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National Apprenticeship Week 2022 – Apprentices

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2022 we’re finding out what it’s like to be an apprentice working in the water industry.

There are interesting and exciting employment opportunities in every region of the country, with jobs ranging from water operatives to engineers, and HR business partners to cyber security analysts – and each one of them help keep the nation’s water flowing.  

Jordan, Construction and Engineering Technician Apprentice, Wessex Water

Watch the video to find out a bit more about Jordan, what he does and his advice for people thinking of an apprenticeship.

Carys, Apprentice Cyber Security Analyst, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water

Carys particularly enjoys the forensic elements of cyber security such as researching into why issues occur and how to resolve them. She’s currently working on a Digital Degree Apprenticeship at the University of Wales Trinity St David’s. Though the work-study-home-life balance can be challenging, she finds it rewarding and never thought she would be doing a degree. Carys also has a hidden disability but it isn’t a barrier thanks to a flexible approach to work and her manager’s support. 

Carys says: “What matters most is that my manager has faith and trusts me to do my job to the best of my abilities. I love both my job and the team I that I work in – I couldn’t have asked for anything better.” 

Jamie, Apprentice Process Controller, United Utilities

Jamie had a job but was looking for a new challenge with better progression. He applied to be an apprentice when he was 25 and now loves the variety of his role, problem solving and the sense of belonging with his colleagues.  

Jamie says: “Although I was hesitant because I was taking a cut in salary, I knew that it wouldn’t be forever and at the end of my apprenticeship I would have all the knowledge and qualifications needed to succeed in my role as well as progress through the company.”   

Maisie started as a Human Resources & Learning and Development apprenticeship at South East Water and is now a HR business partner.  

After leaving school, Maisie decided she wanted to continue learning while earning and didn’t want to be committed to three years of university. She completed her apprenticeship in two years secured a role as an assistant where South East Water supported her to study for a Diploma in Human Resources Management. 

Aimée, Junior Communications Consultant, Northumbrian Water

Aimée started working at Northumbrian in August 2019 and she’s really enjoyed widening her skill set while learning on the job. Her job is varied, which she absolutely loves! Last year Aimée completed her Level 4 Chartered Institute of Public Relations qualification and is currently working towards Level 5. 

Aimée says: “When I left school, I had no idea my role even existed! I have a great balance of working in the office, having time out on site and also supporting with events, which has given me a really wide range of experience.” 

Ashleigh, Apprentice Technician, South West Water

Ashleigh works in the drinking water services division in Cornwall. She feels fully supported by her colleagues and manager, which she says makes a huge difference and helps her enjoy her job. Having gained a lot of confidence and problem-solving skills, Ashleigh hopes that her apprenticeship will lead to a successful career at South West Water. 

Ashleigh says: “As it’s a hands-on job, I learn new things every day and because the job is field-based, it means I get to drive all around Cornwall, see places I wouldn’t usually get to visit and meet new people every day, including customers. Colleagues in different departments spend time explaining and showing me their jobs, which is helping with my development.”  

Becca, Apprentice Wastewater Process Operator, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water

Becca’s role covers the operation of the wastewater treatment works. This includes ensuring all machinery is fully operational by carrying out basic maintenance checks, implementing adjustments to improve the process, and sampling to ensure the site is compliant. 

Becca says: “At Welsh Water, no two days are the same. Through my apprenticeship, I’ve been able to start a new career in an industry I previously had no knowledge or experience in. I’ve already learnt so much and although it can be challenging at times, I’ve had so much support along the way and can’t wait to see what my future holds.” 

Chelsea, Apprentice Distribution Inspector, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water

Chelsea was attracted to the customer service aspect of her apprenticeship, where she ensures customers have access to clean, safe drinking water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She attends to reported leaks and burst water mains, helps customers with queries on their water bills and checks water pressure.  

Chelsea says: “Every single day presents a different scenario with new challenges, and I love finding new solutions for our customers.”   

Lauren, Water Supply Repair and Maintenance Operative, Wessex Water 

Lauren became the first woman to do her role and she enjoyed her hands-on and practical apprenticeship. While completing her college course, she stayed with fellow apprentices for two weeks at a time and made new friends so she felt it was like experiencing university. For Lauren, the most rewarding thing about her apprenticeship was gaining a qualification – this has boosted her confidence, helped her inspire other women to become apprentices and proved she could do the job just as well as anyone else.  

Lauren says: “To anyone considering an apprenticeship – just go for it! It’s the best decision I ever made and it’s an experience I will always remember. I got to meet so many great people and make new friends, and let’s not forget I was earning money while learning.” 

Lucy, Water Treatment Technician, South West Water

Lucy is studying for a Level 3 Diploma and says her apprenticeship definitely helped her secure a permanent position with the company as she has already gained lots of knowledge in the previous months.  

Lucy says: “My apprenticeship has allowed me to build my knowledge in a classroom setting that I can then apply when I’m working on site. I’ve also enjoyed getting to know my team as they have been extremely helpful and it’s reassuring to know everyone’s willing to help me learn and develop my skills.”