Newly qualified water firm employee celebrates Apprenticeship Week


A Hailsham man was among the latest batch to qualify following an apprenticeship with Southern Water.

Paul Walker is one of hundreds of similar people across the country who are celebrating the new qualification during Apprenticeship week, which ran from March 10-15.

The 26-year-old joined the programme in October 2009.

He is now a permanent employee with the company based at the Hardham Water Supply Works in West Sussex following his qualification.

Southern Water’s latest batch of apprentices will help maintain water and wastewater sites across the region.

Mr Walker officially qualified at an awards ceremony held at Fontwell Park Racecourse near Arundel in West Sussex on March 7.

He said: “I knew an apprenticeship would be ideal for me as I wanted to get on-the-job training and skills qualifications at the same time.

“The job’s great. I enjoy the fact that every day is different and has new challenges.

“I’m pleased to have finished but I couldn’t have done it without the support of the Sussex Water Supply team who answered all my questions and were always there to help.”

The former Worthing High School pupil was one of many apprentices given on-the-job training and a salary while they worked toward a recognised qualifications including NVQs, Diplomas and BTECs with the company.

Each apprentice was assigned a mentor to provide support and advice.

Darren Fitch, Paul’s mentor, said: “Paul is hard-working and gets on with the job in hand.

“He is never late and gets on well with the rest of the team.”

Southern Water’s Apprentice Coordinator Derek Waddell said: “We are extremely proud to see these apprentices qualify today. They have all worked hard and are a credit to themselves, their mentors and the company.

“The apprentice programme provides us with enthusiastic and ambitious young people who will help maintain the company’s many water and wastewater sites across the region.”

Apprenticeship Service (NAS) praised Southern Water for its continued investment in the training.

Gavin Graham, Employer Account Manager for NAS, said: “Southern Water has recognised the benefits that apprenticeships have made to its workforce and that apprenticeships deliver.

“Year on year Southern Water has continued to offer its excellent apprenticeships programme, providing training and career prospects to young people across the southern region.”