North West water company takes on 48 apprentices and graduates

Dozens of the North West’s brightest talents are stepping into new careers with the region’s only FTSE100 company.

After months of tests, assessments and interviews, water company United Utilities opened its doors to 35 new apprentices and 13 graduates, recruited from Crewe to Carlisle.

Almost 2,800 people applied for places on the award-winning schemes this year, bringing the company’s total number of apprentices to 152 and graduates to 66.

The new recruits will spend their first two weeks getting to know about the business and taking part in team-building challenges, including an outward bound programme and training with the Ministry of Defence.

After that they’ll join United Utilities’ army of around 5,000 dedicated staff keeping taps flowing and toilets flushing for seven million people in the North West.

Apprentice & Graduate Delivery manager Jacqui Kawczak said United Utilities’ three and four year apprenticeship and graduate programmes were some of the best in the business earning multiple accolades. Last year the company was named macro employer of the year by The National Apprenticeship Service and is recognised as one of the UK’s Top 100 Apprentice Employers.

“They couldn’t be in better hands. As well as having our own purpose built dedicated technical training centre in Bolton, United Utilities lead the way in delivering industry standards for the water sector”

United Utilities new recruits will work towards a range of apprentice standards including  degree-level. Many are in technical fields, such as water process and engineering, but other subjects can be as diverse as Laboratory & Science and Fleet Administration.

This year, the company has recruited its first ever degree-level apprentice in Property Surveying.

Chief Operating Officer Steve Fraser said United Utilities has a huge skills agenda, which includes delivering tens of thousands of days of training for other staff and supporting hundreds more in further education.

“Like many industry sectors we need to invest in new talent to make sure we have the skills and leaders we need in the future. The water industry in the UK is going through a period of unprecedented change and we want to be right up there with the best.

Many of our top leaders started work with us as apprentices and graduates and our new recruits are an amazingly talented bunch. I look forward to watching their careers blossom.”

Helping to organise and welcome this year’s cohort of apprentices and graduates was 20-year-old Matthew Newman, from Salford, Manchester. Matt joined as a human resources apprentice in 2016 and is now the company’s Development Scheme Administrator.

“I have loved my time as an apprentice. I knew I didn’t want to go to university. I wanted to work and didn’t want any debt. I gained two qualifications and went straight into a job. It’s been fantastic for me,” he said.