Q&A with Elliott Heaton - Emergency response apprentice

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What made you decide to pursue an apprenticeship?

During my time at school I had no real idea of which direction I wanted to take with my career. I followed my friends in going to Sixth Form, mainly as something to keep me busy. Once I finished Sixth Form, I moved straight into a job labouring on building sites. Whilst I enjoyed being on the tools and the money was good, I wasn’t really developing any technical skills or gaining any qualifications that would improve my career.

I then decided to pursue an apprenticeship; my previous experience of being on-site meant that I was able to identify a career path which I wanted to take, in which I would be able to develop my technical skills whilst picking up high level qualifications and earning a good wage. It really ticked every box for me – my only regret was not applying for one sooner!

When did you start your apprenticeship with Cadent?

I started my apprenticeship in September 2019, training to become an emergency response engineer. While I was slightly nervous to begin with, the apprenticeship leaders quickly squashed any of my concerns and onboarded me with another set of apprentices.

What does your day-to-day role involve?

Currently, I spend most of my time doing one of two things - I'm either out in the field learning the job with my mentors, or training in Cadent’s high quality centres. When out in the field, I respond to emergency gas escapes as well as completing pre-planned jobs to keep our customers safe. I work different shifts, working with different mentors, which really helps in developing on-the-job skills and knowledge, as one engineer may specialise in something completely different to another!

When on training, I am provided with accommodation by Cadent, staying with my fellow apprentices. The training is all in-house and delivered by experienced trainers who have previously been in the same job role. The learning is hands on from the start, recreating scenarios which we might find on the job and completing assessments and courses to develop knowledge and skills further.

What have you enjoyed most about your apprenticeship?

There are so many positives from the programme, it's hard to identify individual highlights, but if I had to choose one it would probably be the training which I've received. I have never been in an environment which encourages learning and development like Cadent, whether it's on the job with mentors getting hands on and leading work, or being in the training centre with high quality teachers and the best facilities.

What advice would you give to someone considering pursuing an apprenticeship?

If you are considering an apprenticeship, my only advice would be to go for it. I was in a position where I had no idea where my future was going to take me... now I have opened up a career path, learning skills, achieving qualifications and earning money whilst doing something I love!

Apprenticeships at Cadent

We have a range of apprenticeship opportunies at Cadent, which will be opening for applications soon.


Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy.  We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change.  Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency.   Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing. 

Future of Gas: Here at Cadent we support the Government’s plans to reach Net Zero by 2050. That means we’re backing the introduction of hydrogen as a low carbon alternative to natural gas for the future. We know people love the controllability of gas and, with our network already in place, it makes sense to switch to the lower carbon alternative offered by hydrogen, which we believe can keep homes and businesses warm for generations to come.

Cadent manages the national gas emergency service free phone line on behalf of the gas industry - 0800 111 999*

Cadent Gas Ltd is owned by a consortium of global investors.

*All calls are recorded and may be monitored.