A real alternative to university

There’s a lot you can learn by going to university. But, if you know what career direction you want to take, university might not be your best option: from debt to the delay in getting experience under your belt, uni can come with a real opportunity cost. 

If you’ve completed, or nearly completed, your A-levels or equivalent, one of our two or three-year Higher Apprenticeship Programmes could be the option for you. Through a combination of formal studying and learning how to put what you’ve learnt into practice, you can achieve a Foundation degree or level 4 qualification – dependent on business area – and set your career on the right track. 

What will I be doing?

In your first year of the Higher Apprenticeship scheme, on the technical and engineering based apprenticeships you’ll spend time at our National Training Academy in Eakring, Nottinghamshire. You’ll complete a mix of safety training and basic hand skills in electrical and mechanical techniques that will get you on track to achieve your academic qualifications. 

If you’re on a Higher Apprenticeship in the IT or Capital Delivery teams, after a comprehensive induction, the majority of your first year will be spent alongside your line manager, placement manager and colleagues to develop a clear understanding of the business area. You’ll then rotate through various teams to understand how they work together. 

Year two involves building your specific technical skills and continuing with your academic qualifications. This is supported by additional time at one of our academy centres or at Aston University in Birmingham. In year two you’ll spend your time learning on the job with the support of your manager, getting directly involved in real life works taking place.

Some of our schemes extend over a third year where you’ll get more exposure to your specialist areas and where you’ll spend up to 75% of your time on site, putting the skills and knowledge you have gained into practice and building a portfolio of skills to further your career with us.

What routes can I take?

Now you know what you’ll be doing as a Higher Apprentice, discover what different routes you can follow on the Higher Apprenticeship Programme.


The National Transmission System is monitored and protected by an integrated control system, and you’ll be a specialist in looking after it. Setting maintenance teams to work, commissioning new substation equipment: it’ll be down to you to keep everything shipshape.

Power System Planning

Planning, prioritising and optimising the construction and maintenance of electricity transmission systems. It’s a vital role, and in the Power System Planning team, that’s what you’ll be doing.

Transmission Network Control Centre

In case of emergency, you’ll be the one who helps save the day. As part of the Control Centre team, you’ll work in shifts to coordinate standby engineers for out-of-hours work, and emergency callouts.

System Operator - Electricity

Keeping things running smoothly, 24/7. It’s an essential task and, as part of our Power System Operations team, it’s what you’ll be doing. Planning and managing the live operation of the UK’s electricity transmission network, you’ll be at the backbone of keeping people connected to energy.

Cyber Security

With the advance of technology, the world we live in is becoming increasingly complex and interconnected – and cyber security is more important than ever. Working as part of our dedicated Digital Risk and Security division, you’ll play a crucial role in helping us manage cyber risk in the UK and US. There aren’t many roles with scope and importance of this.

Project Management

Planning schedules, managing costs and solving problems: it’s all in a day’s work for our Project Controls team. Every project we execute needs a safe set of hands guiding it from start to finish: as part of this team, you’ll be those hands.

Contracts and Commercial

Being involved in the development and implementation of contract strategies, you'll gain extensive experience of how contracts are managed. You’ll work closely with a number of stakeholders and interfaces including the Construction delivery teams, Global Procurement and our Development function.

My future

Where will it take me?

A Higher Apprenticeship with National Grid is the perfect way to get your career off to a flying start. Once you’ve completed your training, you’ll become a specialist in your chosen area and have the opportunity to put what you’ve learnt into practice while building your technical skills and working towards certificates and qualifications. So whatever role you choose to pursue, the opportunities to progress really are endless.

What’s in it for me?

On the Higher Apprenticeship Programme, you can earn a competitive salary while you work towards acquiring your Foundation Degree/level 4 qualification (depending on business area) and gain valuable practical experience. But not only that, you’ll be part of an organisation that has ambitious, world-changing plans for the future, with you at the heart of them. Below are just some of the many benefits that come with being one of our apprentices.

Rewards and Benefits

  • A starting salary of £23,500 p.a
  • 25 days’ annual leave plus statutory holidays
  • Permanent job opportunities at National Grid
  • Full-board accommodation whilst at our academy
  • Pension scheme
  • A London weighting allowance if you’re based at one of our locations in the capital
  • Sharesave options
  • Leisure facilities and events

Qualifications Received

  • Transmission Network Control Centre, Power System Planning & System Operator Electricity - Foundation Degree in Electrical Power Engineering (Power Systems Management)
  • Substations- Foundation Degree in Electrical Power Engineering (Transmission)
  • Cyber Security – Level 4 Cyber security Risk Analyst (Level 4 diploma in IS security professional competence)
  • Project Management – Level 4 Associate Project Manager (Level 4 APM diploma in Project Management)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1 What level of qualification will I achieve at the end of the Apprenticeship?

    The core of our development programme is a Foundation Degree or a Level 4 Qualification, depending on the business area you choose to apply for. 

  • 2 Where will I study during my Higher Apprenticeship?

    All our Apprentices begin their studies initially at our National Training Centre in Eakring, Nottinghamshire. Depending on which area your apprenticeship is in then you’ll either spend time at a local academy centre with our expert trainers or spend time (2 week blocks) at Aston University in Birmingham. 

  • 3 Am I guaranteed a job after I complete my Higher Apprenticeship with National Grid?

    Yes you are offered a full time permanent position on successful completion of the programme. When you join us as an Apprentice, we will invest a lot of time, money and effort in training you to have the skills and abilities that you need to develop a successful career with us. We’ll support you throughout your apprenticeship and then continue to support your career as you develop. 

  • 4 Will National Grid support further studies in my specialist area?

    We take your personal development very seriously. From day one you’ll be encouraged to create a development plan. We also encourage professional registration whether this be engineering or commercial. Our Engineers are encouraged to work towards professional registration. Furthermore we are accredited with IET, IMechE and IGEM.

  • 5 Can I apply for a Higher Apprenticeship if I already have a degree?

    Yes you can. Provided that you have the required qualifications for the apprenticeship, you are welcome to apply. 

How do I apply?

Join us

We’re looking for fresh talent and innovative thinking. If you’re passionate about the future of energy and excited by the prospect of working as part of a dynamic, inspiring team then you could be right for National Grid.

Here’s how to apply

  • Stage 1 Online Application

    You can apply through this website, your application should take around one hour to complete but you can save it and return to it later. As part of your online application you will need to complete timed ability tests and a personality questionnaire which allow us to get a real picture of who you are and where you fit into National Grid.

  • Stage 2 Telephone Interview

    If you’ve impressed us, you’ll be invited to a telephone interview where you’ll tell us a little more about yourself and your ambitions.

  • Stage 3 Assessment Centre

    If you’re invited to attend one of our assessment centres, you’ll take part in a number of exercises with other candidates where you can let your personality shine through 

  • Stage 4 Decision

    The final stage in the process, we will act as quickly as possible to inform you of the outcome. If you’re successful we’ll send you an offer letter confirming the details. If unsuccessful we offer a follow up call to talk you through your application, and provide advice and feedback,