Anglian Water’s Apprenticeship Programme Success

As the saying goes; ‘people are the life force of a business,’ and nothing is truer when it comes to the staff who make up the workforce of Anglian Water.

Employing over 4,000 people across the region, the local water company is always on the hunt for the next generation of engineers to help keep taps running for its four million customers. Future graduates, apprentices, interns and trainees will play a major part in the companies continued success, which is why Anglian remains committed to investing in staff training and continued development.

Experts estimate that the UK needs to double the number of recruits into engineering to meet demand, and over 220,000 additional new recruits with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths backgrounds will be needed across the utilities sector by 2027. Also around a third of Anglian Water’s workforce will retire in the next decade and apprenticeship schemes enable the company to target budding engineers, technicians and scientists from the next generation and give them the right skills and experience to join the business.

The various schemes are carefully designed to encourage candidates who believe in Anglian Water’s vision, and to allow them to gain the maximum knowledge and experience while working as part of a team, to solve real world problems within a paid role in the business. They can typically last anywhere between 18 months and four years, depending on the type of role, with a mixture of classroom and practical hands-on learning.

The candidates development doesn’t stop at the end of a scheme. The water company believes in life long learning and so there are ample opportunities to study for further qualifications and take further development.

This approach to development has lead in part to the water company recently being voted as Glassdoor’s ‘Best Place to Work in the UK’ for 2019, an award which is voted on purely by existing or former employees. This is a significant endorsement of the company’s culture and demonstrates why people want to join it.

The Apprenticeship Levy introduced in 2017 encouraged Anglian Water to review the apprenticeships it offered, and has fully embraced its introduction and has successfully achieved total recovery of its levy payments. The company now runs two strands of activity; the first recruiting new hires to the company and the second up-skilling existing staff.

As of today, Anglian Water now has 18 different programmes ranging from HGV drivers to Masters Degree in Strategic Leadership. Programmes which are largely targeted for the harder to recruit skill areas and new or growing skill requirements are key; including programmes for data analysts, project managers, a range of digital skills, customer service and quantity surveyors.

Joining forces with Cap Gemini, Anglian Water has recently started to offer undergraduate degree apprenticeships in digital skills run at Aston University. Although the scheme is in its early stages, it is proving to be highly successful with some great new hires who will add a lot during their studies and hopefully join the company once they have graduated.

Anglian Water are planning to continue to expand the range of programmes on offer for apprenticeships after successfully hiring over 64 apprentices from the region last year into Operational, Maintenance and Engineering roles.

To join any of the Anglian Water technical apprenticeship schemes, candidates need five GCSEs, including Maths and English, at grade C or above. They must also be able to demonstrate IT, communication, and time-management skills, along with a commitment to learning. In return, apprentices will receive the company’s full support throughout the programme, plus a salary that increases as they progress.

James Weedon recently completed a 4-year apprenticeship and is now a qualified electrical technician: “I came out of college at 18 and I wanted to pursue a career in electrical and mechanical engineering. The apprenticeship was really challenging but you get so much out of it and it was great to earn while you’re learning.

“I’m now a qualified electrical technician trusted to work on my own and I really enjoy the role. I can be on standby and I have to respond in an emergency – the last time I was called out it was 1am and a pump was down, I had to go straight away to get it back online and prevent a pollution incident. By 5am we got everything working again – that sort of job is a big challenge but really rewarding.”

Brianika Greenaway recently completed an apprenticeship as a Leakage Technician: “My job was to search a given area for any leaks on our network which is really important because I find leaks on our pipes, which are not always visible to the naked eye. By finding leaks early, we can prevent pipes from bursting and interrupting our customers’ water supply or causing flooding. It also means we waste much less water, which is vital for the wider environment. Anglian is the best in the water industry at tackling leakage, and I’m proud to be part of such a great team.”

anglian water

Previous articleHow Open University apprenticeships are developing the workforce of tomorrow
Next articleNew industry for a new generation off the East Anglian coast