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Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water - Talent Search

GE Aviation Wales Inspiring Young Talent Award, 2017, Shortlisted

Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water is the sixth largest of ten water and sewerage companies in the UK. Welsh Water provides a safe and reliable supply of drinking water along with waste water and sewerage services to over 3 million people living in Wales and some parts of England, covering over 1,000 operational sites.

Good for business

  • Retention rate – 100% retention rate amongst apprentices and trainees who complete their training and move into a substantive role
  • Increased workforce – hiring more apprentices as a result of the Talent Search programme, with 23 recruited in 2016 and a total of 108 recruited through the programme as a whole
  • Stronger pipeline – the Talent Search builds a framework for Welsh Water to identify and recruit employees into the future, building their pipeline of talent

Good for society

  • Real experiences of work – over 300 students have taken part in a diverse range of experiences of the world of work
  • Diverse workforce of the future – by specifically focussing STEM activities on female students at schools, 45 students have been engaged with annual events, working closely with senior female role models from Welsh Water
  • Built relationships – Welsh Water has built and is maintaining strong relationships with local schools, colleges and universities to promote careers in the water sector to the next generation of employees

Talent Search

Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s Talent Search programme is aimed at individuals wanting to join the Welsh Water team either as an apprentice, trainee or graduate. The programme combines early career taster activities with real experiences of the world of work; helping to get them ready to enter employment. 

A key benefit to Welsh Water of the approach taken through Talent Search is the ready-made pipeline of prospective future employees which it creates. With the pressures on the existing workforce of age, succession planning and the loss of institutional memory (and skills) are real issues for the business and by proactively seeking to inspire the next generation of workers, Welsh Water is in a stronger position to ride out these challenges. Talent Search helps prospective employees at Welsh Water to become “work ready”, providing them with the skills they need to be successful in employment. There are also roles for existing employees to deliver and pass on their skills and knowledge of the industry; some colleagues going on to be dedicated “craft mentors”.

Partnerships also play a key role in the Talent Search programme and Welsh Water is successfully working with local schools (through the BITC Business Class programme), colleges and universities to create work placements aligned with students’ formal course structures. These ensure that students taking part in the Talent Search programme get access to experiences and content that is relevant to both their formal learning setting, course work and their experiences within Welsh Water. 

As a result of taking a long-term view of their recruitment challenges, Welsh Water is combining work experience and partnerships to not only build their talent pipeline but also make employment opportunities available to young people in Wales. 

What Welsh Water’s HR Director said:

“The work from all colleagues is crucial to making sure we are prepared for the future succession challenge – and our apprentices, trainees and graduates have already contributed immensely to the strong position the company is in today. The success of our programmes could not be achieved without the help from our managers across the business who mentor and the hard work of our talent development team and the effort from the apprentices, trainees and graduates themselves.”Linda Williams, HR Director, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water