SAM Poole admits it has been a “whirlwind” first year in his job.

The 20-year-old works as a linesman for UK Power Networks, repairing and maintaining power lines.

And it has been a busy 12 months for Sam.

In his first year he has worked through two major storms and the coronavirus pandemic.

Sam, from Dovercourt, started the role in Colchester last summer after completing a three-year apprenticeship with the company.

Earlier this year UK Power Networks was kept busy by storm Ciara and storm Dennis in quick succession.

Across the county it saw coastal villages flooded, beach huts uprooted and electricity supplies cut out.

And it was all the more of a challenge for Sam as it was his first shift on standby.

Sam said: “My first big challenge was Storm Ciara earlier this year.

“It was my first shift on standby and we had two huge jobs in the space of 24 hours.

“First there was a fault caused by a gazebo blowing away in the wind causing damage and another with a tree crashing into power lines, both of which knocked a number of properties off power and needing fixing quickly and safely.

“The weather added to the difficulty with those jobs, but for me the adrenaline just kicked in.

“Getting through that first storm did a lot for my confidence because I proved to myself and to others what I could do.”

Being in the role is quite different from being at training school, Sam said.

He said: “You can do all the theory, but you can only get experience by actually being out there in the field.

“That can feel a bit daunting at first, but I’ve enjoyed what’s been thrown at me.”

More recently become a key worker during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sam has continued to work since the outbreak started, and said the he is now starting to be called out to more tasks.

He added: “I do feel if I can get through a couple of major storms and a pandemic in my first year, I can do anything in the years ahead.”

And Sam has had some helpful advice from his dad, who has worked in the power industry for a quarter of a decade.

“It’s been helpful, too, to have the experience of my dad Jim to call on,” Sam said.

“He’s been in the industry for 25 years and works for the same company as me so I know I can always call on him for advice if I have any questions about anything.

“When it came to applying for the apprenticeship back in 2016 my dad’s main advice was to pick a trade which gives you job security.

“I’ve seen the value of that now as I’ve got a few friends in other industries who have either lost their jobs or been furloughed.”

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