Regulators praise first apprentices to graduate under new standards
Ofwat and the Drinking Water Inspectorate have welcomed the four Severn Trent Water apprentices to the sector as the first to qualify under the Level 3 Water Process Technician Standard in England.
John Russell, Senior Director, Strategy and Planning at Ofwat, has congratulated Joe Pitcher, Ryan Pumphrey, Rory Keylock and David Oldershaw, who have graduated from the three-year course that combines theoretical study with on-the-job, practical training supported by mentors.
All have demonstrated the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to be fully competent in the water industry, where safe and hygienic practices are imperative.
Russell said: “Our ‘Resilience in the Round’ document demonstrates the importance of companies ensuring they have the right workforce skills and succession plans to take their organisation forward.
“This achievement by Severn Trent Water is a demonstration of that thinking in action, and through the sector’s Energy & Utilities Independent Assessment Service, the sector is seeing the first of the new wave of talent emerge through the new Water Process Technician Trailblazer Standard. This talent will be at the core of how companies deliver their future services to their customers.”
Milo Purcell, Deputy Chief Inspector at the Drinking Water Inspectorate, added: “The Drinking Water Inspectorate warmly welcomes their personal success and the high technical competence they have demonstrated in water processes.
“The Trailblazer Standard they passed was fully accredited, tested and then quality assured by the energy & utilities end-point assessment business that Energy & Utility Skills operate, so that graduates from the scheme can be assured that their achievement is well respected and has industry-wide recognition.
"Congratulations also to Severn Trent Water for their innovative and industry-leading sponsorship of this scheme, which is a positive investment in the future of our industry.”
The Energy & Utilities Independent Assessment Service (the EUIAS) served as end-point assessor for this cohort and their graduating takes the number of achievers that have gone into the sector past the 220-mark across three apprenticeship standards.
The newly qualified apprentices expressed their happiness in their achievements.
Pitcher said: “I’m delighted to not only have been given the opportunity to complete the apprenticeship but also to be part of the first group to do so and to set the standard in the industry. I have a great sense of pride and achievement and all the hard work has put me in a unique position, being one of only very few to complete this bespoke course.
“I’m hoping that this course will give me what’s required to succeed in other areas in the company, and will also result in me being recognised in the industry and company as a pioneer of the trailblazer programme.”
Pumfrey added: “Now that I have completed my apprenticeship, I have already secured a full-time position as a technical operator. This has given me so much more responsibility and I really feel part of the company, and feel like I play a vital and crucial role in delivering water to our customers every day.
"I aim to progress at Severn Trent, covering lots of different areas and roles, and I’m very thankful to Severn Trent for allowing me to join the company on this programme and become a full-time employee at this great company.”
Keylock said: “This apprenticeship programme has already given me the opportunity to work at one of our Water Treatment Works. I’m looking forward to improving all aspects of my training, and increasing my Severn Trent knowledge so I can continue to develop with the company.”
Oldershaw said: “It really is an honour to be among the first to achieve on the new Standards and to represent Severn Trent for such a prestigious qualification. This will boost my career in many ways and put me in a great position in the future when applying for jobs.”
Dr Jacqueline Hall, Associate Director of the Energy & Utilities Independent Assessment Service, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed by Severn Trent Water to complete end-point assessments for this cohort of achievers. We commend them all for their dedication to learning, and acknowledge Severn Trent Water’s investment in, and commitment to, delivering high quality apprenticeships – which play a vital role in ensuring the future of the sector’s workforce.
“The Energy & Utilities Independent Assessment Service is the first assessment organisation in the sector to achieve this, so this is an encouraging start and a great achievement, especially since our sector is strategically important to the UK economy. It is important to add that over 2,000 candidates have commenced an apprenticeship within energy and utilities and we look forward to taking them through end-point assessment in the near future.”
End-point assessment allows apprentices to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and behaviours, as defined in the published apprenticeship standard, so that they can complete and achieve their apprenticeship.
It is taken by apprentices at the very end of the on-programme phase of training when their employer, and in some cases their training provider, is satisfied that they have met the “gateway” criteria to undertake the assessment.
An independent organisation must be selected by an employer to carry out the end-point assessment of each apprentice, to ensure apprentices are assessed consistently and comparably. End-point assessment is graded as defined in the published assessment plan. An apprenticeship certificate is only awarded after end-point assessment is successfully completed.
The Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy estimates that the water industry will need to fill 63,000 roles by 2025 so investing in high-quality apprenticeships and apprentices will provide a valuable route to addressing the skills needs.
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