Current and past apprentices share their experiences of our apprenticeship scheme:
I would say to someone thinking about becoming an apprentice at Thames Water - go for it because you won’t regret it and it will be one of the best decisions that you will ever make.
The amount of qualifications you get from it and the amount of people you meet is amazing and no over apprenticeship scheme can compete with it.
You get the best of both worlds because even though you are employed full time you can still gain higher education qualifications if you want to and also get extra on the job training from guys who have been doing the same trade for years.
I also chose to do an apprenticeship because I wanted to get a career under my belt which is a guaranteed trade for life.
I also chose Thames water because it’s one of the only apprenticeships where you get two NVQ’s so you get double the qualifications.
One of the main things I like about working at Thames is the bond you get with your work colleagues and the amount of team work there is between the operators and M&E - it’s like one big family.
I've represented Thames Water at London City Hall in front of over 100 students, CEOs, and chairmen of some of the biggest engineering companies in the UK.
I've also represented Thames Water at a national apprentice competition at the WWEM 2014 conference with apprentices from all over the UK from other water companies. We came third which was a brilliant result for us. Once the competition had finished we then went back to the hotel got changed and then went for an awards ceremony where they gave out awards to companies and then for the competition.
After the awards there was a formal three course meal followed by a fun fair which they had hired for the event. I’ve never seen so many CEO’s run to get on the dodgems in my life!
I’ve nearly finished my apprenticeship and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.
I am an ICA and Electrical apprentice in my first year, studying at Kingston College.
For the first year we are at college full time, with four days in the workshop and one in the classroom working on our BTEC level 3. I have just finished my machining unit and am about to start electrical installation, as part the college course. I have also learnt hand fitting skills and studied electronics. I am really enjoying learning new skills and seeing how they will be applied in the workplace.
Before I started the apprenticeship I wasn’t 100% sure what an ICA and Electrical apprentice was but having spent time on site I have been able to get a better understanding of what it means. ICA stands for Instrumentation, Control and Automation; in short we look after the instruments and systems that monitor all of Thames Water’s sites.
In the time I have spent at site so far I have programmed level sensors and other equipment as well as learning how to maintain the equipment that is already there.
I applied for the apprenticeship because I wanted to become an engineer whilst working and earning.
The apprenticeship course has a great balance of time spent at college and at site and I have learnt so much and gained more experience than I would have had I pursued a different route.
I have met other apprentices from various companies and had the chance to get involved with the Brathay Apprenticeship Challenge, meeting HRH Prince Charles and various other VIPs and spreading the word about apprenticeships.
I have really enjoyed the experience so far, bring on the next 3 years!
I chose to go back into training and do an apprenticeship because I had spent several years in fairly unfulfilling unskilled work and I was looking to get into a challenging career which I could both enjoy and gain new skills in. I wanted to work for Thames Water because the scheme they offer is in the route I wanted to go down (mechanical and electrical) and with them being such a big company with so many sites/jobs to be done the training and experience available is invaluable, and no 2 days are the same.
The first year of the scheme is spent in college learning all the basic skills you will need to go onto site in your second year. The training in college is varied and you are learning new things every day, from machining with lathes and milling machines, engine and pump re-builds and soldering electronic circuits. A great deal is covered to give you competency for your future career. Thames are very supportive throughout the year, checking up with a training manager and making sure everything is going ok.
I would thoroughly recommend the apprenticeship as the program Thames Water provides is brilliant and will set you up for a great career with them.
Jordan joined Thames Water as an apprentice in 2011.
As a first year apprentice I am learning a wide range of skills including mechanical, electrical and electronic. In the first year of my apprenticeship I have spent the year in college, where we spent most of the week learning practical skills and one day on classroom work.
I have enjoyed this style of learning as I am a hands-on person and the amount of practical work suited me. The practical work is really varied and we get to use different machines and equipment to do our work. We achieve a NVQ Level 2 and BTEC Level 3, as well as functional skills such as maths, English and ICT.
I really have enjoyed my first year as an apprentice; I can say that I have learnt an exceptional amount of new things. I would recommend anyone and everyone who likes engineering or working with their hands to apply for apprenticeship for Thames Water.
I am now in the fourth year of my apprenticeship currently finishing off my electrical maintenance qualification, then followed on by the ICA training that will be completed in August 2014. I am also carrying out the second year of the Higher National Certificate.
Most of the work that I carry out is hands on, such as fault finding and fixing panels. I like working here because it gives you a wide range of machinery and plant experience that would you not find in other industries, because there are both new and old machinery and plants. Thames Water have also provided me with extra training throughout my apprenticeship that helps me with my day to day role such as; Confined space training (CP2), Abrasive wheels, Overhead Crain and Manual Handling.
I would recommend the Thames Water apprenticeship for anyone who wanted to learn a trade either mechanical/ electrical or electrical/ ICA. It is a great opportunity to learn as it is over a four year period, so it allows you to learn the job role while training. The other technicians are also happy to help and go out of their way to train you and teach you new skills to help you progress. The line managers are also very helpful with advice towards your training such as they are also helpful when problems arise.
Connor joined Thames Water as an apprentice in 2010.
"I joined Thames Water because I have always been interested in engineering, but wanted to do it in a practical way. The best way to do this was an apprenticeship with Thames Water, where I am always working with skilled mechanical and electrical engineers that pass on their knowledge and experience to me.
A typical day for me could involve anything due to the wide variety of jobs that take place, like changing a pump or fitting bearings, to fault finding and re-wiring electrical systems. Every day is so different, it's great."
Ricky joined Thames Water in 2005 as an apprentice and is now a Performanc manager.
"I joined Thames Water in 2005 as a Maintenance apprentice. It was a very exciting apprenticeship and I gained a number of qualifications whilst being in the work place. Thames Water takes development very seriously and like to develop their staff.
11 years on I am now a Performance manager and run 20 sites which I am controller of premises for and responsible for managing a team and multiple contractors.
On a day to day basis I have to ensure all sites and environmentally compliant and are to a high health and safety standard, in order to do this sites have to be improved and this can be as minor as getting some equipment repaired or assisting in the management of upgrading a site or getting new plant installed. This role involves working with multiple departments, frequent communication and managing a £1.7million pound budget.
The best thing about my job is no day is ever the same, there is always such variety, 1 day could be spent in meetings or conducting interviews and the next day could be out on site checking the performance of a site. In the job I have the freedom to make changes and manage my area how I feel is best but always have the assistance I need when required.
A large number of my colleagues are long time serving with many with 20+ years’ experience, that shows this company is a great place to work and managers are given the power to make changes."
Wayne joined Thames Water as an apprentice in 1991 and is now a regional operations manager.
"I started my career at Thames Water in 1991 as part of the mechanical and electrical apprenticeship scheme, which was a great alternative to a university education and allowed me to work and learn at the same time. The experience I have gained through the years by working in various parts of the business has allowed me the opportunity to develop and progress from a Level 9 to an ML5 Manager as I am today.
I now work in the Wholesale Waste Operations, leading a large team over a large geographical area within the Thames Valley area and accountable for the day to day operation of our waste water treatment works by ensuring we meet our environmental regulation and standards, plus generate renewable energy through our Combine Heat & Power (CHP) and Thermal Hydrolysis Plant (THP) plant.
I have been doing this role for over 2 ½ years now and absolutely love it and that’s because every day is very different and therefore offers me a variety of challenges, which allows me to practice my skills but also learn new ones and develop myself for the next opportunity. I also get to work in amazing part of the country.
The main thing for me though, is having the privilege to work with and learn from some great people across a variety of teams within Thames Water."