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Youth Development Programmes

AES is committed to making a positive contribution to society, in the workplace and communities in which we operate. We’re privileged to be able to provide education and development opportunities for young people through our long-standing Youth Development Programmes. AES is investing significantly to ensure that we have the highly productive and skilled workforce required to power our industry in the future.

AES works in our local communities to “grow our future talent”. We believe in foraging strong links and partnerships with local educational bodies that benefit the local community. We bring young interested people into our company, helping them develop their interest, knowledge and expertise. Our education initiatives and programmes help us to foster a pool of young people who are already aware of and suited to the culture and job roles required to keep the lights on in the future.

Apprenticeship Programme

We run a highly competitive apprenticeship programme across Ballylumford and Kilroot Power Stations in Northern Ireland.

Apprentices participating in the three year accredited course receive a Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) Level 3 Qualification and meaningful experience to prepare them for a career in the associated field. We support them through a further Improver Year, enabling apprentices to achieve a Foundation Degree Course. The vast majority of AES apprentices go on to secure a permanent job after completing their apprenticeship programme. Most stay with AES, a fact of which we are immensely proud as we see these young people as the future leaders of our business.

Undergraduate and Graduate Programmes

AES offers a series of year-long, paid work placements for undergraduate and graduate students across Ballylumford and Kilroot Power Stations.

In 2015 AES is supporting eleven undergraduate students, placed in various departments across the business. These placements are often a crucial stepping stone for local young people, offering vocational training and relevant experience in the field associated with their degree. Undergraduate placements are currently available for students interested in Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.

AES is currently delivering the Northern Ireland Department for Employment and Learning’s new Computing and Engineering Scholarship Programme (CESP), hosting engineering undergraduates from Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster.

Our paid Graduate Programme builds on this success, bringing back selected Undergraduate Programme participants for a further year of development following their graduation. These young people are able to develop enhanced skills and take on a wide range of projects and responsibilities.

Undergraduate and Graduate Programme participants enjoy a high level of employment after university, and many stay with AES in permanent roles following the end of the programmes.

Schools Outreach

Practical experience of the day to day work of a power plant can be the opportunity young people need to inspire a successful Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) career. We provide a programme of outreach in local schools, to encourage the study of STEM subjects and raise awareness of potential careers in our industry.

Our programme is delivered by AES people across all departments, and includes:

  • Work experience schemes for secondary school pupils (including Sentinus programmes) to allow students to get an insight into working life and what tasks are involved in departments such as chemical, mechanical and electrical engineering, HR and IT. In 2014 we welcomed 35 students for formal work experience placements;
  • Interview skills days to enable students to prepare for interviews through constructive feedback to improve interview technique and job prospects;
  • STEM Teacher Placement Programmes which give an insight into how teachers can make topics on their exam syllabus more relevant to students to improve grades;
  • School Mentorship programme to give students in local schools someone to aspire to, who can emphasise the importance of working hard at school and to make school work more relevant to increase pass rates.