Meet Robert Parks - Overhead Lines Apprentice

Describe a normal working day:

A normal working day consists of many things, there’s structured learning in the craft of safely erecting, maintaining and removing electricity equipment such as poles, towers and transformers. You also learn the theory behind the electricity network. The theory is covered in a classroom environment and is put into practice outdoors at a state of the art transmission and distribution training facility.

What were you doing before you started your apprenticeship?

Before starting my overhead lines apprenticeship I was a self-employed concrete layer and finisher for 12 years.

How did you find the application process?

The application process was thorough, with a number of stages. Initially there was an aptitude test , on successful completion there was then a  practical test encompassing basic hand skills and the ability to follow a given method. Then there was an interview and finally a medical. Given my background working in a construction engineering environment, logic, aptitude and basic hand skills were all skills which I possessed and used on a daily basis. Due to this I actually enjoyed the aptitude and practical tests.  

Any advice for someone considering applying for the apprenticeship?

A good grasp of mathematics is useful, it will be key to many aspects within the engineering environment in which you will be placed. Be prepared to take the time to learn and become proficient in a business which expects its employees to be world class. Also research the NIE Networks website, there is a wealth of knowledge on it which will be invaluable for both your potential interview and is a good foundation on which to build a greater knowledge of the industry.

Best bit of the job so far?

The best part of an apprenticeship is working in a cutting edge sector in an outdoor environment where no two days are the same, it’s anything but boring!  

Find out more about the apprenticeship.

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