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How the new Apprenticeship Standard can support the needs of the water utility sector

Traditionally, when we think of the word Apprenticeship, we think of an entry point for young people to join a skills-based industry and kick-start their career. However, new Apprenticeship Standards are now being used in the water utility sector to tackle skill gaps.

The overall objective of the new apprenticeship standards is to ensure that apprenticeships are truly employer-led and are therefore designed by employers (Trailblazer groups) to meet their needs, the needs of the water utility sector and the economy more widely.

Guidance around the development of the standards specifies that they need to be short, easy to understand documents that describe the knowledge, skills, and behaviours required to undertake a specific occupation well and to operate confidently in their role and sector. The approved standard ultimately covers everything required of the apprentice and the job they need to be able to do by the time they have completed their apprenticeship.

Watertrain has recently introduced a comprehensive set of delivery models to add the ‘Water Process Technician Apprenticeship Standard’ to their portfolio of available qualifications. This Standard contains five skills pathways: Water Treatment Technician, Waste Water Treatment Technician, Water Networks Technician (Network & Leakage) and Wastewater (Sewerage) Network Technician.

The Trailblazer employers have produced a Standard at Level 3 with the stated aim of then upskilling existing operational teams with a higher level of skills and knowledge that can only benefit their efficiencies and cost management. Neil Davies, Director of Watertrain, comments:

“A number of our clients have now started some of their people on the new Standard and the roll-out so far has been very positive. The new delivery model of classroom teaching, group interaction, 1 to 1 coaching and assessor support is being very well received. It is a level of challenge for all apprentices on the various pathways and all are really engaged, which for an up-skilling programme is a great benefit.”

To add to all of this, the apprenticeship can be utilised as part of the Levy, and employers in the water utility sector – part of the essential infrastructure – are almost all Levy paying. So why not utilise it? From enhancing productivity and efficiency to profitability, the Standard represents a great opportunity for employers. You can find out further information on the Apprenticeship and Employer Levy by visiting the Watertrain website.

Watertrain has been the leading provider of apprenticeships and other qualifications to the water utility sector since 2007 and have a long track record of delivering apprenticeships for clients in the water utility sector. Based in Birchwood Park, Warrington, you can contact Watertrain on 03330 431 431 or email info@watertrain.co.uk.