Welsh Water, the only not-for-profit water company in England and Wales, has arguably one of the strongest apprenticeship programmes in Wales. It has a track record of offering an apprenticeship programme that can take people anywhere, including its Chief Executive Officer Peter Perry who joined the organisation as an apprentice.
Marking apprenticeship week 2022, Welsh Water can reflect on a decade of success. It has employed 249 apprenticeships ranging across different fields and skillsets. Most impressively, it has managed to retain 89% of those recruited and witness them develop, grow and thrive in their careers, with many front-line and customer-facing roles being delivered or developed through apprenticeships.
The not-for-profit recruits around 30 apprentices each year in roles that vary from customer advisers to maintenance technicians. The notion that apprenticeships are manual jobs is completely outdated. While there will always be a need for these types of roles, the Apprenticeship Programme spans across all areas of the business and is a viable route into a plethora of different careers and specialisms.
Meet some of the company’s current apprentices:
Becca Gillam, Wastewater Process Operator.
“It may not be the most glamourous job, but I love that no two days are the same and that there’s constantly new problems to solve. My first week was quite overwhelming, and I remember thinking “what have I done?” but after a few weeks, I started to pick things up and settled into the team really well. I’m the only female on the team, I don’t let that stop me from pursuing my passion. My team are really supportive and are always happy to help if I have any questions.”
Carys Newing, Cyber Security Analyst:
“Before joining Welsh Water I hadn’t given much thought to an apprenticeship and what it would give me. When I was shown this apprenticeship, I knew it would be a good fit for me. Knowing what I know now, I would recommend an apprenticeship especially if you want one in a niche area like cyber security.
With Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water a disability is not a barrier, I work to do my best every day and my manager is really understanding of my hidden disability.”
Chelsea Scriven, Distribution Network Inspector:
“To anyone applying for the programme: You are making a great decision in taking the first steps to start your career. I absolutely love my job and would advise people to look at all the different roles available and to step outside of their comfort zone and try something new. “
Peter Perry, CEO of Welsh Water, also reflects on his inspiring journey from apprentice to CEO and why he believes apprenticeships are a genius decision:
“It wasn’t until further down the line in my career that I realised what a key decision becoming an apprentice had been for me. An apprenticeship is about understanding how a business works across multiple disciplines, giving you a unique insight into the detail of an organisation and really getting under its skin.”
“Having the ability to experience the grassroots of the business has been incredibly helpful as I’ve progressed through my career. The fact that I’ve seen and done it, at all levels, means I have an empathy and deep understanding of the business that I draw upon daily to make informed decisions as CEO.”
“You can start and progress your career through an apprenticeship. Don’t be limited by your own experience or a lack of confidence. If you have the drive and passion to succeed then you can, regardless of your age, ethnicity or background. Throw yourself into it and grab every opportunity that is presented to you.”