As well as providing energy to around 5 million customers, E.ON UK is passionate about helping people find a career. It’s also playing its part in providing jobs and training so that the energy industry has the skills it needs now and in the future.
We are always looking for new and innovative ways to make this happen. Most recently, we are leading the way in the energy sector in getting young people into work and skills training, and supporting the local communities in which we operate.
E.ON has developed an innovative customer service trainee and apprentice programme, which has now received ‘Platinum Provider Status’. It is aimed at 16–24 year olds who are about to leave school or college, or currently not in education, employment or training (NEET).
One of our apprentices Holly Whelan, 18 years of age from Eastwood, Nottingham, said of the programme:
“When I found out about the Customer Service Traineeship at E.ON I applied straight away as I knew what a great opportunity it would be — and has been. I have enjoyed learning new skills every day, seeing how E.ON operates and being able to have an insight into the work that is done.”
Designing both the trainee and apprenticeship programmes together was one of the keys to success and helped us to instill our values and behaviours in these young employees.
The seven week Traineeship programme is intense and demanding, it covers financial awareness, team working, data protection, diversity, CV writing and more. The trainees also have to undertake a project and present their findings to a panel of managers. About 60% of the trainee’s time is spent in the classroom and 40% in the business. The aim is to make these young people work-ready and confident whether their future is to progress into an apprenticeship with us or find another opportunity elsewhere.
We have been really encouraged by the early results from the initial seven week Traineeship programme — nearly 50 trainees have already been recruited with more to follow, and 90% have gone on to an apprenticeship with E.ON or have gained employment with another company in a customer service role. All of the trainees who progressed to the apprentice scheme remain with us.
The apprentices were particularly impressed with how much interest senior managers, including CEO, Tony Cocker, took in their progress and how much access they had to these senior managers. Senior managers also made themselves available to become mentors to the apprentices and share their experiences of working for E.ON.
Through their Traineeship and Apprentice programme, we are not only tackling local employment problems such as high turnover and competition for young talent, we also provide much needed career opportunities to young people, whose potential might have been undiscovered.
We have worked closely with the EU Skills Talent Bank, which has helped the trainees we didn’t recruit into work, as well as from the government Employer Ownership pilot that provides public funding.
We are so pleased with the success of our Traineeship and Apprenticeship pilots, we will be taking on a further 15 customer service trainees before the end of February 2015. We are also looking to expand the programme to other areas of the business.
We firmly believe initiatives such as this will help rebuild consumer trust in the energy sector and show that business can have a positive impact in society.
The photo features the first group of apprentices, E.ON’s director of HR, Dave Newborough, and the MP for Ashfield, Gloria De Piero, who was visiting E.ON’s Newstead office in her constituency.