26 May Opportunities for Our Future: Green Skills Week at Whitley Academy
Written by Alesha –Year 9 student reporter, edited by Mrs Nguyen
The year 2020 and a big part of 2021 are the years that we will remember forever. It has been tough with virtually no physical human contacts except for people you live with. And our school days were mostly online lessons until Monday 8th March 2021 when we finally got back to our normal classrooms.
It was Friday 23rd April that we, all of the year 9 students, got the opportunity to think about our future and watch the virtual talk from the Human Resources Director of Severn Trent Water: Mr. Neil Morrison. The meeting took place in Green Skills Week where, as Neil mentioned is a week to “talk about all the opportunities that exist in the green economy”.
Neil joined Severn Trent in August 2017 as Director of Human Resources. From his very-down-to-earth approach, Neil explained to us that Human Resources means People Management where the right people with the right skills and the right salaries are employed.
Neil’s career in HR management started in 1996 and he has since worked in a variety of HR roles within other companies. Neil started his life as a lecturer in psychology but “wasn’t very good at it” and so went into people management where he has been ever since.
He explained that Severn Trent makes sure we have fresh water for our homes which is then put back into the environment as clean as possible. Even though we take fresh water for granted as Neil said not everyone in the world has this opportunity we do, and that Severn Trent Water is very important for the community and people. We then explored how the sewage system is treated and linked to the environment to keep it clean.
Do you know that….
Severn Trent Water employs around 7000 staff members?
Severn Trent Water HQ is based in Coventry City Centre?
Severn Trent Water also uses its strength in engineering to change human waste into energies and put them back into the national grids?
Then came the most important part of the talk: Neil talked about how we could get a job at Severn Trent Water from joining Work Experience, Apprenticeship to Under Graduates and Graduates programmes.
We listened with a great deal of interest when Neil talked about a whole range of jobs from engineers to solicitors and the newly opened Training Academy in Finham to provide specific skills and education.
We were then shown a short video of Serena Variah, Assistant Project Engineer at Severn Trent who experienced the apprenticeship that Severn Trent offers, who says:
“Apprenticeships can provide you with the qualifications you want and put you one step ahead.”
Serena also mentioned that Severn Trent has a very positive working culture and that if you’re looking for an apprenticeship, Severn Trent apprenticeship opportunities are a great choice as you are “earning while you’re learning” and that “you won’t regret it”, it is a way to learn new skills and meet new people.
“It’s the ability to join Severn Trent and combine qualifications with paid work. It is really appealing”
We then learnt about Severn Trent’s involvement with The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games where Severn Trent is taking on the sustainability agenda to make the Games the most sustainable ever.
To do this Severn Trent have planned projects for the future such as planting 72 mini forests to represent the 72 nations taking part in the Commonwealth Games and planting 2022 acres Commonwealth Forest. Wow! This will bring a sense of hope and opportunities for young people to find jobs and careers within Severn Trent especially after all the hardships the young people have encountered since the first lockdown in March 2020.
“We are doing everything we can by taking more apprentices than ever before. We are creating more jobs than ever before. We are committing to 100 000 hours of our employability training to help people trained to get jobs”
To end the meeting Neil answered some questions from the staff and students.
Q: How did you do in your secondary school years?
A: I did so badly and was offered with a clearing or retake. This caused me to not enter the university I would have wanted. This was a life changing moment and I now say to people don’t let unexpected things drag you down, do your best.”
Q: Do you have any unforgettable memories?
A: I grew up in the Isle of Wight where I experienced parties and trips during school life in the fields. How fun!
Q: Why did you choose to work with Severn Trent Waters over the others?
A: I loved the ambition around the environment that was very important to me, the chance to do things in the local community. Severn Trent is based in Coventry. You get up and go to work every day to provide water to people and water is the source of life, so it felt good to work here.
Q: If we were interested in an apprenticeship what would we need to do to apply?
A: The earliest people can join us is 16 as you need to be part of a training program but there is work experience you can take part in before that. All the information is on the Severn Trent website for working with us.”
Q: What is the one thing you like most about Coventry as a City?
A: It’s fantastic to see lots of investments for the City, including Coventry City of Culture. I love the people here. It’s the honesty from people across the West Midlands
And just like that at the ring of the bell our meeting with Neil was over. The students left with new knowledge and aspiration for career paths for their future. We learnt the environmentally sustainable projects Severn Trent has planned, the treatment of water we take for granted that comes out of our taps at home and many opportunities such as apprenticeships and work experience at Severn Trent. The students of Whitley will agree with me that it was an eventful learning experience, and we are grateful to Neil and Miss Nguyen for organising this event for us.
Above all, we want to say thanks to the National Charity Speakers for Schools who has given us the opportunity to meet and listen to Neil Morrison. We also want to thank Neil for spending time to prepare for his presentation, as he said it was a nerve-wracking experience to run a virtual talk with the possibility of technical hiccups happening, (thankfully they didn’t). Neil has given us a lot of food for thought.
Thank you for reading this blog and remember as Neil said:
“Don’t get hung up on your grades, always work hard, always do you best and always put every effort in but if something happens that you didn’t expect then don’t let it stop or derail you, you can always carry on; every individual is more than just their letters and grades.”