The water industry is attempting to slow a recruitment crisis following a warning from its skills sector council, Personneltoday.com reports.
Water companies are working with schoolchildren, the Armed Forces, eastern Europeans and ex-offenders in a bid to increase skill levels among potential employees, after Energy and Utility Skills (EUS) highlighted the need for a "fundamental realignment" of recruitment.
As part of the drive, schoolchildren as young as 14 have the opportunity to spend one day a week undertake apprenticeships. If they pass they receive a City & Guilds qualification although they have to drop three GCSE subjects to do so.
The EUS has warned that in an industry where the workforce is ageing, alternative recruitment methods should be sought as a way to cope with the inevitable loss of skilled professionals.
David Hellier, EUS strategy manager, told Personneltoday: "We have identified key strands for recruitment, and employers have to embrace them and commit to a collaborative approach.
"We go along to children's GCSE option evenings, run presentations and hold interviews. It raises the profile of the industry - we have had positive results."
Within the water industry approximately one-third of jobs are classed as high skill, higher than the UK average of 23 per cent.