APPRENTICES from Havant and Portchester are among a group of 15 people being trained by Southern Water.
Matthew Taffurelli, from Portchester, and Stephen Pearcey, from Havant, are two of 15 Mechanical-Electrical, Instrumentation Control and Automation (MEICA) apprentices with the firm.
They combined academic studies with workplace training, and have become permanent team members.
Matthew, 26, who has been training with Southern Water for three years, has qualified and is now an electrical technician with the company.
He has passed his National Vocational Qualifications to Level 3 and has completed a Modern Advanced Apprenticeship.
Stephen, 28, has also been with the company for three years and is also now a technical electrician after passing his exams and Southern Water’s training.
He said: ‘Southern Water has offered me this amazing opportunity and everyone has been very supportive.
‘I believe getting skills and learning a trade is more important than just getting a piece of paper to say you’ve done exams.’
The firm says its apprenticeship scheme provides a ‘challenging but rewarding’ route into the industry with a three-year programme.
As well as on-the-job training, apprentices also gain recognised qualifications including NVQs and BTEC diplomas.
The apprentices from each county are assigned a mentor to provide support and advice.
Southern Water’s apprentice co-ordinator Derek Waddell said: ‘The apprentices programme provides us with ready-trained technicians able to maintain both the water and wastewater sites. Last December, 15 of our 44 new apprentices moved from working as a supervised apprentice to working on their own as fully-fledged team members.
‘There are another 18 technical apprentices due to complete their apprenticeship and qualify in 2013.
‘This is great news for their personal development and for the company’s future.’