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Turning the taps on diversity

For the UK water sector, apprenticeships could hold the key to embracing diversity and inclusion in the workforce.

Research suggests the UK water sector is less diverse than the wider UK workforce in terms of gender, ethnicity, and disability. According to figures, 80% of the workforce are male, compared to 53% for all sectors, 96% are white, compared to 85%, and just 12% have a disability, in comparison to a national average of 15%.

Through modern apprenticeship training, water companies can attract and retain a wider talent pool and offer more opportunities for skill development – taking maximum advantage of untapped potential in their workforce.

There is strong evidence to highlight the benefits of building a diverse workforce, including a recent report which revealed that companies who focus on racial and ethnic diversity are 36% more likely to have financial returns that are above average for their industry. The same report also found that companies with an even gender balance are 25% more likely to outperform those who do not.

Following reports that parts of England are at risk of running out of water in 20 years, the ability to improve productivity, creativity and innovation through improved skills and diversity in the UK water sector has never been more essential. The warning from MP’s revealed that nearly three billion litres is lost due to leaking pipes every single day.

Different experiences, backgrounds and educations in teams allows for more effective problem-solving in these scenarios, often leading to new and innovative ideas which might not have come up in a less diverse team.

There is a wide range of apprenticeships adopting new standards that water companies can utilise. Covering operational areas from water treatment to water networks and leakage, these apprenticeships are designed with a key objective of being truly employer-led and are designed by Trailblazer groups to meet organisational needs, sector needs and the needs of the economy more widely.

Watertrain is a leading provider of apprenticeships and technical training to the UK water utility sector. For information on their programmes, contact or visit

Join the conversation on social media – #ApprenticeshipsInWater.