Watford apprentice wins national award

Veolia celebrates its apprentices’ success at House of Commons awards ceremony

Published: Tuesday, 12th September 2017

Our partner the UK’s leading resource management company, Veolia, has recognised the vital role apprenticeships play in its business by hosting its third consecutive National Apprentice of the Year Awards ceremony at the House of Commons. With approximately 300 apprentices across the business, the company has once again demonstrated its commitment to its apprentices, as it believes they play a vital role in closing the national skills gap while helping to attract new talent to its ranks.

The latest figures show more people are on apprenticeships than ever before, meaning more people are being paid to study on the job and completing their studies with both employment experience and earnings behind them. This uptake is considered vital in tackling skill shortages and helping businesses secure their pipeline of talent; however, it’s also estimated British companies will be 20,000 engineers and technicians short each year and that, as a whole, the country will need 1.8 million more engineers by 2025.

In order to achieve this, the UK needs to double the number of trained engineers annually. Yet with less than half of the industry talent available in the market, Veolia believes it is important to grow the UK’s talent pool by providing industry focused apprenticeships such as Maintenance Engineering, Sustainable Waste Management and Mechanical Engineering that enable people to gain technical skills while earning.

Estelle Brachlianoff, Senior Executive Vice-President of Veolia UK & Ireland, states: “It’s extremely encouraging to see that apprenticeship participation now stands at a record high. As well as seeing apprenticeship uptake steadily rise for both genders, it’s great to see how apprenticeships have helped to attract 7% more females into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) roles too; however, there is so much more to achieve and especially in Brexit times it is important employers find and develop the talent they need to grow their business. I honestly believe apprenticeships hold the key to success of industry across the UK and if we’re to close the predicted skills gap businesses across the country must keep pushing to deliver the homegrown talent we need.

“For some time now, Veolia’s objective has been to have 300+ apprentices in the business and we’ve also developed our apprenticeships in-line with the passions and interests of millennials in mind. As a result, our apprenticeships aim to expand the career horizons of this generation, while tackling the skills gap. At their core, STEM careers question, design, invent and solve and more businesses need to take responsibility in helping to equip our young people with the skills they require to have fulfilling careers. The good news is, looking at the calibre of people undertaking our own apprenticeship programme the talent is out there to be harnessed.”

Charlie Knight (19), Parks & Cemetery Operative based in Watford and Veolia’s Apprentice of the Year  ‘Public and Commercial – London’ winner, comments: “I really enjoy working outdoors in the parks across Watford – even on a cold and wet day it beats working in the office for me. I’ve now completed my NVQ II in Amenity Horticulture so I know how to safely operate a range of machinery, all about different plant species and understand how the parks team works. The horticultural and park service industry is much larger than I initially thought and now there are many different routes open to me with further training.”

Mathew Harris (24), Apprentice Fitter based in Watford and Veolia’s Apprentice of the Year finalist, comments: “Without a doubt the best thing about my apprenticeship is my team – the moral and support is outstanding – and, after this, it has to be the hands-on experience I’m gaining. From running diagnostic checks to completing jobs on vehicles I’ve really expanded my knowledge base. I’m close to completing my Level 3 course and the fact I’m earning a wage really is a win-win for me.”

Nick Ellins, Group Chief Executive of Energy & Utility Skills, adds: “Veolia is a leading apprenticeship employer in the utilities sector and a passionate advocate for ensuring a safe, skilled and sustainable workforce. It has played an important part in ensuring the whole utility sector is 'Levy-ready', and contributes energetically to the development of new and ever higher standards in competence, assurance and safety, including a leading role in the development of a new Sustainable Resource Apprenticeship Standard. This award ceremony demonstrates explicitly the value Veolia places on apprentices, and the vital role they can play in its future development and success. I congratulate them for that foresight and all the apprentices that have been recognised at the event, for their achievements."

The Veolia Campus was established in 1999 as part of an employee development programme led by Veolia’s head office in Paris. Today it trains over 300 apprentices across the UK each year. ​The company’s apprenticeships cover everything from sustainable waste management, electrical engineering, business management and mechanical engineering. 

For more information on the Veolia Apprenticeship Programme visit: www.campus.veolia.co.uk/apprenticeships

Charlie Knight (19), Parks & Cemetery Operative based in Watford and Veolia’s Apprentice of the Year  ‘Public and Commercial – London’ winner, with Veolia Watford Contract Manager Matthew Crane.

Charlie Knight (19), Parks & Cemetery Operative based in Watford and Veolia’s Apprentice of the Year  ‘Public and Commercial – London’ winner, with Veolia Watford Contract Manager Matthew Crane.


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