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Meet Lucianna, one of Thames Water’s first lorry driving apprentices

Monday 8th February 2021 09:00

Lucianna standing infront of a Thames Water tanker lorry

A 21-year-old woman from Buckinghamshire has joined Thames Water as one of its first ever lorry driving apprentices.

Lucianna Tebbs joined the company in January and is part of a trial cohort of four large goods vehicle (LGV) apprentices. Thames Water has developed the course as part of its plans to increase the number of directly employed drivers by 35 per cent and has vowed to triple its long-running apprenticeship scheme.

Lucianna, from Buckinghamshire, hopes her story will inspire more women to consider operational roles. She said: “I applied because it sounded like a really different and interesting apprenticeship. I’d never seen one on LGV before and I love driving so I thought it would suit me perfectly.

“I also really liked the fact it isn’t just driving and involves a lot of physical work as well, which is something that just made sense for me. I wanted to find a job that was always different, hands on and on the move, not one where I was just sat in the office all day. I’m looking forward to learning how everything works and how to drive a lorry.”

Thames Water has recently signed up to the ‘5% Club’, committing to five per cent of its workforce being apprentices or graduates by 2025. In January, the company announced plans to employ 1,000 people in 2021 across London and the Thames Valley while also supporting the government’s Kickstart Scheme by creating 50 placements for 16-24-year olds who are unemployed and on Universal Credit. The placements, starting this month, will be hosted across the business for 26 weeks and will give youngsters an opportunity to gain experience in the water industry.  

Lynne Graham, HR director at Thames Water, said: “The media reports about how much the pandemic will reduce opportunities for young people are a big worry. While many industries struggle to keep existing jobs open, we’re glad to not only continue with our apprenticeship scheme but grow it in the coming years and extend it to our supply chain by launching a shared apprenticeship scheme. 

“We provide an essential service which our customers rely on more than ever during these times and to keep the pipes flowing we need to carry on recruiting. Young people are the future of our business and it’s vital we pass on all our experience to the next generation.”

Lucianna and her fellow LGV apprentices will now work alongside experienced drivers across Thames Water’s fleet, which includes drinking water tankers, sewage tankers and delivery vehicles. The 13-15 month programme is a blend of theory and practical-based learning with the ultimate aim of them achieving their Class 2 driving licence. They will not only learn how to drive LGVs but also how to operate the equipment that enables tankers to pump water into pipes and reservoirs or suck up wastewater, helping to keep drinking water flowing to customers and protecting the environment from pollution.

Thames Water has also recently started its search for around 30 apprentices to fill places in mechanical, electrical and instrumentation and lab analyst roles and has already recruited apprentices in other new areas of digital and customer experience.