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Meet Robert

Overhead lines apprenticeship

My name is Robert Robb and I am now a trainee linesperson having completed a 3-year overhead lines apprenticeship with NIE Networks.

I was one of the older apprentices within my cohort. I aimed to reskill as I came from a job where work was not always consistent. The thought of a good career in a solid firm and steady salary appealed to me. I was was aiming to study within the electrical field which would have taken a number of years and would have been hard financially. Upon hearing about the apprenticeship program within NIE Networks, I was excited about the prospect of not only learning on the job, but also getting paid whilst learning.

The mentoring and support was excellent throughout, from the training team through to the tradespersons on site. I was very well looked after. The learning was well paced and I never felt like I was unprepared for any tasks that were asked of me.

The team that I worked with were invaluable in helping guide me through the learning process of the job and the many different aspects it entailed. I was never rushed whilst learning, they were accommodating and keen to help. I believe one of the most important things about work is getting on with your colleagues and being able to trust one another. I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch whilst going through my apprenticeship.

A typical day now would involve meeting at the yard in order to gather materials for the day ahead. Once gathered, we would make our way to site. After taking precautions to ensure the work could be carried out safely, we would then start. There are different facets in working with overhead lines. You could be working on a pole, carrying out work on the ground assisting the work on the pole or carrying out work at customers properties. No two days are the same and that is what I enjoy most about the job. Being in a different location with a different job each day keeps things interesting for me.

In the future I hope to become technically proficient and knowledgable in my job to the best of my ability. I hope I am able to share the knowledge I have gained and help others who make the decision to come through the apprenticeship program. I found the training and knowledge I received from my colleagues on site imperative to helping me through the apprentice program and if I can do the same for others, that would be very rewarding.