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The Kettering trio


Three members of the same Kettering-based team are all celebrating their 40th anniversary with the company on the same day.

Team Manager Andy Hames, Fitter Graham Stringer and Linesman Mick Collins all joined the company, then the East Midlands Electricity Board (EMEB), as 16-year-olds on 15 August 1977.

Left to right: Mick Collins, Andy Hames and Graham Stringer. 

Graham said: “We took apprenticeships because we wanted to earn money, not that it was much.” 

“£10 that first week,” said Mick, “and you queued up every Thursday to get your wages.”

Even before they joined the company the three knew each other. They’d all gone to Stamford Road School for Boys where Graham and Andy were classmates for three years; Mick and Graham lived on the same street.

Despite their shared background, their decision to become apprentices in the electricity industry was made separately. Graham had wanted to be a motor mechanic but his father was a member of the EMEB social club and persuaded him otherwise. Mick’s brother already worked for EMEB so he had an inkling of what the job entailed.

“I didn’t know what direction I wanted to take,” said Andy. “Being a supernumerary enabled me to spend two years going round the business. When I got to engineering field control I realised I needed to change direction away from clerical.”

Over the years the trio have taken on a variety of roles within the company. It was when Western Power Distribution took over Central Networks in 2011 that they became part of the same team.

All three are now involved in mentoring apprentices. “We tell them it’s the best decision they’ll ever make,” said Andy. “It can still provide a job for life and career progression, if they want it.”

“It’s also an industry where you never stop learning,” added Graham, “we’ve got 120 years’ experience between us but we’re still finding new things.”

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