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Callum

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Callum's STORY

4th year Maintenance Craft Technician (Electrical)
Northumbrian Water

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Callum has had some fantastic opportunities as part of his apprenticeship including being selected for the Institute of Water Rising Star program.

I’m a 4th year Maintenance Craft Technician (Electrical), current working for Essex & Suffolk Water.

As a technician here at Essex & Suffolk Water no two days are alike – which is what keeps everyday exciting! There’s so much learning to do but with the support from my team on-site and the staff at University Centre Colchester I have the facilities to best develop my practical & technical skills.

The apprenticeship scheme is going brilliant, I can’t fault it. I’ve completed my Level 3 qualification and am now pursuing my HNC Electrical and Electronic engineering qualification. Additionally, I’ve been selected for the Institute of Water Rising Star program – a very recognised achievement within the water industry. It’s been invaluable for my development, providing me with opportunities to develop my soft skills and increase my industry knowledge.

I’ve had some brilliant opportunities throughout my apprenticeship. Just last week I was fortunate enough to attend the Northumbrian Water Groups very own Early careers conference – something very relevant for me as well as the Innovation Festival hosted by NWG themselves.

Why did you consider doing an apprenticeship over perhaps going to university or any other route?

For me, it wasn’t really an option – it was a no brainer. I see three key benefits from my apprenticeship:

  • Wage
  • Industry-Relevant Experience
  • Industry-Recognized Qualification

Apprenticeship schemes are evolving, and we’re seeing larger intakes each year. This expansion offers more options and variety for new individuals interested in apprenticeships.

Additionally, there are diverse apprenticeships available. Some programs even allow you to pursue a degree alongside your apprenticeship—an amazing opportunity. Personally, I hope to eventually work towards a level 6 qualification here at Essex & Suffolk Water.

What does your normal week look like for you?

The work can be incredibly varied. Sometimes it’s fast-paced, and other times we have more time to work on our own projects. Throughout the week, you might complete around 10 jobs, while in other weeks, it could be one prolonged project that takes a little longer. Additionally, I’m currently working on a project for new apprentices joining the business. The training rig I have designed and assembled allows apprentices to experiment with their newly learnt fault-finding skills as well as other vital skills within the electrical trade.

What’s been the biggest highlight of your apprenticeship so far?

The biggest highlight for me would have to be the Innovation Festival. There were so many great conversations had across the week about how we are going to face future challenges in the water industry and how innovation could help. It’s an exciting time within the water industry right now, with endless opportunities.

How important is your line manager/mentor to your success as an apprentice?

I’m incredibly fortunate that my line manager is supportive of my endeavours. My line manager was previously a technician, so he has extensive site knowledge and understands where I need to be within my role. Ultimately, your apprentice can be what you make it, but it’s helps when you are surrounded by a supportive network to help facilitate your aspirations.

Apprenticeship schemes are evolving, and we’re seeing larger intakes each year. This expansion offers more options and variety for new individuals interested in apprenticeships.
– Callum Barrett
Apprentice Maintenance Electrical Technician, Northumbrian Water

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