Zander Ross from Inverness discovered a new taste in career when he swapped his chef whites for a high-vis jacket after completing a three-year trainee engineer programme with SSE.
The 28-year old was working as a chef in a hotel in his hometown of Dornoch when he joined SSE’s Technical Skills Training (TST) scheme four years ago.
Zander said: “After leaving school I worked as a chef for a few years but I always knew that I wanted a career in the engineering industry so I took the decision to go back to college to study an HND in Engineering Systems. While I was there, two of my classmates joined the TST programme at SSE and every time I met them they always had excellent feedback.
“I applied for the SSE programme after I finished my HND in 2008 and was over the moon when I found out that I was successful. “
The three year TST programme consists of both academic study and work based experience. Students have the opportunity to study for a Foundation Degree in Electrical Power Engineering or Electrical Power Generation and, following graduation, are appointed to an engineering post in either SSE’s Networks or Generation teams.
As well as studying core subjects, such as Engineering Science and Mathematics, candidates will also undertake an industrial project in their second year. In the third year of the programme students are given increased responsibility, preparing them for an engineer role within the company.
Zander said: “One of the best parts of taking part in the programme was meeting all the other 30 TSTs, all of whom I still keep in touch with. There was always plenty of variation. We would go to university for a 3 week block, then return to our base location to gain hands on experience. We were always travelling and visiting new places and taking part in various placements within the different generation areas.”
Zander graduated in 2012 and now plays an important role in keeping SSE’s wind farms spinning across the north of Scotland as a Control and Instrumentation Engineer within the Onshore Wind Generation Team. Based at Fairburn wind farm in Inverness-shire, his day-to-day tasks include the management and control of automation systems for the company’s wind farms in the area, developing and maintaining in-house documentation and providing technical support to the local operations teams at the sites.
Zander said: “The timing was perfect as the wind industry is in a period of rapid growth. Renewable energy is an area that always interested me and I’m proud to play a part in harnessing Scotland’s natural resources. After all, energy is always going to be required so I think I’ve made a wise career choice.
“There’s a lot of variation in the job, and a constant learning curve which is keeping me on my toes. I would definitely recommend anyone considering an engineering career to join the programme; it provides an excellent grounding and gives you a real head start in the industry.”
Peter Glennie, Trainee Engineer Programme Manager, said: “The Technical Skills Training Programme has been running for six years now and we’ve taken on over 125 new employees along the way. It’s open to anyone from school leavers to experienced candidates who are looking for a change of career – and we’ve taken on a great mix of people in the past.
“Providing employment and training in the UK is at the heart of what we do, we currently employ around 20,000 staff in Great Britain and Ireland, and I’m looking forward to welcoming a new generation of engineers to the SSE team.
“The TST programme can be the first step on a successful career ladder with SSE and I’d like to encourage anyone who meets the criteria, and is looking for a new challenge, to apply.”
Find out more by visiting www.sse.com/careers.