Securing skills through apprenticeships

As a leading British company, we believe it’s vital to invest in training opportunities for the country’s young people. That’s why we have over 1,200 apprentices in training across the business, which makes us one of the largest providers of quality apprenticeships in the UK.

Not only do apprenticeships help us secure the skills we need to power and heat millions of homes and businesses now and in the future, but they also give the apprentices life-changing skills that can lead to rewarding careers.

And in recent years, we’ve seen strong demand for apprenticeships from young people; 35% of school leavers surveyed said they considered taking this vocational route over university, while 64% of those who plan to go to university, also discussed pursuing an apprenticeship with their teachers*.

Unfortunately however, apprenticeships are still regarded as something of a man’s world. In 2014, only 4% of applicants for British Gas’ technical and engineering apprenticeships were female. So as part of National Apprenticeship Week, we’re urging more females to see how they could benefit from this career path, because it’s clear they enjoy it just as much as their male colleagues.

For example, here’s what one of our apprentices, Natalie Foster had to say, “So far the course has been just as challenging, interesting and rewarding as I had hoped. I love going into people’s homes and fixing their boilers – it gives you an amazing sense of job satisfaction…and I’ve found that I fit in perfectly”

Natalie Foster

Natalie at the British Gas Academy in Dartford

The experience gained from our apprenticeships can however be very different, depending on whether it’s at British Gas or Centrica Energy.

As you’ve heard from Natalie already, our 1,200 apprenticeships at British Gas are focused on learning skills that will deliver a great service to our customers. Apprentices can for instance, learn to become central heating installers, service and repair engineers or smart energy experts, while non-engineering roles are offered in Customer Service such as the 10 places released earlier this week. We have invested over £30,000 in each of our apprentices over the past five years.

In Centrica Energy, we are creating the next generation of engineers in the exploration, production and generation of energy. In exploration and production, apprentices are given first-hand experience working on the Gas Processing Terminals, with many gaining unique offshore experience in their fourth year. For power generation, apprentices choose the type of engineering they want to focus on - from Control and Instrumentation (systems that operate the site), Electrical (maintaining the electrical systems like those used to generate power) to Mechanical (maintaining mechanical equipment such as gas turbines). Apprentices in power also have the opportunity to explore the world of renewables.

We look forward to helping our apprentices maximise their potential during 2015.

* Independent research commissioned by British Gas in July, which surveyed young people (aged 15-19) in Leeds exploring their views of apprenticeships as an alternative to university

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