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Thames Water volunteers inspire Earley students

Wednesday 3rd March 2021 11:20

Two people speaking on a computer screen

A group of Thames Water volunteers have helped students at Maiden Erlegh School in Earley, Reading prepare for their future careers and the world of work.  

Over 250 Year 11 students took part in virtual mock interviews in February, with volunteers from Thames Water and the local community testing their ability to prepare for and participate in real-life interviews. 

The water company’s 11 volunteers included marketing managers responsible for its ‘Bin it – don’t block it’ customer campaigns, business risk analysts and resilience leads, and graduate trainees working in the company’s finance, science, operations, and engineering divisions.

The students were interviewed over Zoom for a Customer Services Consultant role with Covéa Insurance, Maiden Erlegh School’s enterprise advisor. They were provided with a job description and were asked to prepare a CV detailing their previous work, volunteering experience, and academic qualifications. 

The interviewers tested the students with a list of questions, including how they would handle a challenging situation, what they could bring to the company and what they consider makes a good team player. 

The volunteers then provided feedback on the students’ performances, giving advice on how to improve and how to make the best impression during a recruitment process. 

Liz Banks, education manager at Thames Water said: “It is brilliant that our employees can continue to volunteer with schools even while students are at home.  It is vital that companies like Thames Water provide opportunities to experience the world of work and we are delighted to be supporting Maiden Erlegh’s mock interview sessions.” 

Rob Buck, trust Lead for Careers and Destinations at Maiden Erlegh School said: “We are so grateful to our employer volunteers for hosting virtual employer mock interviews to our young people. The students conducted themselves in an articulate and thoughtful manner and prepared thoroughly for the experience. They were a credit to themselves and to the school. During such challenging times recently, it was so important for us to be able to offer our usual careers and employability provision to students and they really rose to the challenge!”

Claire Nimmo, head of year 11 at Maiden Erlegh School, added: “The Year 11 students have been exceptional, the feedback we have received about them has been phenomenal and I have been so pleased to see how well they have coped with this in such difficult circumstances. They have done themselves and us all really proud!”

Thames Water provides water and waste services to 15 million people in the Thames Valley and London. Before the coronavirus lockdown, the company operated its comprehensive education programme from seven specialist centres based at its sites and through visits to schools by speakers.  

Over the last five years, 100,000 schoolchildren have been given a fascinating insight into how the company deals with clean water and waste for millions of customers. Thames Water is now providing online education and careers talks to schools and colleges and hopes to start visiting schools again in 2021.

Find out more about Thames Water careers website, including the Thames Water graduate and apprenticeship programmes.