Building a brighter future for young engineers

This September a brand new engineering degree developed by SSE and the University of the Highlands and Islands is being launched.

In 2012, SSE and the university joined forces to respond to the need for more engineers in the energy sector and to help the network operator satisfy its demand for power transmission engineers to build and deliver its multi-billion pound infrastructure investment in the north of Scotland over the next two decades.

The result of the partnership is the new BEng Power Engineering Systems degree which will be delivered to students in the Highlands and Islands from Inverness College UHI, enabling them to live, study and work in their local areas.

David Gardner, SSE’s Director of Transmission explains what other measures the company is taking to encourage students to take up the BEng Power Engineering degree: “SSE will be sponsoring a total of six places, three of which will be through SHE Transmission which will provide a bursary and a salaried summer placement in the company. Where possible, two of those three students will be from the Caithness/Sutherland and Great Glen areas, so we know that there is a guaranteed placement for them on already established sites and our hope is that they will then continue to live and work in the area.”

The degree will include training in a broad range of power system technologies including renewable generation and high voltage transmission and distribution systems.

“As well as meeting the needs of local employers in the Highland and Islands, this qualification should be of interest to power network providers across the world,” explained programme leader Billy Andrews, based at Inverness College UHI, which already runs a pre-apprenticeship course for SSE. “As an example, the Beauly to Denny power line upgrade was undertaken in some of the most hostile conditions possible and we can take students to learn in what is a real living laboratory.”

This latest course builds on an already strong relationship between SSE and the University of the Highlands and Islands, and compliments the university’s Trainee Engineer Programme which has already seen the enrolment of fifty-two transmission students.

“As part of our partnership, we discussed the training needs of SSE and their supply chain,” said Gary I Campbell, the university’s key account director. “We discovered that much of the training in this particular engineering discipline was being undertaken in England meaning that students had to travel south to gain the qualification. We’ve been working with SSE and our engineering staff across the university to respond to this anomaly and develop our new degree which will deliver qualified staff to SSE where they need it and also attract new students into our area.”

If you’d like to find out more about apprenticeships, trainee programmes and careers with SSE, please see our careers page or watch one of our former apprentices, Tom Fraser, talk about what its like to work for SSE.