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Thames Water promoted up ranks of Armed Forces Covenant

Monday 7th September 2020 11:48

Two soldiers next to a Thames Water van

Two soldiers take a break during a recent military exercise at Swindon Sewage Works

A commitment to recruiting and supporting ex-servicemen, women and reservists has earned Thames Water an Armed Forces Covenant Silver Award. 

Britain’s biggest water company has been promoted up the ranks thanks to its ongoing military recruitment strategy, which includes attending careers fairs, and holding CV writing workshops and mock interviews. 

Military personnel often have skills relevant to the water industry including engineering, leadership, logistics and incident management. Nearly 40 roles have been offered to veterans by Thames Water in the past 12 months alone, taking the total number employed to more than 300 out of a 6,000-strong workforce. 

Former serviceman Spencer Whiteley is a regional operations manager at Thames Water. He said: “I’ve been involved with the military recruitment strategy since it started. It’s something I’m proud to have been a part of. I’ve seen many ex forces men and women come into the business and do really well. 

“Leaving the military can be an unnecessarily daunting experience and I particularly enjoy attending the job fairs and Thames Water insight days because you get to explain to service leavers about their worth and value to businesses outside of the military. 

“The military recruitment strategy is great because it gives genuine mutual benefit to both the service leaver and Thames Water. As a business we get high calibre recruitment opportunities, and the service leaver gets an opportunity to work for a genuinely brilliant business that has such diverse and wide opportunities to showcase their former military transferable skills.” 

Thames Water was already a Bronze Award holder after signing the Armed Forces Covenant last year. Its commitment to building a diverse workforce means it has also signed the Race At Work Charter, is a Stonewall Diversity Champion and was the first water company to be awarded Disability Confident Leader status. 

A drive to recruit more females into frontline roles saw the number of applications from women increase from eight per cent to 46 per cent after the company changed its “masculine” job adverts. Thames Water has also appointed its first female CEO, Sarah Bentley, who started her new role on September 1, and there are now plans to increase the total female headcount from 33 per cent to 45 per cent by 2025.  

Ali Dearlove, Thames Water’s senior resourcing business partner, said: “Our aim is to continue the great work we do and be in a position to get Gold next year. We couldn’t have achieved Silver without all of the support from our internal military network, and the more we can shout about the great things we are doing, the more people we will engage with and hopefully bring on board.” 

Thames Water receives Armed Forces Covenant Silver Award

L-R Thames Water's Kate Sheldon-Smith, Ali Dearlove and Martin Brotherton