Name: Ellie Turner
Occupation: EDF Energy Smart Metering Apprentice
Start date of scheme: December 2014
GCSEs: English, Maths, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Drama, History, Law, ICT, Spanish, Religious Education.
Getting the apprenticeship
Before applying for an apprenticeship with EDF Energy, I already knew a lot about the energy industry as my dad and sister are both gas engineers. They both really enjoy their jobs and I’m quite similar to them and have always preferred doing practical things.
I’d heard good things from people who work for EDF Energy, so when I saw the advert for the apprenticeship scheme on Facebook, I read up on what the company offers its apprentices and knew it was just the sort of thing I was looking for.
I wanted the opportunity to have hands-on training while also gaining qualifications and with the EDF Energy scheme I am studying towards a City & Guilds qualification in Dual Fuel Smart Metering.
A day in the life of an apprentice
At the start, we spent our time in workshops with our trainers where we would carry out practical activities, like testing different procedures on gas and electricity meters. I enjoy learning in this ‘hands-on’ way as it makes sure you understand everything.
We are currently going out with mentors to visit customers’ homes and helping to install electricity meters in real life. I’m really enjoying being out ‘in the field’!
What I like most about the smart apprenticeship is the trainers. They really make me feel at ease – and you never feel stupid asking questions. It’s also great working so closely with the other apprentices – we all get on really well, we’ve even got nicknames for each other!
One thing that I found daunting was the prospect of working in a traditionally male-oriented environment, but the truth is you just become part of the team. There’s absolutely no sexism or discrimination and you’re never looked at differently from anyone else. I think girls often don’t have the confidence to work in engineering, but they really should. These careers aren’t only for men and we need to break the stereotype!
In terms of the advice I’d offer to young people considering engineering as a future career, I’d say you’ve got to be a fairly confident and sociable person, as you’ll ultimately be responsible for visiting customers’ homes and making sure they feel at ease while you install their smart meter. But with regards to doing an apprenticeship, they’re definitely the right way to go. I feel so well looked after and everyone makes sure that I know what I’m doing at all times. It’s made me feel much more confident.
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EDF Energy recently launched their #PrettyCurious programme which aims to change teenage girls’ perceptions of science and inspire them to pursue science-based careers by introducing them to role models they can identify with, who each have varied and rewarding careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
These role models include Liz Bonnin, Florence Adepoju, Jenny Griffiths and EDF Energy’s own employees who will be creating exciting content to demonstrate the breadth of opportunities in the sector.
Take a look at a new video introducing the role models and the campaign: