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July 4, 2018

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Safety champ is a shining star for apprentices

A Tolworth electricity worker who coaches safety with apprentices who are training to keep the lights on in their communities, has won a national award.

Safety champ is a shining star for apprentices

Safety champion Lee Perkins, from UK Power Networks with his wife Fiona at the Utility Week Stars Awards.

Lee Perkins picked up the prestigious Health and Safety Champion award at the Utility Week Stars Awards in Manchester on Friday, an annual event recognising the dedicated professionals who keep the lights on, taps running and gas flowing across the UK.

Lee, Engineering Trainees Team Leader at UK Power Networks, said: “This is just who I am and what I do, and if it helps others I am chuffed. I am passionate about helping young people to thrive in this industry because they are the future and I want my work to bring on the next generation.”

UK Power Networks delivers electricity to eight million homes, schools, hospitals and businesses across the South East, London and East of England. In an industry where safety is paramount, his award recognised his passion, influence and initiative to ensure a safe workplace for the next generation of engineers.

Lee joined the industry as an apprentice electrical fitter in 1979, installing and connecting electricity substation equipment. Later in his career he became strongly involved in delivering the company’s psychological safety training programme, Stay Safe, helping to embed positive safety culture and behaviour.

He promotes the prime importance of safety to industry newcomers, usually supervising the welfare of a dozen apprentices, ranging in age from 17 to 42. Whether he is working at the company’s Kent training centre or on site in muddy fields, he instills safety as paramount among the company’s new recruits.

Apprentices have praised Lee’s patient support and said they could not have completed their training without him. His manager Charlie Aston, engineering trainees manager at UK Power Networks, said: “Lee is passionate about working safely and believes he has a duty to help newcomers find their way, as he was helped by others when he started out 38 years ago. I believe this is his greatest attribute and explains why he is able to make such a special connection with trainees and is such a skilled and effective champion on their behalf.”

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