In a first for the electricity distribution industry, 10 trailblazers at UK Power Networks have gained qualifications through an innovative new Leadership Academy designed to upskill middle managers.
UK Power Networks is the first electricity distribution operator to offer managers the opportunity to study Level 3 Team Leader Supervisor or Level 5 Operations Departmental Manager apprenticeships, whilst also delivering professional Chartered Management Institute qualifications with the potential for Chartered Manager status for its 600 managers.
The 10 volunteered to be part of the first cohort, to complete professional qualifications, while providing feedback to help shape the academy for hundreds of future delegates.
The academy offers structured training for middle managers, many of whom have achieved promotions through their skills and competencies but had not necessarily studied for professional management and leadership certificates.
The qualifications are tailored to suit their roles, in collaboration with Pearson TQ and Gateshead College and made possible through the broader range of opportunities that have opened through the government’s apprenticeship scheme.
The graduates, dressed in full hats and gowns, collected their certificates from UK Power Networks’ Chief Executive Basil Scarsella at a ceremony in City Hall, London, with their proud family members in the audience.
Lee Faber, field staff supervisor says: “I have grown so much over the past 18 months both as a leader and as a person. My team and my manager have really seen the difference. We’ve really bonded as a group, and I feel so proud.”
Linda Mummery, smart metering team leader, says: “There are not many companies that would offer you the opportunity to actually have their own academy and put you through doing such a course. It’s amazing, it’s part of the company being an employer of choice and I think it gives leaders new skills, which help them excel in their job.”
There are 130 currently studying in the academy, learning how to enhance their management skills including topics such as diversity and inclusion, so they can apply them consistently for a successful career in management, and find effective solutions to challenges in the workplace.
Phil Beach CBE, Chief Executive of Energy and Utility Skills, comments: “It’s fantastic to see UK Power Networks using the apprenticeship levy to increase the capability of their people. One of the key priorities of our membership is to explore how the sector can better use unspent apprenticeship levy funds that it is currently unable to access fully. I support UK Power Networks in their commitment to maximise funds and invest in skills and congratulate this first cohort on their well-deserved success.”
Laura Beach, Learning and Development Manager at UK Power Networks, adds: “The academy helps ready our workforce for future challenges, and raises the bar so we can consistently deliver high performance. It’s a career development opportunity few would expect of a utility.
“The idea to create an in-house Leadership Academy was born to nurture talent, providing targeted training based on real life scenarios to help managers deliver continuous improvement. Many also gain Maths and English qualifications to set them up for further career advancement.”