A SWINDON man has earned a place on Wales & West Utilities highly-regarded apprenticeship programme.

James Darragh is just one of 21 apprentices to join the company this year and he will now be training on the job to support the work of Wales & West in keeping gas flowing to homes across England and Wales.

The apprentices and graduates have been recruited from across the company’s operating area after Wales & West Utilities launched the recruitment drive earlier this year.

The apprentices will be joining the company’s engineering teams to repair gas leaks, lay new gas connections and maintain the gas network, while graduates will be based in the company’s Newport headquarters and focus on achieving Chartered Engineer status.

James, 24, said: “I am delighted to start the apprenticeship programme with Wales & West Utilities. “The company’s training programme is very well regarded and I’m really looking forward to starting my career in a working environment with some of the best training in the industry.

“I am excited to play my part in helping to make sure the 7.5 million people we serve across are kept safe and warm.”

The apprentices will carry out all their training at Wales & West Utilities’ state-of-the-art training academy in Treforest, south Wales as well as local colleges.

The three-year programme will help the young people develop the skills to deliver a fast, efficient service that will keep customers safe and warm with a gas supply for years to come.

Since starting operations in 2005 Wales & West Utilities has recruited more than 160 apprentices, with more than 15 per cent of the company’s operational team having joined as apprentices.

Wales & West Utilities people and engagement director Sarah Hopkins said: “Our apprenticeship and graduate programmes are great opportunities and offer long-term benefits to those taking part. We’re delighted with how they have grown over the years and we are pleased to, once again, offer talented people across Wales and the south west of England the opportunity to learn while they earn.

“Apprentices and graduates are vital to our business and working with them we can make sure that we keep specialist skills in our business for the benefit of the communities we serve.”