Van makeover puts North West company’s apprentices on road to fame

Caption: Muhammad Umerji is one of the apprentices featured on United Utilities' new vans

It might not be the cover of Vogue, but a company’s stunning new vehicle livery could soon make apprentices some of the most recognised faces on the roads of the North West.

Water company United Utilities’ apprentices Marcus Howarth, 20, Abigail Biggs, 20, Chloe Briggs, 19, and Muhammad Umerji, 19, are among a handful of staff chosen to ‘star’ in £11 million makeover of its fleet.

The first 264 vans will take to the roads in the next few weeks, and will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people every week.

Marcus, a third year apprentice mechanical field services engineer specialising in bioresources at the company’s Mersey Valley Processing Centre at Shell Green, near Widnes, said: “It was a bit of an honour that they chose to use my photo on the vans. I’m pretty positive about it. I love working for United Utilities and the apprenticeship has gone really well. I’d recommend it to anyone. I thought I had had enough of the classroom but now I am pushing to be able to do an HNC.”

Chloe, a first year apprentice scientist in the company’s water testing laboratory in Warrington, said: “I was amazed to get the chance to represent the company on the vans and was dead happy when they asked me. I love working for United Utilities. The people are lovely and I would definitely recommend the apprenticeship.”

Muhammad, a first year apprentice based out of United Utilities’ depot at Bolton, said: “My job is to keep the network of water pipes flowing. I started here in September but the apprenticeship at United Utilities has blown me away. I really enjoy it and would recommend it to anyone. When they said my picture might be on a van, I was surprised. But now I would really like to drive around in a van with my picture on it.”

Lou Beardmore, the water company’s customer services director said company vans were a great way to communicate with customers about things they found important, like local job opportunities and innovation.

“You might not think it, but advertising on our own vans is an amazing way to connect with our customers, and attract future staff. We reckon that one of our vans is spotted by nearly two thirds of people in the North West every day. So, by the time our entire fleet is replaced, people like Muhammad, Chloe, Abi and Marcus will be quite a familiar sight.

“We’re so grateful to them for letting us use their images. They are great ambassadors for our apprenticeship programme. Investing in future skills to keep the North West flowing is hugely important for us so the more people who know about the opportunities we offer, the better.”

For more information about working for United Utilities, including apprenticeships, visit