In the last five years more than 100,000 schoolchildren have been given a fascinating insight into how Thames Water deals with water and waste for millions of customers thanks to its pioneering education programme.
The scheme, which operates from seven education centres based at Thames Water sites or through visits to schools by speakers, helps youngsters understand how the company works to provide clean and waste water services across London and the Thames Valley.
They learn about the water cycle, how water supports life and how to care for such a precious resource as well as the impacts of flushing the wrong things down the loo. Sessions include interactive games and exercises such as the “Network Challenge”, where students can plan, build and test their own water supply network to meet the demands of a fictional town.
The children are offered tours of some operational sites, including sewage treatment works, as well as the chance to attend science and engineering challenges across London and the Thames Valley.
The company also works with community partners including the London Wildlife Trust at Walthamstow Wetlands and the London Museum of Water and Steam.
Thames Water’s education manager Paul Hampton said: “Our education programme enables us to teach the next generation all about the vital work we do to keep their taps and toilets flowing as well as encouraging them to be water savers and giving them a behind the scenes glimpse at our sites.
“We’re delighted to have reached so many youngsters and hopefully we’ve inspired a few to work in the water industry, maybe even for Thames Water, in the future.
“We’ll continue to engage with children through school visits and events at our sites.”
Steve Leahey, principal of specialist engineering and computing college the Leigh UTC in Dartford, added: “The work Thames Water does with our students to support their development is amazing.
“The inhouse sessions coupled with extended work placements provide a crucial part of our career strategy.
“Our students often express their thanks for the work Thames Water is doing with the UTC as it helps raise aspirations in those seen as most vulnerable.”
Thames Water reached the milestone figure at the end of last year after a visit from a local primary school to the company’s new education centre at Deephams sewage works in Enfield.
Twenty six children from Copenhagen Primary School in Islington visited the works, which has recently undergone a major upgrade to meet the demands of modern London.
Paul said: “As part of the Deephams upgrade we’ve ensured we can safely host school visits for those who want to find out how we provide the essential service of looking after their waste water.
“Copenhagen Primary School had been studying how they can manage water resources effectively, so a trip to visit their local water company was a perfect fit.”
The education centre at Deephams runs visits every week and has a dedicated classroom which can accommodate up to 32 children.
Along with receiving fun and interactive sessions on the waste water system, all visitors are given a walking tour of the site.
To arrange a school visit, go to www.thameswater.co.uk/schools