Horley electrical apprentice strikes gold in Duke of Edinburgh's Award

An electrical apprentice from Horley is celebrating completing a Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 1:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th April 2021, 1:42 pm

Harry Sutton, 21, completed the programme as part of his apprenticeship with UK Power Networks to help develop the teamwork and resilience needed in his working life.

One of the highlights was a four-day wild camping adventure. Training expeditions at Exmoor and Dartmoor were followed by a final expedition trekking 50km through Snowdonia.

Harry said: “It allowed everyone to show their true personality. We had to work as a team with the map reading, getting lost and trying not to blame anyone and carry on. It was hard, but a good experience.

Harry Sutton recently completed a Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award as part of his apprenticeship training at UK Power Networks. Picture courtesy of UK Power Networks
Harry Sutton recently completed a Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award as part of his apprenticeship training at UK Power Networks. Picture courtesy of UK Power Networks

“The value of this programme is that it teaches discipline and responsibility, without making people feel lectured. We all needed to demonstrate discipline to complete everything, which massively boosted our resilience. When I have a hard day at work I think back to that time and know I can do it. It is a really good challenge, which changes your mindset.”

Harry helped an elderly neighbour for his volunteer work, walking their dog and painting and redecorating a room for them.

He said: “It felt rewarding to do that, just to help someone.”

He joined the company’s apprenticeship scheme in 2017 and in September he became a fully qualified cable jointer, connecting and repairing underground power cables to keep electricity supplies flowing in his local community.

Since 2016 all apprentices who join the utility company have had an opportunity to take part in the scheme founded by the late Duke of Edinburgh, whose life was celebrated on April 17 at a ceremonial royal funeral.

Nigel Grapes, engineering trainees team leader, said: “The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is often a life changing experience, and for many it will assist in the personal development of each individual by helping them understand the importance of working as a team and being able to deal with adversity. It’s also fun.

"Many of the benefits may not appear for several years, but will manifest in their individual “makeup” and provide them with memories that will later support their career and life choices.”

To achieve their DofE, UK Power Networks’ latest 35 gold recipients walked 3,500 miles for their expedition training, volunteered 840 hours, spent over 2,520 hours on physical activities, 31,416 hours learning new skills and more than 6,475 hours were spent on residential activities.