A North East man has been named the Water Industry’s Skills Champion for 2021 after helping to shape training that will support thousands of people across the country and ensure key services continue to be delivered by highly-trained teams.

Aleck Bruce, from Darlington, received the accolade from the Institute of Water, an organisation which supports the careers of people within the industry, and Energy & Utility Skills, which backs skills development across the wider sector.

A Training and Competence Specialist at Northumbrian Water, Aleck was recognised for having played a key role in developing a wide range of industry training standards, including those that shape Apprenticeships and also safety procedures.

Aleck chaired the UK committee which implemented the e-version of the industry’s National Water Hygiene Card, and was part of the Industry Hygiene Best Practice Group, which guides the work of water companies and suppliers.

He has also chaired a group involved in producing the new Apprenticeship standards for water production and network operation for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. These will help to ensure those striving to work in the industry, or who are using Apprenticeships to update their skills, receive training that meets the highest and most up to date standards.

Additionally, Aleck chairs the industry-wide Water Assurance Assessment Panel, and regularly sits on the apprentice final decision panels as an industry expert.

He said: “It’s vital that the people who work in our sector are trained to the best possible standards, whether they have just started their careers or have been in the industry for 30 years.

“It’s a privilege to play such an active role in helping to shape training that will not only enable this, but which will help keep people safe while delivering the essential services we provide.

“I’m honoured to have been recognised by the Institute of Water and EU Skills in this way.”

Erin Price, Northumbrian Water’s Head of Talent and Training, added: “We’re really proud of the work Aleck does, not only within Northumbrian Water but for the industry as a whole. It’s vital work that goes on behind the scenes, but makes such an impact on the successful delivery of water and wastewater services across the whole of the UK, and the award is really well deserved.”