Kickstarting careers at Northumbrian Water

June 29, 2021

Northumbrian Water is backing young people at risk of long-term unemployment by offering 37 placements through the Government’s Kickstart Scheme.

This journey began in November 2020, with roles in administration for the wastewater teams, information services, as well as operational posts in our water treatment sites.

We had some success filling the roles, but fell short on overall numbers, meaning we had to re-open some vacancies.

Percentage rates for referrals to CV can be as low as 12% – to overcome this, we make job adverts simple, easy to read and build good relationships with coaches who promote roles.

Northumbrian Water had 16 starts from May 10 and they are doing really well, with a mix of homeworking and onsite jobs, spurring the customer teams to seek advisors, rangers in Kielder, and new roles within our HR team, to help with Kickstart referrals!

It can be challenging and there’s a lot of admin. Making contact with some applicants is hit and miss, but the people we have contacted and interviewed have been great.

One team leader said: “From his first day, Dan fit in well with operators on site and myself. To provide a little variety and to help the Leisure team, he has been out with the Fontburn Rangers mending fences, stocking fish and feedback has been nothing but positive.

“His interaction with contractors and engineers on site has drawn positive comments – in fact, ‘you need to keep him’ is about as positive a comment you could get in my opinion.

“Dan’s work ethic is excellent, he’s keen to learn, asks the right questions and isn’t afraid to question something that doesn’t seem right to him.

“I think, as a business we should try to keep Dan on a permanent basis as a matter of urgency – possibly an apprenticeship would be a good fit if possible.”

If you are thinking of embarking on a Kickstart programme, have a point of contact within departments to help coordinate, keep to timescales, simplify job descriptions, maintain contact with DWP and lastly, enjoy meeting the future workforce, there are some great young people out there.

Anya Smith, a Trainee Robotic Process Automator who joined us May 10 in our IS department.

Aleck Bruce, Training Specialist, Daniel Stanbridge, Kickstart Water Operative and Alex Brennan, Talent Manager are interviewed by the BBC Look North, aired June 16.


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