Engineers and scientists are among water workers who are teaming up with education specialists to support home learning by taking part in video chats about careers.

Employees from Northumbrian Water are part of a first of its kind programme being led by the Education Development Trust and set up to fill the gap left by work experience programmes cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Youngsters from across the North East, as well as London and the South West have been joining in the sessions using the Zoom app.

The sessions were established with the aim of giving students the opportunity to interact and engage with employers from various industries to give valuable insights that support career choices.

Richard Warneford, Northumbrian Water’s Wastewater Director, was one of the first to take part.

He said: “Under normal circumstances, we offer a wide range of programmes for young people to gain valuable work experience and learn about the fantastic opportunities for employment in the water industry, through our NWG Academy.

“The session I took part in was a great way to engage with young people at a time when physically welcoming them into our business simply isn’t possible, and this is a brilliant example of people thinking differently at a time when we are all having to be more innovative in how we do things.

“I have a background in engineering, business management and leadership, but we also have scientists, project managers and colleagues with skills sets including training and learning development, communications and finance, environmentalism, mathematicians and more, all ready to take part and, hopefully, inspire some young people to work towards a career in our sector.”

Mark De Backer, IAG Commercial Manager, Education Development Trust said: “Education Development Trust understand how important experiences of the world of work are for inspiring, motivating and informing young people about their future careers. This is even more important in the current climate given uncertainties in the labour market following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are grateful that Northumbrian Water and a number of other employers have accepted the challenge to trial new ways of delivering employer experiences where physical placements are currently unable to occur. We hope this can be developed further in the future to consider other online touchpoints, further enabling young people to develop their soft skills and awareness of career options’.

If you would like to find out more about the Virtual Employer Encounters please contact the Education Development Trust at either:

workexperience@educationdevelopmenttrust.com or 0118 902 1853