25 Nov 13

Dungeness B apprentice open day on December 7

EDF Energy runs a four-year advanced nuclear apprenticeship scheme and Dungeness B power station is holding an information day in December to give prospective applicants a chance to find out more about the scheme and if they like what they see to apply for the 2014 intake.

The open day is on Saturday December 7 from 8.30am to 4pm, but places are strictly limited and must be booked in advance.

From details of the first two years studying at HMS Sultan in Portsmouth , to the qualifications needed and how to apply to the scheme, the information day will answer the questions of anyone considering a career in engineering maintenance.

Martin Pearson, station director at Dungeness B, began his career as an apprentice.

He said: “We expect there to be a lot of interest in our apprentice programme and I would encourage people to book up as early as possible.

“In the current climate, an apprenticeship offers a real alternative to going to university.

Our scheme is very highly regarded and the sky really is the limit for our apprentices.

“Several members of EDF Energy’s executive team started with the company in this way, so the message is this course could be the start of a truly amazing engineering career.”

During the event apprentices and ex-apprentices will be on hand to answer any questions. Visitors will be also be able to see the Control Room Simulator and Flow Loop Simulator. Parents are also extremely welcome to find out more about where an apprenticeship can lead.

Dungeness B has 25 apprentices and employs 550 people on site. The two reactors are capable of producing enough power for over 1.5 million homes.

Martin added: “The information day will give us a chance to share our enthusiasm with those wishing to apply to join the apprenticeship scheme in 2014.

“While anyone who meets the criteria can apply, we are very keen to encourage females to consider a career in engineering at EDF Energy.”

Denika Walsh, 24 from Ashford, was recently awarded Dungeness B Apprentice of the Year.

Denika, now an electrical maintenance technician, said: “I live in Ashford and I knew I didn’t want to go to university, but still wanted to do something after college which would progress my career.

“I knew that Dungeness B offered apprenticeships so I applied online. After the first year of the apprentice scheme when we’ve learnt a bit about all the different areas on offer, we get a choice of what we’d like to specialise in, and I chose electrical as I found it the most interesting.”

If you would like to come along to the information day, please call 01797 343436 or email dungenessbtours@edf-energy.com to reserve your place.


Case Studies - 18 months on....

We asked some of our ex-apprentices what they thought of the scheme, having completed it 18 months ago.

Nathan Davies, 23, from Canterbury, is a control and instrumentation (C&I) maintenance technician

In the first two years at HMS Sultan I really enjoyed meeting people from other stations and also being away from home. I grew up a lot when I was there, not only learning about engineering but also what it’s like to live away from home. I did all three sciences and design for A-Levels and was all set to do engineering design at university as I wanted to get involved with the design of race car engines. But then I saw the advert for the apprentice scheme and I thought about the guaranteed career prospects, and that I still get to do engineering, so it seemed like a much better choice. I’ve carried on studying also outside of work, I’m currently studying a welding course and also I’m doing my final year in engineering design at Open University.

I wanted to do the apprentice scheme because it is a good career path and I know there’s a strong future as an engineer, and especially in nuclear. It’s a good place to work and great to be involved in such an exciting industry, people are always going to need energy (but they won’t always need cars!).

My advice to anyone thinking of applying would be to be prepared for a lot of hands-on work! Personally I’d much prefer to be learning by doing than to be sat behind a desk every day. It’s an interesting place to be and with new nuclear it’s only going to get more interesting.

Tony Curd, 23, from Dartford, is a mechanical maintenance technician

I feel like I’ve learnt so much in such a short space of time. The first two years in HMS Sultan teach you the foundation knowledge and then for me the real excitement was putting it into practice on site. I would say I love the hands-on aspect of my job the most. Working on the plant is so varied and as a qualified technician I’m given quite a lot of responsibility. At the moment I’m leading the team overhauling of the diesel generator. I feel confident with the practical work but my main responsibility is to consider safety above everything else. Doing the job correctly is much more important than anything else. One of my favourite parts of the job is working with new apprentices and passing on the knowledge I’ve learnt. As my knowledge develops I want to be someone that people go to for advice and guidance.

I applied for the scheme when I was doing my A-Levels. I was studying business studies, english, history, politics and law and I knew I wanted to do something where I would be able to develop leadership skills. But I also really missed being hands-on so when I found out about the scheme I thought it sounded like a great way to do what I love and also progress my career. For me, starting as an apprentice is a much better route to a career than university, where you could leave with a £30,000 debt and still have to fight for a job. I know there is a need for engineers and instead of gaining debt I’ve started on a really good wage.

My advice to apprentices is that you have to be open to learning. Growing up I always loved taking things apart and seeing how they worked, anyone with an inquisitive nature like that would love this job!

Sam Barrett, 22, from Ashford, is a C&I maintenance technician

At first, HMS Sultan forced me a bit outside of my comfort zone. It was my first time away from home but I soon settled in and made great friends there who I’m still in touch with now. You spend two years in close quarters with other young people, so it’s a great atmosphere and as well as learning lots, it’s good fun. The trust placed in me when I started working on the plant was a bit daunting. I’ve worked on pieces of equipment worth £1million which are vital to the plant, but the scheme is well established and so I’ve never felt that I don’t have the support I need. Even though I’m fully qualified I’m constantly learning which keeps the job interesting and challenging.

At school I didn’t know what to do after my GCSEs so I went to college to do electrical installation. In my second year, I had to do an apprenticeship with a business as part of my course, part time at college and part time hands-on learning, but I quickly realised joining the apprentice scheme would be a much better path to a career, so I applied.

My advice to young people would be to not automatically go for A-Levels or other vocational courses at college. My school didn’t know much about apprenticeships but I wish I’d known about them earlier. Being stuck in a classroom isn’t the only way to learn. I’ve really enjoyed the four years where I’ve gained engineering qualifications without ending up in any debt, and I’ve still finished with a great career path ahead of me.