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Insights and Stories

“Grow Our Own” Philosophy Underpins Sembcorp Energy UK’s Apprenticeship Programme

February 03, 2023

We believe our apprenticeship programme is an absolute priority for our business. Central to our aspirations is our policy of providing career opportunities that allow apprentices to flourish and develop to their full potential.

As our business supports the UK on its transition to net zero, we recognise our people are our greatest resource to do this. There is an essential need to foster young talent into the workforce of tomorrow – especially in a quickly evolving energy environment. That is why we have invested heavily in apprentices across our business; our apprentices have undertaken training in many areas: managerial, leadership, technical and academic, all fully funded by Sembcorp Energy UK.

Some companies may see such investment as simply an additional cost to the bottom line, but we take a strategic, longer-term view. We believe if we take on apprentices, we will achieve a higher quality of work, which leads to better retainment of staff and greater trust and satisfaction from clients and customers.

In 2021/22, we recruited numerous apprentices in a wide variety of areas including Operations, Maintenance and our support areas, such as IT, Laboratory, Finance, Business Support, plus our first ever apprentice in Human Resources.

Homegrown talent

We own and operate complex and expensive facilities, which require highly skilled individuals to operate them in a safe manner. It is an absolute must that we require competent and qualified people with strong operational and technical abilities. Apprenticeship programmes are one of the most important aspects within our wider training programme, giving people on-the-job training and the chance to learn directly from their colleagues in the workplace.

Apprentices with Sembcorp have the opportunity to embark on a long and rewarding career in a complex and challenging industry, long after their apprenticeships are over – evidenced by the proportion of former apprentices in our current workforce. In fact, 42% of our shift operations team are former apprentices, and many of the managers themselves – up to a very senior level – also started with us as apprentices.

Continuous learning

Fundamentally, we believe that continuous learning and development makes good business sense: it ensures our employees have the right skills, the relevant expertise, and are suitably prepared to face challenges in the future, particularly as we support the energy transition to net zero 2050.

Our apprentices spend their first year/s with the training provider, gaining both initial theoretical and practical skills. On site, our apprentice programme covers a wide range of Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) training, further education, and enhanced practical skills to enable them to work in many of our plants, offices and operational areas.

Not only do we support our apprentices with the baseline requirements, but we also ensure that they are fully trained and competent in many other HSSE-related areas, including technical training such as spill kit, working at height, and also specialist technical training, such as Optalign and MJI10.

We evaluate our programme on the results, whether it be in terms of professional qualifications and/or continued progression. We sponsor our apprentices to complete their apprenticeship (Level 3 and 4 apprenticeships) and we also sponsor them to complete a Higher National Certificate qualification in their chosen field.

Honoured to be an award-winning programme

Sembcorp Energy UK was honoured to be recognised as “Large Business of the Year” at the 2022 Northern Skills Apprenticeship Awards ceremony.

Matt Telling, of Middlesbrough College Group, said when announcing SEUK as the winner: “The volume and diversity of its apprenticeships underpins a real commitment to ensuring the future success of the organisation.”

Read more here.

Ella Snaith, an apprentice Operations Technician, mentions:

“As an apprentice operating technician, it has been an incredible journey. I knew I wanted to work at Sembcorp because of its dedication to Net Zero and knowing that I can help drive a greener future means so much to me.

I have received insightful on-the-job training and validation on all aspects of the plant. I am now on shifts and every day brings a new opportunity. Sembcorp also sponsors me to study an HNC in Chemical Engineering at college, so I am not just getting practical plant knowledge and skills but also learning the theoretical aspects.”

To learn more about open opportunities at Sembcorp Energy UK, click here.