Two jobseekers in Reading have secured full-time positions with Thames Water after taking part in the company’s work experience programme.
Gareth Morris and Chris Mayo were both offered roles as call handlers at the company’s IT department after impressing their mentors during the Give Someone a Start scheme, which offers work placements at sites around the region to those struggling to find work.
Thames Water ran the programme in Reading in October, with five people spending three weeks with teams across the company.
They attended CV writing, interview practice and communication workshops as well as shadowing staff and visiting operational sites.
Gareth, 29, from Reading, heard about the scheme through his local job centre and says the experience was invaluable for his new job.
He said: “When I started I wasn’t thinking too much about what would come out of it but came along to see what it was like. I was exploring what things I could do and what opportunities were available.
“The scheme has been good for me. Things are looking a lot brighter and I’m feeling more hopeful. I’m doing something now and I can think about moving forward with life.”
Chris, 62, is also from Reading and was again referred through the job centre. While on the scheme he spent some time in the IT department and was told of a vacancy he could apply for.
He said: “I’m finding it good, some days are harder than others but I’m getting good advice and every day I learn something new. That’s what you want in a job.
“I’d definitely recommend Give Someone a Start, it’s a good opportunity if you’re looking for a job.”
The programme started as a pilot scheme in September 2012 before becoming a regular event in November 2014. It is aimed at groups including the long-term unemployed, those not in education, employment or training (NEETs) and people with physical and mental disabilities, with candidates referred to the programme.
Thames Water also works with local charities and organisations to find candidates, including Shaw Trust, which helps disabled and disadvantaged people into employment and independent living, learning disability charity Mencap, young persons’ charity The Prince’s Trust and Jobcentre Plus.
Francis Tipton, Thames Water’s Give Someone a Start coordinator, said: “The scheme is for people who are not necessarily actively job-hunting but thinking about stepping in to employment and want to get their confidence up by going in to work for a few weeks.
“We had some great feedback from mentors about the latest cohort and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to offer jobs to two of them.”
Since the scheme began, more than 200 people have taken part, with around 10 per cent of the candidates going on to secure employment with the company. The next programme will be held in Swindon next month.