A young person from Plymouth has started his apprenticeship with Wales & West Utilities and is looking forward to helping keep the gas flowing for years to come.  

Jacob Hands has been through an intensive recruitment programme to successfully earn his place on the company’s award-winning apprenticeship scheme.

As part of the company’s operational team, he will be learning how to repair gas leaks, lay new gas connections and maintain the gas network. 

His three-year apprenticeship includes a mix of on the job training; working across the gas network with experienced engineers to learn job-specific skills, and classroom-based learning at one of Wales & West Utilities purpose-built training academies in Treforest and Bridgwater or at local colleges. 

Wales & West Utilities is recruiting 12 apprentices in 2018, taking the total number of people who have joined the company as apprentices since it started operations in 2005 to over 170 – making up more than 20 per cent of its operational team.

Jacob, age 16, said:

“I’m hugely excited to be joining Wales & West Utilities and can’t wait to get started.

“I wanted an apprenticeship as it offers a fantastic route into work while giving me the opportunity to learn while I earn. The apprenticeship programme at Wales & West Utilities has some of the best training in the industry, so I know that I’ll be in good hands!

“I’m looking forward to playing my part helping to make sure the 7.5 million people we serve across the area are kept safe and warm, with a gas supply they can rely on and a level of service they can trust.”

The three-year programme will help Jacob develop the skills to deliver a fast, efficient service that will keep customers safe and warm with a gas supply they can rely on for years to come.

Wales & West Utilities People & Engagement Director, Sarah Hopkins, said:

“We’re delighted with how our apprenticeship programme has grown since we started operations in 2005. Apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity for people who want a hands-on career to learn while they earn – and we’re relying on them to become the next generation of gas engineers. 

“We’ll be training our new recruits to deliver the highest levels of gas safety and customer service, so we continue to keep the communities we serve right across Wales and the south west of England safe and warm. They will also play a key role in helping us meet the challenges of the future: delivering energy that is affordable, reliable and green.”  

Wales & West Utilities look after the pipes that bring gas to homes and businesses across Wales and the south west of England. With a team of more than 1000 trained and experienced engineers the company serve the 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales that rely on its gas emergency and pipeline services. If anyone smells gas, thinks they have a gas leak, or suspects carbon monoxide poisoning, they should call us on 0800 111 999 and our engineers will be there to help, day or night. 

Wales & West Utilities is also working on a multi-million pound, 30-year gas pipe investment programme which began in 2002. Old metal pipes within 30 metres of buildings are being upgraded to new long-lasting plastic pipes with a lifespan of more than 80 years, to make sure homes and businesses continue to receive a safe and reliable gas supply now and in the future.