A dozen young people have taken their first steps in a new career, thanks to Southern Water.
The company, which serves customers across the South East, has launched a new Water Supply and Distribution Apprenticeship to train new inspectors and water supply process operators who will join its operations team.
They will help Southern Water supply drinking water to more than one million people through a network of 95 water supply works and more than 13,000km of water mains.
The apprentices, from Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, are studying for an NVQ in Water Engineering which will be enhanced by placements with the company’s Leakage, Distribution and Supply teams.
As well as the 12 new apprentices, Southern Water is also putting 12 members of staff who joined the company within the last year through the NVQ training.
They will all study part-time at one of three Southern Water offices around the region and put into practice what they have learned while at their sites.
A company called Watertrain is providing the academic training and Southern Water is providing on-the-job training and experience as well as a salary.
Southern Water’s Don Winzer, who has helped organise the training, knows first-hand the benefits of an apprenticeship as he began his career as a trainee 30 years ago.
He said: “We have made sure that we brought in people with a strong work ethic who want to succeed and build a career for themselves.
“I feel very passionate about it because it’s how I started with the company 30 years ago and I know what a great start to a career an apprenticeship is.
“This NVQ is the equivalent of the training I did, which was a great introduction to the company and the industry and set me in good stead for the future.
“By offering these young people the chance to do the same, we are setting the Southern Water staff of the future on their career paths.”
He added: “The blend of apprentices and mature students has created a vibrant learning environment from which they are all benefiting.”
Chris Maloney, Southern Water’s Director of Human Resources, said: “It is important that large companies like Southern Water plan for the future by training and investing in our people and that is exactly what we are doing with this and our other apprenticeships.
“In the current jobs climate, vocational training with the promise of a job is a fantastic opportunity for young people to forge a rewarding career and we are pleased to be able to help them on that road to success.”