On target for skills pledge success


Well deserved accolades have been presented to Northumbrian Water employees, as the water company nears achievement of a challenging target.

Northumbrian Water signed the Government’s Skills Pledge at the end of 2007, publicly committing to develop 90% of their workforce, around 2,600 employees, to at least National Qualification Framework Level 2 - the equivalent of five GCSEs at grades A-C - by 2010.

The water company now has 80% of its employees, more than 2,300 people, qualified to Level 2 or above and is on course to achieve the 90% target within the pledge deadline.

Success of individual employees was celebrated with a series of glittering skills awards evenings held last month at the Radisson SAS Hotel in Durham City. Motivational guest speaker and three-times Olympic gold medallist, Kriss Akabusi MBE, a man who is no stranger to success, inspired, motivated and wowed the audience with his story.

A total of 240 Northumbrian Water employees were rewarded, with qualifications attained including NVQ Level 2 in customer services, NVQ Level 2 in utilities metering operations, NVQ Level 3 in management, NVQ Level 3 in engineering maintenance, HNC in civil engineering, membership of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Process operator Mark Morton, aged 43, who works at Northumbrian Water’s treatment works at Bran Sands on Teesside and lives in Normanby, Middlesbrough, achieved NVQ Level 2 in operating process plant for wastewater production. Mark said: “The skills awards evening was a very pleasant night and it was really nice to receive some recognition for our achievements.”

Team supervisor Jeanette McDonald, aged 38, from Winlaton Mill, Gateshead, works at Northumbrian Water’s Head Office at Pity Me, Durham and achieved NVQ Level 2 in customer services. She said: “I think it is great that the company has acknowledged the achievements of the staff in doing their day to day roles. I had a great time at the skills award evening and thought Kriss Akabusi was inspirational. The NVQ itself helped me become more focused in my role.

“I′m looking forward to receiving my photo from the night as I cheekily asked Kriss Akabusi for a kiss!”

Trevor Jobling, aged 50 from Grainger Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, a distribution technician based at Cramlington sewage treatment works, achieved NVQ Level 2 in distribution control. Trevor said: “The skills awards was a nice gesture for a big achievement. It was really good of Northumbrian Water to put on the awards evening as so many other companies would have given out the certificates at work without any fuss.”

Production operator Ian Corner, aged 48, from Houghton Le Spring, who works at Great Lumley water treatment works, Chester le Street, achieved NVQ Level 2 in Operating Process Plant for water production. He said: “The NVQ formalises the work I’ve been doing in water production for the last 17 years.”

Diane Morton, director of human resources at Northumbrian Water, said: “People are Northumbrian Water’s most valuable asset. We rely on the skills and talents of our people, and so it was a pleasure to recognise how proud we are of their achievements.”

For further information please contact Leanne Clough on 0191 301 6733.

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