REBECCA Pow MP met apprentices 'engaged in the crucial and growing electricity industry' at Western Power Distribution (WPD)'s Taunton training facility on Monday. 

Ms Pow, the Conservative MP for Taunton Deane, visited the facility to learn about WPD's apprenticeship programme and meet its local apprentices. 

WPD is the electricity network distribution operator for the Midlands, the south west, and South Wales. 

During her visit, Ms Pow heard how WPD is promoting 'green jobs' for young people across the south west through its Taunton-based apprenticeship programme. 

The Taunton training facility specialises in craft apprenticeships including underground jointing, overhead line, and fitter roles. 

The trainees told Ms Pow about the apprenticeship programme and the skills they are developing.

The Taunton facility is the largest of its kind and hosts apprentices from other distribution network operators alongside those from WPD.

Across the region it covers, WPD has trained an average of 120 new trainees per year over the last decade. 

Ms Pow was also given an insight into the day-to-day operations of the local WPD team, including its work to support local constituents by maintaining the network, responding to power outages, and planning new connections for low-carbon technologies like electric vehicle chargers and heat pumps.

Speaking after her visit, Ms Pow said: “It was most encouraging to meet some of the young people engaged in the crucial and growing electricity industry as it continues to play a key role in the UK reaching net zero.

“Green jobs provide the bridge between setting our climate targets and achieving our ambitions and it’s excellent to see WPD leading the way through its apprenticeship programme both in Taunton and across its licence areas.”

WPD engineering training manager Theresa McConville added: “Our Taunton training facility grants young individuals the freedom to create a highly rewarding lifelong career that will enable them to play a key role in the UK’s post-carbon economy.

“Our facilities are first class and allow apprentices to gain the essential skills they need to operate the network including connecting low carbon technologies, ensuring the network is resilient and increasing flexibility on the grid.

“Safety is also a core component of our training and all trainees are taught the latest safety protocols.”

WPD is planning to invest £6 billion across its network between 2023 and 2028, incluidng £347 million a year in the south west.

It says the investment will help it meet the future needs of communities, businesses, and energy consumers and deliver net zero by 2050.