The voice of the networks

Careers in energy

So, you want to be at the heart of keeping the country’s energy flowing? You’re interested in creating tomorrow’s networks? Then a career in energy might just be for you.

Profile of Wales and West Utilities engineer out on site
Wales and West Utilities

The people working in the energy industry

Whether you’re just starting your career or have already gained experience in a similar industry, we take a look at some of the roles undertaken by the 45,000 people who work in the energy networks across the UK and Ireland.

Meet the graduate engineer

Joanna Barclay
Secondary Asset Replacement Delivery Engineer
Northern Ireland Electricity Networks

I started out my career at Northern Ireland Electricity Networks (NIE) as an Overhead Lines Apprentice before moving on to the Graduate Programme.

Taking the graduate route was the ideal next step after the apprenticeship because the continuity in learning and development meant I could apply my practical experience to classroom situations. At first I found it challenging to adjust from a job based outside to one inside studying, but I soon began to enjoy the mix of academic and practical learning. I’m now a fully qualified Secondary Asset Replacement Delivery Engineer.

I’m a very determined person who loves a challenge. I really like the problem-solving aspect of my role and I love the versatility. There’s a good balance between office-based and on-site work and every day brings something new.

There are so many amazing opportunities with NIE Networks, especially around career development and progression. If anyone was considering an apprenticeship or graduate programme I would say go for it. If you are focused, have a positive attitude, are willing to learning and want a promising career with huge possibilities, NIE Networks is the place for you.

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Meet the project manager

Yu Qian
Project Manager
Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks

My career at Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) started out some years ago when I joined the distribution operator as a graduate trainee in their Power Systems team.

That entry level role made me realise this was the industry in which I wanted to carve out my career, and I quickly progressed in to the world of Major Projects and their Design Office, where I took on the role of Design Engineer; a move that would put me on the path to my current position in SSEN.

Five years in the Design Office, working on substation and underground cable design, gave me the knowledge and confidence to take another step up in the organisation and to my most recent role of Project Manager for Major Projects, where I manage the safe and effective delivery of projects and contracts execution. With SSEN’s support, I’m also now a Chartered Engineer with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), and Chartered Project Professional with APM.

I’m currently managing a multi-million pound project to increase network capacity to a large area in Hampshire, which will boost the infrastructure for the area’s homes and businesses and accommodate low carbon technologies like electric vehicles connecting to the network. Part of SSEN’s investment works that are critical to realising and accommodating the UK’s net-zero emissions ambitions, and something I’m proud to be involved in.

Going down the graduate trainee route after university seemed like the natural path for me, giving me continuity in learning and earning. With clear lines for development in SSEN, I knew I could apply my academic knowledge to the practical applications required across many of the roles in design and projects. There are so many amazing opportunities within SSEN, especially around career development and progression. I’d say to anyone who has an interest in engineering or work as a project profession, that if they bring a positive attitude and a willingness to learn, they’ll find SSEN is the place to build a rewarding career.

Yu Qian image

Yu Qian
Project Manager
Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks

My career at Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) started out some years ago when I joined the distribution operator as a graduate trainee in their Power Systems team.

That entry level role made me realise this was the industry in which I wanted to carve out my career, and I quickly progressed in to the world of Major Projects and their Design Office, where I took on the role of Design Engineer; a move that would put me on the path to my current position in SSEN.

Five years in the Design Office, working on substation and underground cable design, gave me the knowledge and confidence to take another step up in the organisation and to my most recent role of Project Manager for Major Projects, where I manage the safe and effective delivery of projects and contracts execution. With SSEN’s support, I’m also now a Chartered Engineer with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), and Chartered Project Professional with APM.

I’m currently managing a multi-million pound project to increase network capacity to a large area in Hampshire, which will boost the infrastructure for the area’s homes and businesses and accommodate low carbon technologies like electric vehicles connecting to the network. Part of SSEN’s investment works that are critical to realising and accommodating the UK’s net-zero emissions ambitions, and something I’m proud to be involved in.

Going down the graduate trainee route after university seemed like the natural path for me, giving me continuity in learning and earning. With clear lines for development in SSEN, I knew I could apply my academic knowledge to the practical applications required across many of the roles in design and projects. There are so many amazing opportunities within SSEN, especially around career development and progression. I’d say to anyone who has an interest in engineering or work as a project profession, that if they bring a positive attitude and a willingness to learn, they’ll find SSEN is the place to build a rewarding career.

Meet the engineer

Naomi Hutcheon
Control Engineer
Electricity North West

I have always enjoyed science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and problem solving so engineering felt like a good fit. The role of a Control Engineer became more appealing to me whilst working as a Field Protection Engineer for a network operator and gaining operational experience.

After years of working on-site, I like that this role incorporates the operational and technical aspects while working in an office environment.

As a Control Engineer I’m responsible for the real-time management of the electricity network and power system analysis, namely managing planned outages and faults whilst ensuring the network remains as secure as possible and minimising the impact on customers.

For anybody wanting to get into a similar role, a degree is always desirable but there are other routes, such as apprenticeships. I completed a Trainee Engineer programme with a construction company specialising in the design, build and commissioning of transmission substations for network operators; gaining a qualification and valuable experience at the same time.

I have since completed further qualifications while working for various network operators and I’m now studying a three-year distance learning course in Powers Systems Protection.

Engineering is a vast and ever-advancing field so there is always something to learn, I have found that self-development is important and a lot comes from experience; and from the more experienced engineers around you.

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Meet the digital manager

Mike Dotts
Digital Strategy & Web Development Manager
Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks

I started my career at Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) as a Social Media Officer – working across our external platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter – before moving on to my current role.

My five years as Social Media Officer and Web Content Editor, using technology to keep our customers updated in the formats they told us they wanted to engage on, helped me realise my natural passion for all things digital. That made the Digital Strategy Manager position a natural progression for me and with SSEN’s support I’ve completed a Modern Apprenticeship and was recently awarded my Digital Marketing Diploma.

Recently, I’ve been focusing on a project to replace SSEN’s content management system and website. Part of this work involves reviewing all content on our current website and ensuring the customer journeys are fit for purpose, to prepare our business for the future and work towards helping the UK achieve its net zero ambitions. It’s the first time I’ve been involved in a project of this scale. It’s a great learning experience and I’m excited to be a key voice in helping decide the look and feel of our website – an integral part of any business these days.

Outside of work, I spend a lot of time on the web and social media, and I constantly find myself thinking about how I can apply different digital techniques and strategies to SSEN’s digital presence. It’s just one of the reasons why I enjoy my job so much. From the problem-solving aspect that lets me work with different types of software, the social media content that helps inform our customers and enables us to communicate easily with them on the platform of their choice, to the colleagues I get to interact with to develop those platforms.

One of the reasons I chose to work for SSEN was the many avenues for progression and career development. If you’re willing to work hard and want to learn, the sky really is the limit here.

Mike Dotts image

Mike Dotts
Digital Strategy & Web Development Manager
Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks

I started my career at Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) as a Social Media Officer – working across our external platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter – before moving on to my current role.

My five years as Social Media Officer and Web Content Editor, using technology to keep our customers updated in the formats they told us they wanted to engage on, helped me realise my natural passion for all things digital. That made the Digital Strategy Manager position a natural progression for me and with SSEN’s support I’ve completed a Modern Apprenticeship and was recently awarded my Digital Marketing Diploma.

Recently, I’ve been focusing on a project to replace SSEN’s content management system and website. Part of this work involves reviewing all content on our current website and ensuring the customer journeys are fit for purpose, to prepare our business for the future and work towards helping the UK achieve its net zero ambitions. It’s the first time I’ve been involved in a project of this scale. It’s a great learning experience and I’m excited to be a key voice in helping decide the look and feel of our website – an integral part of any business these days.

Outside of work, I spend a lot of time on the web and social media, and I constantly find myself thinking about how I can apply different digital techniques and strategies to SSEN’s digital presence. It’s just one of the reasons why I enjoy my job so much. From the problem-solving aspect that lets me work with different types of software, the social media content that helps inform our customers and enables us to communicate easily with them on the platform of their choice, to the colleagues I get to interact with to develop those platforms.

One of the reasons I chose to work for SSEN was the many avenues for progression and career development. If you’re willing to work hard and want to learn, the sky really is the limit here.

Meet the first line manager

Henry James
First Line Manager
Wales & West Utilities

I was 20 when I applied to spend the third year of my degree with gas network Wales & West Utilities, working out of their depot in Exeter.

I spent a year working as part of a team of around twenty people, looking after the control systems of the gas network and above ground gas equipment. We’d find faults and then work with technicians to get these repaired. It was there I got bit by the energy bug – and became interested in parts of the industry.

The year in industry passed quickly, and I could see the range of opportunities that were available. So, I asked the company about the possibility of staying on and completing my degree part-time – and I haven’t really looked back.

I was accepted for early entry onto the company’s graduate scheme, where I spent one day per week studying for my degree. Communities across Wales and south west England rely on us to keep the gas flowing to heat homes, power businesses, and keep the lights on. The two-year graduate scheme was a great opportunity to get an insight into the wide range of work that involves.

I am so glad that I took the decision to change career direction. Working for a company like Wales & West Utilities has given me so many opportunities, and I’ve met some fantastic people who are supporting me and allowing me to benefit from their experience.

Henry now manages teams and contractors delivering large-scale engineering projects like pipeline diversions. He recently scooped The Enginuity Innovation Challenge in the Telegraph STEM 2020 Awards – a national award for an innovative idea of developing environmentally friendly modular homes through the use of renewable technologies.

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Careers at ENA

Looking for a job at ENA? Take a look at our careers and culture page.

Jobs in the energy and utility industry

The energy networks employ 45,000 people across the UK and Ireland. We’ve pulled together links to the careers pages of all of our members so you can view an up-to-date list of opportunities available near you. To find out who your local network operator is, you can use our postcode finder.

More help and advice if you’re starting out

You can also find useful advice on some of the following websites (just so you know, ENA is not responsible for the content of external websites).

For professionals in the industry now

Women in Utilities Network

The Women in Utilties Network (WUN) was started to give women the skills and confidence they need to build lasting, fulfilling careers in the utility sector. WUN seeks to help other women to build the right networks, get the right training and take control of their own work lives at whichever stage of their career they are at. WUN helps women connect with other women so we can work together to support one another, share learnings, build confidence and create a better future for women in utilities.