Scottish Power’s Energy Networks division is investing £10 million to upgrade the electricity network in Mid Galloway to reinforce the security of electricity supplies to homes and businesses and improve storm resilience.
As a result, the demand for local power line workers has increased, so 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.
Guy Jefferson, Distribution Director, SP Energy Networks, said: “As many 80% of workers in the energy sector are set to retire over the next 15 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.