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Substations Advanced Apprenticeship at National Grid plc

Course description

Our substations deliver electricity into our local networks that provide power to our homes and businesses across the country. We have substations across England and Wales and they operate at 275kV to 400kV, connected via an overhead transmission system. Safety remains our priority at all times.

As a skilled member of the team you’ll work across our substations identifying any problem, so that they’re back into action as quickly as possible. On this three year programme, you’ll become familiar with the extensive range of high voltage equipment – such as circuit breakers, transformers, disconnectors, compressors and auxiliary systems – that help to keep the lights on nationwide.  

The Oil Management Unit (OMU) role at Dartford will involve you in the supply of oil processing and associated services, using a fleet of high tech mobile units for which further training will be given. Extensive travel throughout the UK, overnight stays and maybe some shift working will be required. HGV training leading to an HGV licence will be provided.

Course content

Year One

Year one is focused on bringing your theoretical knowledge up-to-speed. This is why you’ll spend around 10 months at our Academy in Nottinghamshire studying for an NVQ Level 3 that is relevant to your programme. Training runs between 9am and 4.30pm but start/finish times are 11am on a Monday and 12pm on a Friday to allow you to travel to and from home. But as we expect you to get the most of this training there may well be times when additional study is required in your own time. As you gain confidence, you’ll get to apply your newly acquired knowledge by putting it into practice – both in our workshops and out in the field.


Year Two 

Approximately 50% of the time in year two will be spent at our Academy in Nottinghamshire in one or two week blocks with the remaining 50% of the year on site.


Year Three

The majority of your time will be spent on site. Working with a close-knit team, you’ll learn from the best. Generally you’re expected to be on site for 8.30am, breaking for lunch (which you’ll need to provide as on-site facilities are basic) and you’ll finish between 4.30pm and 5.30pm. This work is both physically and mentally challenging, but our engineers are there to spur you on, answer your questions and help you to fulfil your potential. Once you’ve successfully completed the programme, you’ll be assigned to a permanent position.

Entry requirements

We’re looking for people who have a genuine interest in engineering. A hard worker, you’ll combine practical technical skills with a responsible attitude and a love for the outdoors – whatever the weather – as this is where you’ll spend the vast amount of your time. In addition, you’ll need to provide proof of one of the following qualifications*:

5 GCSEs or equivalent qualifications    

  • You must have Maths and English Language minimum of Grade C GCSE.
  • Plus one from technical subject areas – IT, Technical Drawing, Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Science or any other Engineering subject. (minimum of Grade C GCSE)
  • Plus two additional GCSEs in IT, Technical Drawing, Engineering (or any other Engineering subject), Science, English Literature, Geography or History  (minimum of Grade C GCSE)


  • Engineering Diploma Higher level (Grade A – C) with GCSE Maths (Grade A – C) and English Language (Grade A – C)


  • have good communication skills to deal with colleagues and the public
  • feel confident working at heights up to 30m which we’ll assess at the Assessment Centre
  • be able to distinguish between red and green colours clearly so you can meet stringent safety standards – we’ll also test this at the Assessment Centre
    • hold a valid, full, current UK car driving licence within 12 months after joining the Advanced Apprenticeship Programme or within 12 months of your 17th birthday (whichever is sooner). You’ll also need to list any unspent endorsements


Financial information

This could be the start of a great future with us. Along with exceptional training, you can also expect to receive:

  • starting salary of £14,950 p.a. rising to £25,888 on completion
  • 25 days' annual holiday plus statutory holidays
  • £200 towards driving lessons (taxable)
  • flexible benefits
  • full travel costs associated with training activities
  • full-board accommodation whilst at our Academy
  • mobile phone costs (value £150)


  • travel time on Monday and Fridays for off-job modules
  • a London weighting allowance if you’re based at one of our London locations
  • a toolkit when you transfer to your job destination role
  • overalls and personal safety equipment
  • leisure facilities and events
  • Sharesave options
  • First Assist – free legal advice and counselling service for employees
  • pension scheme


Future opportunities

Once you’ve successfully completed your training, it’s time to take up your role at professional technician status. There aren’t many people your age who will be able to say that.

After all of this fantastic training you will want to spend the next few years putting this all into practice and continuing to build on your technical capability acquiring further knowledge, experience, technical certificates and qualifications.

Some people will become skilled engineers or move into office-based technical roles or training roles others have progressed into senior management positions, the opportunities are endless.


How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact National Grid plc directly.

Last updated date: 04 August 2015
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Key information


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    • We have two offices within very close proximity on the same road in central Solihull, right near the Touchwood Shopping Centre and the train station. Around 100 employees are based at these offices, including our European Business Development and Metering teams. Employees benefit from a canteen and on-site parking.

      Nestled in beautiful countryside surrounded by rural villages, Solihull combines relaxed charm with vibrant activities and offers great shopping and a range of live events at the NEC and LG Arena.