Jonathon Switzer. Trainee Engineer, SSE

After spending 7 years in the Royal Marines, where he was a Heavy Weapons Specialist, Jonathon decided it was time for a career change. He's now on the SSE trainee engineer programme and is relishing the opportunity to develop new skills.

What do you do and where do you do it? 

I am working as a Trainee Engineer/Linesman as part of a Wessex supply restoration team, based at New Forest Depot.

Which parts of the job do you enjoy most/ find most rewarding?

The Programme provides an opportunity to earn a salary at the same time as learning, it  combines academic study with work based experience. I enjoy understanding how the theory is used in real life, understanding why and how the electricity is set up in the way that it is. Overcoming engineering challenges to find solutions to tricky problems is satisfying.

"I'm looking to build a career within engineering, hopefully to fulfil some of the jobs left by an ageing workforce."

What path did you use to get to the position you hold today?

After leaving college I joined the Royal Marines and served within the Heavy Weapons specialist team. When I left the Service, I applied to join the SSE trainee engineer programme as it was an opportunity to pursue a new career path. The prospect of a varied and interesting career, with a mix of practical skills and mental challenges, really appealed. What I found amazing was that, despite the change in industry, my discipline, time keeping and problem-solving skills were transferable and put me in a great position during my apprenticeship. I know it’s a bit of a cliche but the communication skills I picked up, finding the right person to talk to about the right situation and speaking to them in manner to suit the situation, whether speaking to customers or taking instruction from a control engineer,.are invaluable.

What do you think of the career prospects? Have you had much training and development?

In the 4.5 years that I have been on the training programme I have been really well supported to develop my knowledge and skills..The career opportunities are huge if you are self-motivated and prepared to go out there and seek it.

"The programme allows me to build a knowledge of the energy sector and take on more responsibility as I develop new skills."

What does an average day consist of

As a Trainee Engineer an average day is very mixed it can be purely site-based, learning how to install new supply services and locating HV faults to a mix of office work and planning job and speaking to customers to help jobs run smoothly.

Would you recommend your job to a friend?

Yes, because there is a lot of opportunity within the business and the sector and also the way that I have been supported to follow a different path means that however you want you career to go the support from the company is there.

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