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Thames Water's ambitious plan to create 1,000 new jobs 

Wednesday 27th January 2021 08:00

Two women in orange high-vis standing in front of blue machinery

Thames Water plans to recruit more than 1,000 people in 2021 after launching an ambitious recruitment programme to create jobs and boost access to careers in the water industry.

The company has employed more than 750 new starters since the beginning of the pandemic and plans to upskill people who are out of work due to Covid-19, helping to increase social mobility in London and the Thames Valley. 

Thames Water will triple its apprenticeship offer, support 50 unemployed young people as part of the government’s Kickstart Scheme and launch sector work-based academies in partnership with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). These opportunities are in addition to the wide-range of jobs available at Britain’s biggest water company, covering areas including customer service, operations, digital, HR, finance and innovation.

Sarah Bentley, Thames Water chief executive, said “The ongoing pandemic means it’s a really tough situation for many people who have lost their jobs and are looking for work. In these difficult times, reaching out to areas of society who have been most affected is the right thing to do. 

“We know having a diverse, inclusive and engaged workforce benefits our customers, communities and business. I’m proud of what we’ve done already as an essential service to help those in need and we will continue to create many more opportunities for people to build their careers at Thames Water to help us achieve our plans.”  

Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP said: “It’s great to see our Plan for Jobs supported by Thames Water in looking to recruit more than 1,000 jobseekers – giving those who have lost jobs in the pandemic a route back into work by offering them industry experience and training so they can thrive in progressive careers. 

“I encourage more employers to use a mixture of our DWP schemes, from Kickstart to the Sector-based Work Academy Programme and apprenticeships, which are all vital to spurring on our economic recovery and helping people of all ages as we build back better.”

In 2021, Thames Water will: 

  • support the government’s Kickstart Scheme by creating 50 placements for 16-24-year olds who are unemployed and on Universal Credit. The placements, starting in February 2021, will be hosted across the business for 26 weeks and will give young people the opportunity to gain experience in the water industry. 
  • work with DWP on its sector-based work academy programme. This involves offering training for its customer experience roles in Swindon and exploring other opportunities for sector-based academies in other locations. 
  • encourage and provide opportunities for young people who’ve been in care and people with convictions to work in the sector after signing the Care Leavers Covenant and Ban the Box pledge. Thames Water is working on further initiatives to improve the diversity of its workforce and will enhance its education programme with local secondary and SEND schools.  
  • expand lifelong learning opportunities within the business by providing apprenticeships and qualifications in management, data analysis, engineering and customer service to its current and future workforce. The company is also offering new and existing employees digital, literacy and numeracy training, to remove any barriers to career progression. 
  • work with the London Progression Collaboration to share its apprenticeship levy with SMEs and other social enterprise projects, to help them recover from the impact of Covid-19. 
  • launch its first shared apprenticeship scheme, working in collaboration with its supply chain to build skills across the utility sector. 

Sarah Bentley added: “This is a long-term strategy to ensure we have the skilled workforce we need to meet the challenges the water industry faces now and in the future. As individuals and as a business, it’s important we never stop learning and I’m excited we’re expanding our educational offer so our colleagues can upskill and unlock their potential to progress their careers and interests.”    

Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak Thames Water has: 

  • recruited 758 new employees across a range of roles, including 180 new customer service agents to increase the company’s customer support service.   
  • signed up to the 10,000 Black Interns programme with 10 internships being offered yearly. 
  • joined the 5% Club. Thames Water will commit to five per cent of its workforce being apprentices and or graduates in the next five years. The company plans to triple the number of apprenticeship opportunities it offers by the end of 2025.
  • employed over 40 new drivers to its logistic management centre operations to help provide its essential service to millions of customers in London and the Thames Valley. The drivers’ roles include pumping clean water in to pipes and moving wastewater sludge.
  • encouraged more women to apply for manual frontline roles by changing the ‘masculine’ wording of its job adverts.
  • adapted to coronavirus restrictions by introducing virtual assessment centres into its 2020 graduate recruitment scheme, resulting in higher numbers of female and BAME graduates.

Thames Water’s commitment to building a diverse workforce means it has signed the Race at Work Charter, was the first water company to be awarded Disability Confident Leader status, is a Stonewall Diversity Champion and has been accredited by Carers UK as a Carer Confident workplace.

Thames Water is also is also an Armed Forces Covenant Silver Award holder and a member of Women in Science and Engineering, and Women in Utilities, which encourages more women into frontline roles.

Visit Thames Water's careers website for more information about job opportunities at Thames Water.