Ongoing pandemic doesn’t stop water company taking on record number of new apprentices

North West based water company United Utilities has welcomed 56 new apprentices, which is the highest number of new apprenticeship recruits the business has taken on in one go, despite dealing with challenges from the current pandemic.

The only FTSE100 company in the region has a strong track record in delivering award winning apprenticeship schemes and now has over 135 apprentices currently gaining valuable practical hands-on skills in a diverse range of roles, alongside achieving nationally recognised qualifications, including at degree-level.

The latest batch of apprentices first day with the company started virtually, with an event hosted online to welcome them to the company.

Julie McGovern, head of people for United Utilities said: “The pandemic has made the job market a tougher environment than ever for young people. 

“I’m so proud the way colleagues have adapted so quickly during the pandemic, to not only help successfully deliver our training programme for current apprentices, but to push forward with our investment in finding the next generation of budding engineers, scientist and customer service recruits.”

The new recruits will spend the next few weeks getting to know more about the business, completing interactive learning and having online interactions with colleagues across the business.  When it’s safe, the new apprentices will get to meet each other in person, taking part in team-building challenges, which will include a week long residential at an outward bound programme.

Throughout their time with the company the apprentices can expect to gain rapid professional development, something United Utilities as a responsible company is keen to continue to deliver;

“More than ever, levelling up skills is critical and we are proud to be able to continue to offer opportunities to a diverse range of people.  Apprenticeships are such an important part of our business and we will continue to invest in this area.

“During these difficult times we will continue to lead the way in innovation to address the impact of the pandemic to ensure our apprentices are not disadvantaged and I look forward to watching their careers blossom as they help us deliver a key service to 7 million customers across the North West,” added Julie. 

Since 2014 United Utilities apprentice recruitment has grown by 77%, with 97% of apprentices moving into substantive roles across the business on completion of their scheme.

In addition, United Utilities recently announced it will take on an initial 250 young unemployed people as part of the Government’s new Kick Start programme.  The Kickstart scheme was announced by Government last year as part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic.