do a lot of volunteering
within our team and we do um charity projects so out
volunteer ourselves even as well um it's there's lots involved in our small team
we do lots um yeah and you're part of Natalie's team as a year an industry student and you've been working with
Natalie and on your own project as well tell us a we bit about the work that you've been doing since you started three months ago yes about about three
nearly four now so oh you're a veteran yeah I've been here for so long um since
I've started I've been able to work on so many different projects already whether that be you know going to
careers events and helping out which was something that maybe I was a bit nervous about speaking before but now you know
I'm used to that now and I've been able to go and help with Charities um make donations it's it is a really rewarding
job so I'm quite lucky that I'm in this team and we also look at pre-employment programs so that's like what I'm on just
now a year in industry and and there's loads of different work involved with that as well but I've been able to do so
many different things in the space of three months which is amazing yeah and Natalie you and I spoke earlier and you
said that some of your Outreach work is with children as young as primary 3 age
so tell us about that I've got vested interest in this my daughter's in primary 3 and already talking about stem
which is science technology engineering and maths and you know what I have a a young son who's actually getting
registered for school which is unbelievable but he's he's also really interested in like winter bins and renewable energy so there is definitely
a shift in in school schools and colleges and nurseries you know even to that younger age that age group where
there is a more there's more awareness around renewable energy around fossil fuels around climate change so so we as
a company you know made a decision a number of years ago that we had to to get in there quite early so what we do
is we we we run workshops through like the Glasgow Science Center for instance just in Glasgow but we do have others
and they invite schools to come in so they partner with young kind of local schools young people maybe Prim 3 to
primary 7 and they come in and they can learn about science and technology and they can do renewable type workshops and
things like that so so we that that's for our we we let the experts run the run those sessions but we we help by
financially funding those sorts of programs and facilitating that whole experience and and often what we'll do
is we'll get employees you know maybe senior you know Engineers or former trainees and many cases to go out and
actually deliver maybe talks or lesson plans in school as well we've got a really exciting ch challenge that's
coming up this year actually where we're going to get our graduates involved in a lot of stem activity and and delivering
some of those in local schools so so yeah we really love getting and the young kids are so like interested aren't
they always asking questions stuff that even sometimes I'm like do I know they
they're so so smart and it's good to know that they're interested and not you find that it is the younger ones
actually that are coming up to you with all these questions it's not as if they've pre-prepared they're genuinely interested which is it's really nice
it's fun for us as well and it's getting in there at that early age and stage and planting those seeds of a world of
possibility and their career that they might not have even known about these certain job roles or you know areas of
businesses that they could go into but even for a primary three age person that's planting that seed isn't it and
getting them thinking or or playing around with some of the you know the workshop materials and stuff it's really
brilliant um it's a brilliant thing to do one of the things that struck me was when you were talking about apprenticeships is that so you're
talking about you know young people but you've also mentioned graduate apprenticeships and stuff as well and I
think to my my shown my age here but um when I think of apprenticeships or how they used to be viewed you would
typically think of well there first 16 year olds want to go into a trade yeah but it's so much more than that now
isn't it and just looking at the number and the the breadth of apprenticeship programs that Scottish Power run can you
run us through a couple of those and tell us a bit about them about the programs M yeah so we've got a number of
of different apprenticeship programs that are available for all kind of Ages and stages really the the the main the
main or the kind of classic apprentic program that that we've ran since 2010
um in particular has been the craft apprenticeship which is a more technical based apprenticeship but it's more electrical engineering based and that's
to Aid the SP energy Network part of our business that keep the lights on keep the electricity running 24/7 365 days a
year so that's a kind of Hands-On technical apprenticeship and then you kind of move up into your graduate
apprenticeships your higher skilled apprentices as well and they can be in a number of different areas like business
or cyber um I'm trying to think of some of the other ones there's also um The Graduate ones yeah yeah because you have
quantity surveying as well there's loads of different ones that you wouldn't even think about that are not technical that
you can maybe go and be a project manager after that or you know that's a
really pertinent point because I think when people hear Scottish Power apprenticeships they do assume that it's going to be something Hands-On
engineering based possibly predominantly male dominated environment whereas there
are like you said loads of different areas of the business whether it's in legal or Inc corporate as well there's
all these different functions in areas so and Michelle I guess your best place to talk about that because as a year an
industry student at Scottish Power tell us a we bit more about what you've been involved in yeah so I mean me personally
I did go to university but you can come on to the UR industry without having to go to university but I didn't have any
office experience I had no professional environment experience really what did you study so I actually studied which
everyone's very surprised about but I did fashion and marketing which you don't not surprised at that at all but
you don't think is related to you know a company like Scottish Power but I did a lot about sustainability and I was
really interested in that so you know coming to a big a big company like Scottish P that is you know a value
is um it is related but um yeah so I just didn't have that experience because
because of Co and things like that I didn't get to go and do an internship or so I'm kind of doing it reverse but been
able to do it I think after you've gained all those skills is also good as well because I'm putting them in into practice now okay putting all that
theory into practice so what so you studied uh fashion marketing and what
has been do you think the role that you've been in what sort of skills are you using from what you've learned at
University and putting into practice Yeah so I mean even my team they're so nice and everybody lets me work on what
I've already learned at University so you can switch about your objectives for this role just depending on your
strengths really um so I do a lot of coms within the team um you know if if
we need to communicate something to staff or just they let me do things that you know I would be good at a university
and things like that as well but I'm also doing things I've never done before like working with Charities going to schools and so it's really really varied
what I get to do mhm and when you go out to schools and Charities are you
yourselves doing this I know when you said when they get the the schools you let the experts run those sort more
technical aspects of the workshops but what kind of things are you doing when you go out and uh to schools or
Charities do you get the sleeves rolled up a lot of fun things yeah we do I me we we were out I mean Michelle and I
basically spent from September to November out at career events at stem events and we we we take Kats with us
you know we've got like a winter you were you were speaking earlier about your your door building a winter bin you know we have winter bin kits that we we
took down to De house recently which is another stem education center that we that we support and um we we got the
kids turning blades in different directions to try and get them the most Optimum wins I mean it was absolutely
amazing but there it was just we we do like getting involved but we are a small team as well which is why we we often
have to you know put out a a call to to employees to help us because we I mean
we were just talking about this yesterday we could be invited to every single School in the whole of Scotland in the whole you know in the areas where
we operate we could go to every single School career fair but we just can't you know as as a team so we we do often put
those opportunities out to employees to say look you know do you know some or does your child go to this school would you be interested in going so we we try
and get out and go to as much as we possibly can but it isn't it isn't always easy just with us being a
relatively small team yeah MH and then talking about uh schools and makes you
think about subjects and the best sort of subjects for going into career in stem or indeed any world of the world of
work really any workplace are there certain subjects that children or School levers rather
should be looking at to give them a better chance of getting in or is it
really just that they're yeah it's wide open well I guess there's kind of two ways looking at this so so specifically
for for Scottish Power you know when when we're looking at technical apprenticeships we're looking for young people to be studying maths you know and
a science or a stem subject as standard because as an as a kind of electrical
engineering based type role they're going to need to understand calculations they're going to need to understand voltages and and things like that so so
maths in maths in a science or a St based subject is absolutely necessary for for that type of apprenticeship but
also English is another subject that we ask for because we are a customer face in business we do need our employees to
speak to to be able to speak to customers to be able to communicate effectively um with each other and their
teams but also to to be able to understand and read some of the safety protocols and procedures around because
we work with electricity it's very dangerous you know and um and luckily you know um the company we we we have
had a good track record you know in recent years of of of of good health and safety but we need to maintain that at
all times so but the customer the customers are at the heart of everything that we do so we need to make sure that
when our young people are out in the field and they're working with their hands and they're maybe restoring somebody's electricity Supply that they
are able to communicate to the customer okay this is what we're going to do and this is why we're doing it m and so all
that said math science English fashion marketing can still get you because
there are so many different entry points to a career at Scottish Power isn't there it's not just that because
thinking back to when I was at school for example that was a long time ago me
too but you know there's that sort of um I I guess there's the the consensus or or
the the thought that if you don't get the grades for your highes that's it oh absolutely no future Future's over
whereas now if you don't get the subject grades or rather if you don't get the grades it's not a case of not being able
to get in is it can tell us about some of those other entry or access point of course yeah so so yeah and and like like
we've just outlined the the kind of entry requirements for some of our technical apprenticeships but but there are a number of other employers you know
in in this industry specifically who are more than willing to take on a young person who maybe doesn't have the right
grades because they'll be able to give them that training and development when they go on their program so most
apprenti ships are two three years long that's enough time for a young person to could get go and get your math or your English up to gcsc or national five
level go go and study whatever I mean in England and Wales I think there's now a requirement to to study math and English
or they have to have their GCC by the time they turn 19 so so there is there is that as well but in in Scottish Power
specifically we did recognize that there was a a large group of young people who may not have received you know when that
dreaded day in August when the well it's not about envelope anymore was a brown envelope I was to
school and you were waiting for the poster to come with those exam results and you're how disappointed you were if you didn't get what you you thought you
were going to get or what you wanted to get so we developed a program called the pre-apprentice program and that's been running since 2010 and that's an amazing
program that we run in conjunction with three colleges and the areas where we operate are distribution Network license
for the electricity business so that's in Glasgow Cay college cardonald right isn't it and then we've got one in
Edinburgh college that runs out the deli college and then also chess cheser college that runs in the Chester campus
and the whole point of that program is to get 14 young people on each of those programs so 42 overall they come on they
get they go to college for an academic year they get an an engineering degree or sorry an engineering qualification
and that gives them the step up that they needed to then apply directly for our apprenticeship program and in many
cases we have actually just cherry-picked the top performing students to to become an apprentice
straight off the bat because we're kind of looking at that as a year-long interview really we're getting a year to see this young person develop their
skills get their qualifications up to the the the level that that as a company we ask for and by that point they're
ready to go and they just needed that they just needed that extra push and sometimes the school environment isn't for everybody also so going to college
it's a bit more you know they get treated more like an adult as well so so they they tend to flourish and and
thrive in that type of environment but it's a great confidence booster as well for them because they're not just coming
out of a sort of formal education or School setting and going straight into an unfamiliar environment absolutely
yeah because it just shows you that you know if you don't have the qualifications you don't need to just
discount yourself you know you can you can do anything because you just work your way up at the end of the day and in a company's biggest Scottish Power you
can keep doing that for however long you want but um being able to go to college
and doing an apprenti at the same time I think is actually quite good because I had to wait four years before I could apply my skills where is you're applying
these every day so I think you're able to learn probably faster actually as well yeah yeah that's a good point
actually because you're almost sort of doing it on the you're on doing it on the job
practice right what would you say are the the benefits of doing I know we're bouncing about about here from
apprenticeships and pre apprenticeships to again you're in industry but since we've got you here we want to hear about
your experience um what are the best parts of it what do you think are the benefits of of doing year in Industry
placement as opposed to finishing uni and then starting a fresh looking for a job somewhere anywhere I would say the
main thing for me is having a support system because you're coming in you're not expected to know everything whereas
maybe if you went and got a full-time job after you I don't really know cuz I've not done that yet but um they might expect you to know more than you do and
you're not really supported in that way but I feel like I've got great support from everybody in Scotch power is they
want to answer questions they want to help you so personally for me it's the support system and also just been able
to do so many different things in this role and also networking as well I find is really good because you've got other
year in Industry students that are on the same as you probably the same as an apprenti everyone's kind of on the same
boat if you need to ask a question you can go to someone else whereas you know if you go to a full-time job everyone's
doing their own things and it's different yeah it sounds like a nice sort of transitional phase of just
coming out of uni and having those skills and everything that you've learned and having a foot in well more
than a fot in the workplace but you know it's still like you say it's not something that you're going to sort of
cold there are other people in the same situation as you that is a rade support network and also the placement itself is
understanding of the position that you're in and you're able to get those skills get that experience but also with
a mind to like well I've just finished J here and I'm just the world of work so it sounds like
a really good place to be it sounds like a good balance absolutely I think for you know any sort of not just
pre-employment but an apprenticeship of any sort you need that support when you're coming into the workplace for the first time because going straight from
University College whatever to a job it can be difficult for everyone um and some people might find it harder than
others so yeah definitely for me it helps anyway I think even like from from our team's perspective you know we we we
tend to have a year industry student come in every year um and Michelle obviously like joined us this year but
the what they bring to to the team is just like that fresh pair of eyes and it's and because we're we're we're kind
of getting a new year in Industry every year they're bringing New Perspective fresh ideas looking at things
differently and it it it's really great for our team as well because we get to you know experience like oh okay let's
do differently this year sounds great you know so your toes it does absolutely
it's been great what do you think uh Michelle would be a good piece of advice for
somebody who might be at the stage um where they're coming to the end of their degree for example because you as we
talked about have have been to UNI if they're sort of thinking right I'm nearing the end of this course might not
know what they want to do and like yourself although we joked about it you wouldn't assume that that fashion
marketing was a natural sort of place and was a natural route into a career
somewhere like Scottish Power so what kind of things would you say are the benefits of what you're doing and what
advice would you give to people who are maybe nearing the end of their degree without a a solid career plan um for me
personally I would just say don't worry too much about it because I wish I would have listened to my advice that I'm giving now because you don't need to
have a plan in place there's always going to be another option and do your research because I didn't even know the
kinds of things that Scottish Power offered to be honest um I would think even if I looked at the apprenticeship
offerings that we've got just now or pre-employment programs whatever that may be I might have not even went to
University it just I didn't even know that these things existed and been able to come in there is a ships called
graduate apprenticeships you can actually do a degree and work at the same time so I might have done something
like that I might have done it differently but I'm glad that I did what I did because now I'm here so again it
just works out the way it's supposed to I think and and not to worry too much about that but I would say the main
advice is to do your research and to also have yourself a professional profile you know if you will but um on
LinkedIn I would say is a huge big thing because I went on there I asked loads of questions to people in the the different
areas that wants to apply for and even getting knowledge and what other people do in a day-to-day is useful when you
want to decide what you want to do yeah I think it's um a great balance like we said before and it was kind of struck me
when you were saying that about how how it's working for you when you think about you've done four years or three or
four years at Uni and then you go into this unfamiliar environment if you're just going you know applying for a job
out of uni it's a nice sort of introduction to it and it's a bit of
like sort of exposure to a corporate environment but almost in a sort of shielded way in that it's a bit sort of
protected and and supported but exposed to a Multinational Global Corporation
but without the scary bits well if you think about like the the graduate program that we've got is fantastic as
well you know um is it's a absolutely brilliant program the graduates though in their first year they rotate every
maybe six to 12 weeks so actually they're not getting the same depth into a role as maybe a year in Industry
student does in that first year so by the time Michelle completes her year in indust she'll have like experienc probably a lot of things that maybe a
graduate at that moment wouldn't have been able to because they're okay three months they go and then they go somewhere else so they're they're
getting like Snippets little Snippets Here There and Everywhere whereas the year industry is great because you get to really dive into a particular role
yeah in projects as well you get to fully immerse yourself yeah exactly but even for maybe people who are on the
graduate program theyve maybe already done this through un whereas I didn't get the chance to so now I'm kind of
just putting that into practice now but yeah yeah cuz I mean I've worked on projects now that were a couple of
months long and then you really see it pay off and you get recognition as well for what you've done um what I think is
really nice it's not just oh here's some some admin tasks that you can get on with it's no here's an actual project
that you're going to be working on and this is how you've helped the team which is really nice to know great and all that's really great um sort of building
that skill set for for The Wider working world as well and I mean not putting any in the spot here but just an observation
that a lot of UR industry students tend to what from what I've seen go on to
have roles you know permanent roles then after and is that something that you think you would like to absolutely yep
yes off no no I mean even speaking to previous year in Industry students
they've went on to do you know if you don't have a degree you can go and and do an appr ship if you do have a degree
you can progress to the graduate program or a full-time job so I mean I've loved every minute since I've been here so I'm
hoping that I'm able to stay on possible yeah and so would that be the
plan then you you do it for a year you started in September so you finish in September and then what's what's the
plan whatever I mean I have applied for the graduate program so we will see what
happens with that and if not even just getting a full-time role would be really suited to me cuz I feel like I've done
that for this year year so I'm kind of used to working now um so maybe just going into a full-time role would suit
me better but we'll see when the time comes I think don't know yet and just to
recap on the options in because it feels like there are so many ways in yeah you
know whether depending on your age depending on your skills depending on your experience depending on your
qualifications so if we take it from I guess maybe the youngest age group can
you talk us just through or just recap on the the specific programs all of our programs start from 16 so you can apply
for any of our programs if you're 16 or above now we do have a number of programs that are specifically for
adults which um we have two main ones one is the returners program which is an absolutely fantastic scheme which allows
people that have taken a break in their career maybe for personal reasons to have children or what have you care for
somebody that they can come back into a career and and use the expertise and and the knowledge that they have and then
progress in the company so we've got some really fantastic examples of people that have been through that program and in addition we've got an adult craft
training program which is it's it's a similar program to the craft apprenticeship it's hands hands hands
based sorry hands skills kind of technical based role they're going to be working out in the field maintaining the
electricity network but it's for people who may have had a similar type career maybe they've you know worked in a
similar industry or a you know we've had lots of people that have come through that are postmen for instance you know
that in the past you know but they're they're very physic C and and and they come in and they're able to do that job as well so they can retrain for two
years and then they go on to become a fully fledged crafts person as well so we've got the kind of adults but starting from the kind of 16 year olds
it's the pre-apprenticeship then the craft apprenticeship after that we've got higher skilled apprentices
apprenticeships which may be kind of still technical based but more office work maybe dealing more with
spreadsheets project management that sort of thing and then we're moving up into what Michelle was talking about earlier graduate graduate apprenti ships
well so that's kind of the mix between University and work and I think that
that kind of takes us up to the kind of highest level that we have So within there though we've got different types
of you know' got the technical and the non-technical so we've got cyber security we've got data analysts you
know we've got jobs coming up in hydrogen you know more than Renewables so so it these although we've got maybe
four or five different types of apprenticeships they cover a number of different business areas really so
there's I think there's definitely not just that one size fits all anymore there's so many options for
apprenticeships in different subject areas so there's something that you know I mean any I mean I feel people don't
even know that now no because you can you I mean I still associate apprenticeships maybe with Hands-On but
the more I've came here and The more I've researched it and obviously as part of our job we're going out and speaking to young people I don't think even they
they know until we go and you know educate them on that that you know you don't have to be in a field hands- on
but if you want to do that that's great but you could be in office you could to with cyber is a huge for anyway now but
there's so many differents in areas that you can study in yeah and that's probably one of the the main
misconceptions that it is that you need to be a hard hat you have to be wearing a high Vis you have to be in cover RS
when in fact maybe that was the case you know 14 years ago perhaps when like we started really recruiting for for our
apprentices but nowadays it's it's not the case you know we've got lots of people that are office based working in
the headquarters that are apprentices and you would never know because there's
just I don't know like we don't we need that's why we're kind of doing a lot of work around around apprenticeship week
this year because we want to promote these these R plus week as a business we need them because if we've G we're going
to be able to meet our Net Zero obligations we have to have the workforce ready to go when that when
that you know well it's already happening but I've been doing it wrong I've been sitting at the desk with my hi Vis and my
heart but you're right though that is one of the misconceptions isn't it that it's
just all to do with that and that Hands-On sort of electrical engineer type role whatever but and it's that
it's just for boys as well it's you know we we've got lots of lots of young young girls young young females who are coming
on to the coming on to a lot of our training programs these days and it's really it's really great to see that
that we are kind of moving away from from that um that image of the kind of white the white hard you know the is and
moving more into you know okay there's lots of other opportunities here because you want to diversify the workplace
anyway um and that's kind of what we do at Scotch P anyway it's a main value again um having loads of different
people and being able to work with people from from every area of the world especially on the I've been speaking to a lot of people recently been out at
these graduate events and different things like that who are from you know loads of different areas that have come
to Scotland and even just speaking to them and getting to know them and learning new things it's just what I
like about being here is that you learn something new every day well I have anyway um which I think is is great MH
and I think even when you were saying there about from all over Scotland but even I mean we've got apprenticeships or
people in placements who are going over to the headquarters of EA in Madrid and well all over the world really isn't it
because Scottish Power is part of the EA group operates globally so the opportunities even for people to maybe
start here but end up in Brazil or America or Spain or whever it's that's
another great example of or a great facet of it as well isn't it that you that's available absolutely and that's
one of the one of the great things about our company is that we we are a large international company so those opportunities do exist so when you come
into our company as a as an apprentice who knows what the what the future you know what that may lead to in the future
you know we've just had a a cohort of graduates come back from Sten and bbau and Madrid and like had an amazing
experience and you know they're talking about it online and been like oh like if you can go for it it's going to be a
great experience so you know we we have the ability to do that and yeah you know
and who knows what what will happen in the future if we'll be able to offer different types of global rotations you
know to different trainy groups but you know who knows just on that maybe to finish up where do you see the whole
sort of apprenticeships programs going in the next three to five years well you know since 2010 certainly I think the
the stat is around like we've seen a 900% increase in the numbers the intakes
that we've been having so like I think at any any moment in time over the last couple of years we've had at least 500
inlight trainees which is amazing you know because but that just shows because
we've got a lot of people who were retiring through the business like through natural kind of um H what's the
word attrition natural attrition and also people retiring so we had to
replace that that the skills and knowledge that they were taking with them than when they left so we have had a a huge push but I think going forward
we're certainly going to see a lot more in the cyber world that's definitely like an area that you know we hear a lot
about you know in in our own kind of team briefs and in our own kind of world within the people function where we work
that that's what keeps people up at night it's it's cyber you know and that threat of of cyber security and what
have you so so we're going to see a lot of a lot of new trainee roles coming in um cyber and data and we mentioned
hydrogen earlier which is another kind of growth area or or kind of new area that's going to be developing soon yeah
just in general I think it's going to increase and it's going to keep increasing because even when I was at school it was very university university
but now it's not and you find that a lot of people are thinking well I'm going to go and do an apprenticeship now and the
business needs them they need an apprenticeship it can only it can only increase I think yeah and I suppose it
has that added bonus of actually doing something for the greater good and so as far as renewable energy and all the
Innovation that's coming in with that and so being part of a company that's really pushing on with a Greener future
and is a real worthwhile exercise isn't it absolutely yeah I mean I think more young people even from just speaking to
them they are interested in sustainability whereas maybe when I was younger I I or maybe I just wasn't
educated enough I think but I think in schools now with either us going out or teachers pushing it pushing it that is
you know is a thing and we need to work towards f curriculum supports that as well so the curriculum for excellence
specifically in Scotland however you know there is there is that that element of sustainability and I think climate
change that is now taught through the through the the the kind of school curriculum and that's where a lot of the
programs that we support that we spoke about earlier you know that that allows that teacher to take that off to say okay that that module has been has been
completed so so there is there is a real change um in in the mix and and I guess
what we're trying to do is as influence people as young as possible so that as they kind of grow up in the more touch
points that we have with with that young person you know we were speaking earlier about it's hard to measure whether that
that you know that they will then go into a career in stem but the hope is that the more visibility and the more
exposure that we can give to schools and these communities about okay well here's the jobs that are going to be coming up in the next five years five 10 years
what have you got something to work towards uhuh absolutely and we talked a
lot about um having a support network um a natur support network and other un and
Industry students in your case um Michelle but in terms of the support
more widely that Scottish Power is able to provide people who are coming in through these entry routes
apprenticeships placements Etc what does that look like well the there there's a
number of ways that we support all of our traines I think first and foremost we support them financially so that you
know they're not going to end up like me who's still paying a student loan off 20 years later also show My AG now um so we
support them financially we know we we pay them um they get their salary every month but they also if they're you know
one of our training schools we have two training schools one in cumber and one in um Hil lake near Liverpool so if they
if the young people don't live in those local areas or that's it's not easy for them to commute them we'll put them up in a hotel so they get their hotel they
get bed and breakfast they get their lunch for free they get their dinner paid so they they they're they're they
shouldn't be leaving the program with the same amount of debt that perhaps a graduate would have so so we are really
supporting them financially um we also then give them the the opportunity to kind of do behavioral training as well
so they get to kind of learn about teamwork and communication and they go away for a couple of days to Lake
District which is really nice and they get to go in canoes and and do like lots of team building activities and then of
course as Michelle's mentioned they have the the line manager support but they also have you know that mentoring
available as well you know maybe from a former traine or or just somebody else in the business that they've you know contacted say like
reached out to them yeah to even have multiple mentors managers that you can go to is a really good thing um because
you'll learn from them as well and they'll be able to support you but you can have I think it's quarterly reviews
as an apprentice but it does depend on which apprenticeship you're on um and then you'll have like weekly catch UPS I
mean even on my program I'm catching up all the time with everyone in the team so um just having that that support
again is is really useful and and there is another like team that kind of sit and like holistically look look at the
programs and say right is this still working and they have these kind of 12 weekly checkins and they ask kind of more general questions around how
they're feeling you know is everything going okay are they getting the right support that they need and the role that they're maybe doing like their line
manager that's giving them their day-to-day tasks and things like that so they have a number of different places where they can go for support and advice
um and all the while they're earning money while they're learning you know so that's kind of one of our kind of Main strapl lines is like you earn and learn
and that's amazing because you know you you should you should be able to then financially be able to support yourself
from the moment you start to the moment that you come off the program so it's well financed and well supported and uh
where do we sign up I know I mean I think when like I just going back to the common myths like
when I was at school no one ever spoke about apprenticeships it was as if like no you know if you want to be somebody need to go to university and if you
didn't and you left school at 16 then you were considered almost like a failure
if that was it there was no future for you and there was there was no way of ever getting to that level by any other
route whereas totally not the case it's not the case absolutely not so and just
lastly um what about in terms of these apprenticeships then although I feel
that you've maybe already answered this but I was going to say why should we be you know promoting apprenticeships to
school levers yeah well I would even say an prip is a great kind of bridge between
school and a full-time job because you're still learning M and and you're able again like I said earlier to put
that into practice while you're learning so it's not just this this huge jump It's you're still supported um and it's
not scary if you were to recommend it to someone is and you're also you're also getting industry recognized
qualifications as well that that you know let's say you don't want to stay in a particular company forever that you
can then move into another industry within the area that we working you know some of our supply chain that sort of
thing that also we require you know people to work we need we need all to work you know so if people have the
right skills and the right qualifications they can they can take that anywhere you know we obviously want people to stay in the business but you
know we have to be realistic as well and say well you know these are industry recognized qualifications that we're
providing um and that's for life you know no one's going to take that off you so skills going back to that that theme
of skills for life so we spoke a little bit about um people earning money while they're earn
while you learn you said can you tell us a bit more about that yeah so we we are a you know a a
competitive we pay uh sorry let me start again so as as an employer we we have a responsibility to pay our employees
correctly you know and provide them with with a a good a good wage so the starting salary for our apprenticeship
programs at the moment is £20,000 which you know if somebody had offered that to me when I was leaving school mean like
where I sign up so you know we we we we start at 20 but then over the course of
the the three years you know they they they do get you know annual kind of increases in line with you know the the
rest of the company's business performance and inflation and what have you so by the time that they come off the program they they're on on the same
level as a a fully qualified crafts person for instance in this case so so I
think 20,000 is a is a great place to start when you're maybe 16 17 um and and
going back to our pre-apprenticeship program well that is not a paid placement but we do provide a buery to
those young people of2 200 pound a month which allows them maybe to pay their bus fair or train fair to get to college so
again we're trying to support these young people that may may not have been able to you know go to university or go
to school every day because they didn't have the money to do that so we're giving them money to get to College every day hopefully that would cover
that cost and then maybe buy them some coffee or lunch or something like that I think it's actually went up as well from
200 I think it's now cuz I was reading this as well um it's 333 now I think
yeah I'm pretty sure but it does change quite a bit just depending on yeah um
the rules at the time and what you need to pay and things like that but I mean it just saves you from getting a part-time job even if you think about
that because when I was at University you're not getting paid to go to university so you either need to take a
student loan like you were saying earlier or you get part-time job but you've been able to have your whole
focus on this is my parnership now or this is my training program and not having to think at the weekend I also
have to work it just takes that away and it lets them really focus on the study
yeah and actually per being able to perform well and and turning up on time to college every day because again
that's another thing that we kind of look at when we're we're deciding you know if we wanting to kind of put forward any of these young people to to
apprenticeships as you know like did they turn up every day were they there on time all these skills for life that
we've been speaking about because everything that we're teaching these young people going to be able to carry through into their adult careers and and
and for the rest of their life so you know good timekeeping good communication even having just like
motivation to learn wanting to ask questions be curious because if you
don't no no one's going to give you into trouble for for not knowing something um it's good to be curious and just to be
interested really um and having a good work ethic and I think on that point of
being curious and asking questions something that struck me when I saw Keith Anderson um speak who's obviously
CEO of Scottish Power but I remember seeing him deliver a speech to a lot of
people who had newly started at the company and one of the the main points he was making was that he wanted people
to speak up and question things and not just to assume that because this is the way it's always been done that that
makes it the best option there seemed to be a real drive there for him to have that fresh perspective from people who
are coming in fresh
Su imprs I think that's good to have as well particularly from the top from
somebody at the very top as that Cascades down through the and I think that's reflective of the fact that a lot
of our senior managers and Business Leaders in the company started off as either apprentices or graduates you know
at one point or another you know it it it just goes to show you have to start somewhere but you have to be able to to
challenge and you have to be able to to ask difficult questions and have those difficult conversations and that that's
all comes with experience and it all comes with time I mean even I was at that event actually that was the one for
when everyone started when they were new but I thought that was really inspiring to listen to because a lot of places
maybe are stuck in their old ways as you would put it but being able to have fresh ideas it allows you to be
competitive as a business and for yourself it allows you to learn new things as well and by questioning and
it's good to know that even though these are such senior leaders they are open to talking to you as well like yeah I've
been here for three months but they want to know what you think they want to know your ideas it's been so good to hear
your experience Natalie and Michelle thank you so much for joining and it's been great to get that perspective of
somebody who works in the HR department and knows is across all of these uh
apprenticeships and programs and then also somebody who's living that experience as well and enjoying it I
having a great time you that to say that I you genuinely and we've
had we've had great insight though to that um to that role that you're doing to this place in this placement and I
think that's been a really valuable Insight so thank you both very much thank you thank you a big thank you to all of our
apprentices who took the time to talk to us it's been an amazing insight into life on an apprenticeship program at
Scottish Power if you would like to find out more about any of the programs that we've discussed just visit our website
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