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Employment Minister set to meet water treatment apprentices

PUBLISHED: 06:00 23 September 2015

Priti Patel MP

Priti Patel MP

The Government’s Employment Minister is set to meet apprentices from Essex & Suffolk Water at the newly expanded Abberton Reservoir in her Witham constituency today (Wednesday).

Priti Patel will be shown around the £150million Abberton Reservoir, which is now filled to its new top water level and holding an extra 15 billion litres of water, and will then meet apprentices working on the treatment of drinking water at the nearby Layer-de-la-Haye water works.

John Devall, water director at Northumbrian Water Group, Essex & Suffolk Water’s parent company, said: “Apprentices are hugely important to our business as they offer a way for young people to develop the skills necessary for running the water industry in the future.”

Northumbrian Water Group, employs 16 apprentices in the North East and South East of England. The Abberton Scheme, which included the expansion work at Abberton Reservoir, was officially opened in June by naturalist Sir David Attenborough at a special ceremony with more than a thousand invited guests.

“To be able to showcase the work of some of our apprentices to the Employment Minister and the MP for the local area that includes Abberton Reservoir is a real opportunity to highlight to other young people that there are these type of career paths open to them,” said Mr Devall.

The expansion at Abberton Reservoir led to the launch of the Abberton Rural Training programme (ART).

Essex Chambers of Commerce chief executive Denise Rossiter said: “I was delighted to be able to bring the Minister to visit Abberton Reservoir for a number of reasons. Not only are Essex & Suffolk Water one of our leading members and patrons but the work they have done in enlarging the reservoir and safeguarding part of Essex’s water supplies is vital for businesses and residents alike.

“It is not just about water though, as the water company support the Abberton Rural Training scheme and it has been really instrumental in helping people in rural areas into employment and self-employment, something that we and the Minister both commend.”

One of the apprentices meeting the Minister will be Lauren Thompson, aged 20, from Saxmundham who works for Essex & Suffolk Water as an apprentice process technician at Lound water treatment works in north Suffolk.

“Being an apprentice is a good way to start out on a career path. The programme of training around the job has given me the confidence to progress in the water industry,” she said.

Lauren started her process technician apprenticeship in 2013 after sitting her A-Levels.

She provides technical water treatment process support for the Suffolk operations production team to ensure water quality standards are met.

“I am thoroughly enjoying it and would recommend these opportunities to any school leavers looking to earn while they learn,” she said.

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