Two young men from the Isle of Wight are taking the first steps in their new career as Southern Water apprentices.
In addition to an earlier article on Island Pulse Sam Underwood writes:
Michael Brown from Westhill Road, Ryde, and Conor Dixon from Wellington Road, Carisbrooke, are among a dozen young people who have joined the water company’s newest apprenticeship – Water Supply and Distribution – which is training new inspectors and water supply process operators.
They will help Southern Water’s operations team 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 new apprentices are studying for an NVQ in Water Engineering which will be enhanced by placements with the company’s Leakage, Distribution and Supply teams.
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.
Michael, 25, started work with aviation company Britten Norman but lost his job in 2010 after the firm moved its headquarters from Bembridge Airport.
The former Ryde High School pupil spotted the Southern Water apprenticeship on the company’s website and leapt at the chance to apply.
Michael said: “I was looking at the website and reading about the leakage team because it’s something I wanted to get into and then I saw the apprenticeship for water distribution.
“I’m really pleased to have got a place because it’s a job for life, you get out and about and it’s interesting. It’s going well and I’m learning a lot.”
Conor, 16, joined after leaving Carisbrooke High School and is following in the footsteps of his father Peter, who works as a Water Supply Operator on the Island.
He said: “I was looking at getting an apprenticeship and Dad recommended Southern Water to me and I’m really pleased because it’s really good.
“You can sit at college but it’s not going to get you a job at the end of the day.
“An apprenticeship is a job for life and you get qualifications and experience while you are earning so it’s perfect really.”
Next week, February 6th-10th, is National Apprenticeship Week and the National Apprenticeship Service has praised Southern Water for its continued investment in the training of young people for the future.
Jodi Fair, Head of National Apprenticeship Service – Employer Accounts South Central, said: “As the body responsible for apprenticeships throughout England, the National Apprenticeship Service believe in the real benefits that employing apprentices can bring to businesses and young people in the South.
“Apprentices have a major part to play in the future of our local economy and the skills they bring can help businesses to develop, be successful and grow.
“We are delighted that Southern Water has been able to offer more apprentice opportunities. Their apprenticeship programme is commendable and will provide the new recruits with exciting career opportunities and the organisation with even more highly skilled and motivated individuals to complement their existing workforce.”
Southern Water offers a range of apprenticeships including Water Supply and Distribution and Mechanical and Electrical.
The Mechanical and Electrical Apprenticeship is run in partnership with training company Babcock International and includes a six-month placement at HMS Sultan, a world-class training centre in Gosport, Hampshire.
The remainder of the apprenticeship is spent on Southern Water sites, with one day a week at college, working towards NVQ and BTEC qualifications. Subjects studied include maths, IT, business and electronics.
In March, Southern Water will hold its annual Apprentice of the Year Awards to reward the efforts of the apprentices currently on the programme, congratulate six apprentices on their graduation and welcome a further 20 new starters.
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 our 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.”
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