1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role consists of maintenance on the water treatment works at Hampton. We have to ensure that all instrumentation on site is working accurately by verifying and calibrating the equipment frequently. We also deal with breakdown jobs which can be important to the process and therefore we will need to react quickly - when we are qualified we will have to do stand-by which we will be called out for breakdowns.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Yes lots of new skills, I have learnt all the basics of electrical installations and maintenance in my second year. I have also learnt how to calibrate a range of instruments. I have also started to learn programmable logic controllers (PLC) softwares. At college we learn the basics of electrical components and the functions in a circuit, we also cover a wide range of health and safety to increase a knowledge and awareness of hazards on site.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
When on site I enjoy learning and discovering new concepts of how things work. I learn something new everyday without fail and as an apprentice you get more responsibility than i would have expected. The people at work are nice and welcoming, and also want to teach you everything they know. College at times has been unorganized (year 1) and therefore demotivating to do the work however the NVQ part is more organised (years 2-4) and I have found it better and more rewarding as a result.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
College structure has been a struggle as we have changed college providers and my year was the first year for this change. During this change i have found that there is little communication between company and college and also the organisation of teachers and higher management within the college has been terrible and we have lost out on a lot of classroom time as a result. e.g. timetables has failed to be produced so our class do not know which classroom we are meant to go to.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Lots of support from my line manager. Thames Water has done everything they can to support and welcome me to the team, line managers and mentors are always supportive when we have a problem relevant or irrelevant to work itself. My employer has provided me with all the tools and equipment which is necessary for an apprentice and also provides all PPE - also extra PPE during the pandemic (masks, hand gels etc.).
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
During the course we have various training providers, in the first year was more college related and the training provider alright - he came into college a few times but in my opinion did not give us the support as regularly as he could have. For the second year i have received adequate support and feel as though I am more motivated to complete work.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
Year 1 - My training provider did not help me perform any better as there was little guidance and updates on changes that were happening.
Year 2 - My training provider guides me better and ensures that i am keeping on track by regularly updating my progress and keeping in contact with me.
8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)
Its hard to tell how much extra activities there is as most of my time at Thames Water has been through a pandemic where there has been constant guidance on social distancing. however i have had the opportunity to do some overtime and get involved in special projects. I have heard that there are extra curricular activities before pandemic happened.
9a. Would you recommend Thames Water to a friend?
Because i have enjoyed the program so far and have been given lost of opportunities to expand my knowledge in the field of engineering. I believe Thames Water give their apprentices the best opportunity they can and try to create a happy and safe environment for all apprentices.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Thames Water?
Read into the program you are applying for and ensure its one that you are after. Also look into the colleges that they are using for the apprenticeship as it may be a long commute for the whole of the first year. for the interview process you have to sound keen and also answer why you want to be an engineer/what fascinates you about engineering and this role in particular.