Josh, Assistant Project Engineer

Assistant Project Engineer Josh reveals what it's like to be an apprentice at Wessex Water.

What made you want to do an apprenticeship?

Soon after relocating from Johannesburg, South Africa to the UK, I did my A-levels in physics, psychology and product design. Half-way through my studies the school organised a trip to a careers fair where I learnt about apprenticeships. Apprenticeships were unheard of in South Africa and the more I learned the more they appealed to me.

How did you become an Apprentice Project Engineer?

I saw Wessex Water was holding an apprenticeship open day at their operation centre in Claverton Down in Bath, so I attended and spoke with the people at the Engineering and Sustainable Delivery (ESD) Mechanical and Engineering stand. They guided me towards applying for a higher-level engineering apprenticeship. Fast forward a year and I was lucky enough to have an offer to take on a role as an Apprentice Project Engineer.

What did your apprenticeship involve?

I joined Wessex Water in August 2018 on a two-year apprenticeship, which consisted of working four days a week within the ESD team, while also doing one day a week at Weston College studying Level 4 Project Management.

What kind of work did you do?

Having come straight from school, I was soon put through my paces. I began learning about the processes that were involved in the fascinating world of water treatment right away. My learning curve was accelerated at an early stage after being invited to a week-long Hazard and Operability Study (HAZOP) for the Durleigh Water Treatment Centre refurbishment project. Something must have stuck as I was lucky enough to spend two and half years on the project.

What happened after you completed your apprenticeship?

In August 2020, my apprenticeship came to an end, which resulted in me obtaining my IPMA Level D qualification in Project Management. As a result of completing my apprenticeship, I was lucky enough to be interviewed for the role of Assistant Project Engineer. Much to my excitement, I was offered the role.

Have you done any additional training?

Yes. Alongside my new role, I have been fortunate enough for the company to put me through a two-year HNC mechanical engineering course at Bath College. This has helped me to further develop my engineering knowledge and will hopefully allow me to progress my career in the company.

What’s been the highlight of your time at Wessex Water so far?

Apart from working in a supportive team on the Durleigh project, the highlight of my time at Wessex Water has to be winning the regional Rising Star Award at the annual National Apprentice Awards. Even though we weren’t able to celebrate at the black-tie event due to the pandemic, the amazing Early Careers team made it a memorable occasion.

What’s next for you?

Looking forward, after completing my level 4 engineering course at Bath College, I would like to take on the role of Project Engineer. Then, in the next five to ten years, the role of Project Manager greatly appeals to me. I am also currently working towards obtaining my EngTech accreditation with the IMechE which is a big step towards becoming a chartered engineer, which would be a major life achievement for me.