Started as an Apprentice, now we’re here

Many of our people started out by joining us as an Apprentice, receiving hands-on training that they could put into practice, which led to developing their career in the gas industry.

It’s an exciting time to be joining us as we modernise and innovate like never before, through technology, robotics and the ingenuity of our people, as we play our part in the extraordinary transition taking place to decarbonise our gas networks and revolutionise the UK energy industry.

Here are just a handful of our people who began the SGN career as an Apprentice and where they are now.


A photo of Bradley Squires

Bradley Squires, 2013
Electrical & Instrumentation Project Officer

As part of my secondary school work experience programme, I worked with an electrical installation, testing and maintenance company and I really enjoyed it. I was studying for my A-Levels and following the ‘standard’ route most secondary schools push for: get your GCSEs, get your A levels and go off to University. I was unsure on whether university was what I really wanted to do, when my Dad saw an advert for SGN apprenticeships appear in the local paper and said I could look at this as another option. The work I carried out on my work experience sounded similar to what was being offered in SGN’s apprenticeship advert. The ‘earn while I learn’ approach was also very appealing and the benefits offered were good, especially for an 18-year-old!

I learned the value of the more effort I put into the apprenticeship, the more reward and benefit I got back from the process. It was a lot of work completing two NVQ portfolios of evidence for Electrical Maintenance and Instrumentation & Control Maintenance, but very rewarding. The apprenticeship also aided me with my report writing, IT and literacy skills, as well as my hands-on technical ability. 

I found I matured while on my apprenticeship, having to build good working relationships with people I had never met before, attend training courses and staying away with a group of five other apprentices for periods of time. I developed how to conduct myself at work safely and to deliver work at a high standard.

After qualifying as an Electrical & Instrumentation Maintenance Craftsperson, an opportunity arose fairly soon after completing the apprenticeship to work with a different department called Major Projects. I was interviewed and was successful in being promoted into a role as an Electrical & Instrumentation Project Officer in November 2017. Since then, I’ve been managing projects for the Major Projects team with some really interesting projects including full site rebuilds on large gas offtakes, telemetry system upgrades, Flow Weighted Average Fiscal metering upgrade projects, electrical upgrade work, and demolishing and rebuilding one of our gas Pressure Reduction Stations to accommodate the HS2 train line route. SGN also supported me to conduct both HNC and HND qualifications in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, alongside my busy work programme.

I didn’t know what to truly expect from the apprenticeship opportunity, but I was extremely pleased that I did apply and got onto the programme.


A photo of Jen Stant

Jennifer Stant, 2008
Policy Engineer

I finished school after completing my GCSEs and jumped straight into work. I had various jobs including working in retail and also part-time at a local zoo, however, none of these roles really felt like a career I could see myself doing long term so I was keen to find a trade with a good company. I saw an advert in our local paper for a Mechanical Pressure Control Apprentice. This really piqued my interest as I had worked with my dad restoring old cars and I could see myself really enjoying working with my hands, so I applied straight away.

The apprenticeship itself was an amazing opportunity to learn new skills including pipefitting, fault finding and pressure testing. After I finished my apprenticeship, I was a fully-fledged craftsperson and keen to continue the development process, learning more about my role and the company as a whole. Fortunately, SGN offered me regular training courses to hone my skills and learn new things, which allowed me to progress within the company.

Over the next ten years I was promoted and able to gain experience in different departments, such as Major Projects, where I learned about construction and design of new installations and oversaw my own projects, and Safety, where I was able to interact with people across the business and promote our world-class safety culture. I’m now a part of Engineering Policy where I am currently being mentored through becoming an incorporated engineer and able to influence new procedures and incoming technologies to ensure SGN stays at the forefront of the gas industry.

When I look back at my time in SGN I feel both incredibly proud and lucky to have kickstarted my career with an apprenticeship programme that gave me the knowledge and skills to be able to take every opportunity that has come my way and allow me to grow both personally and professionally.


A photo of Ian Waddell

Ian Waddell, 2008
Business Performance Manager

I left school at 16 without any Highers. I wasn’t enjoying school and I didn’t know what I wanted to do yet, so I started working in a mailroom, though after a year I went back to education to study Music Performance & Promotion. After college, I worked with various event promoters, but then settled into working in retail. I was 21 and had been looking for another career that wasn’t within retail or promotion, but I didn’t think I had the qualifications or skills for anything else.

The main thing that made me apply for the apprenticeship was that full training would be provided, so no experience was necessary – it was the right type of person they were looking for. At school and in previous jobs, I didn’t have a problem picking up new information and skills, so I applied right away. After some assessments and a couple of interviews, I was lucky enough to be offered a three-year apprenticeship as a cross-flexed First Call Operative & Service Layer in SGN’s Glasgow depot.

My apprenticeship was one of the fondest times of my life. There were some difficult aspects, such as time away from home, but I knew that going into it and the reward was worth it. My apprenticeship was in two distinct parts:

Training: in my case, time spent away from home to focus on theory and hands-on training in a workshop environment, usually for up to two weeks at a time, gaining the qualifications and knowledge I needed to do the job.

On District: this was working alongside real SGN employees who were doing the role that I was training for. My time spent on district allowed me an opportunity to put into practice what I had learned, with the guidance and support of my peers.

Aside from the formal qualifications and skills I learned from the course, I also benefitted from having a diverse training group made up of apprentices from both Scotland and England, gaining a bit of perspective of how other areas worked too. I was also fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of experienced and helpful engineers and managers in the Glasgow depot, where no one was shy to offer support. During my apprenticeship, my manager would frequently get me involved in non-routine events such as evacuations, loss of gas supply incidents, high volume gas escapes – near enough any job that wasn’t run of the mill, I got an opportunity to experience as an apprentice.

Since qualifying as First Call Operative / Service Layer, I went on to apply for an Emergency Team Manager role. I hadn’t been working long as a qualified First Call Operative but the timing suited me and I fancied the role. I had a good grounding of the safety and theoretical aspects from my apprenticeship, and I learned a lot from working under different managers whilst trying to gather evidence to complete my portfolio. After a couple of years as a Team Manager, SGN introduced an Aspiring Leader Development programme, which provided more training and opportunities that ultimately led to me gaining my current role as a Business Performance Manager, looking after all aspects of the operational and financial performance for our West Region in Scotland.

Had I not applied for the apprenticeship scheme when I did, it’s unlikely I would ever have applied for SGN and had the career I’ve got now.


Life at SGN - Chris Munns

Chris Munns, 2008
Project Engineering Manager

Once I finished School, I decided to study A levels at College, however it soon became clear to me that I didn’t enjoy it and that I wanted to consider another option. As Christmas was approaching, I discussed my concerns with my parents and decided to leave College and apply as a Christmas Temp at the retail shop Next, working with them for just over a year.

My Dad worked for SGN as a Senior Manager for many years. I developed a greater understanding of SGN while growing up, learning about  its business, customer focus and how it was a great place to work. I was fortunate enough to go to work with him once for a “take your children to work” day and while working at Next, the SGN apprenticeship was advertised and I decided to apply to the Maintenance Department.

The Apprenticeship was a three-year programme and during this time I was fortunate to meet many new people from different backgrounds and made life friends who I keep in regular contact with. In the initial stages we had long periods away from home staying in Rotherham while we attended the Develop Training Centre to study for our Level 3 NVQ. After completing the NVQ, I attended a training centre in York to study further ‘Governor Maintenance Modules’, which included on the job training and assessments. I had great support from the team and most especially from my team leader. 

Once I completed my apprenticeship, I became the Maintenance team leader with responsibilities for the routine maintenance and fault finding in the Brighton, Hastings and Eastbourne networks. My team manager put a lot of trust in me at a very early stage, recognising my potential and within two years I became responsible for deputising for my manager while he was on leave.

Since then I also worked as a Maintenance Project Team Manager,a brilliant opportunity for me as it was a new role and enabled me to develop the position to best meet the needs of the business. I went on to manage a lot of projects from PRS boiler house upgrades through to Governor replacement projects.

I later joined the Maintenance Project team, replacing small ‘District Governors’ and isolating/purging the high-pressure storage sites, with the support from the wider Maintenance team. Three years on and I’m now managing the larger projects including holder site rationalisations, relocating IP District governors, carrying out connections and isolation/replacement of mains up to 1050mm. I’m managing a portfolio of up to £9m of assets and a team of five direct labour staff and contractors who report to me and deliver this diverse workload.

I’m really grateful for all the development opportunities SGN has given me and I’d definitely encourage people to consider applying to the apprenticeship scheme.