Posted - 24 October 2022

Hydro International’s UK Wastewater Services apprenticeship scheme crafts the next generation of inlet works experts

Hydro International’s industry-leading UK Wastewater Services team, M&N, is working to provide best-in-class engineers through its innovative apprenticeship scheme. As avid supporters of work-based learning and skill development, the team reflects on the training delivered by its team of experts, and the progression of its three current apprentices, who joined in September 2021.

The apprenticeship programme harnesses the next generation of inlet works engineers, providing on-site training and hands-on work experience in mechanical and electrical engineering with the industry’s leading wastewater products and services. The apprentices are integral to the team’s mission to provide the highest quality services to the water industry, and after their first year, are already making significant contributions to the sector.

Reef Butler and Sidney Swingler joined the Portland team and have been studying a Level 2 Diploma in Performing Engineering Operations at Weymouth College, alongside working with the UK Wastewater Services team’s specialist qualified engineers.

With 10 months under their belts, Reef and Sidney reflect on their apprenticeship highlights, including site trips around the country, extensive hands-on experience from the team in the workshop, and achieving industry regulatory standards in specialised engineering practises and certifications for industrial equipment use.

Actively involved in multiple projects with experienced team members working to the highest standards, Reef comments on his breadth of experience comparative to college peers, with Sidney highlighting the vast number of opportunities the pair have been presented with. He says, “The engineering training on-site and in the workshop with Gary are so important for our understanding, identifying first-hand the components of the role by the experts themselves.” Sidney comments, “The mix of theoretical studying and practical training makes it seamless to combine and apply knowledge and skills in a working situation.”

 Sidney SwinglerPortland apprentices, Reef Butler (left) and Sidney Swingler (right)

Gary Curtis, Workshop Manager in Portland, has been supervising Reef and Sidney, creating and delivering an in-depth schedule for their tailored and specialist learning. The programme, designed by Gary and his team of experts, covers a broad range of engineering competencies, including PPE and Health & Safety in the workplace, moving plant, and lifting operations, controlling COSH, applied mathematics, training to use a lathe and milling machine, competency in bench activities such as sawing, cutting, filing, pipe fitting, measuring equipment, drilling, and welding.

Gary discusses mentoring the apprentices, “As part of their learning and development, the apprentices have been gaining valuable knowledge by working alongside our experienced engineers in the workshop and are now producing professional quality work. Many of the team have commented on their determination and commitment to their learning and have further supported their development on the workshop floor.

“Reef and Sidney have aspirations to continue their learning with our team to a higher level on completion of their college course. It is a testament to their ongoing drive to develop their range of skills and they are both an integral part of the UK Wastewater Services team here in Portland.”

The third apprentice, Travis Kelting, who has also been with the team for a year, is based at the Dumfries office and is working toward an SVQ in Electrical Installation at SCQF Level 7 at Dumfries & Galloway College, after already completing his qualification as a Maintenance Engineer. Travis had a good foundation of engineering skills from his previous role in the Navy and is working as a multi-disciplinary apprentice, learning both mechanical and electrical engineering. The varied work combined with many engineering skills and disciplines, was a particular draw for Travis in choosing this apprenticeship, coupled with the many opportunities for working on site around Scotland.

Travis explains, “I have a real interest in engineering. The technical element is really fascinating and the training in the Dumfries office offers me a range of industrial experience, which I really enjoy and hope to keep progressing in the future. I love the hands-on experience, and the qualifications I have gained are globally recognised, so I’d definitely recommend an apprenticeship with Hydro International.”

Dumfries apprentice, Travis Kelting working on site Dumfries apprentice, Travis Kelting working on site.

Paul Philips, Mechanical Supervisor in Dumfries, works closely with Travis throughout his apprenticeship. He comments on Travis’ progress, saying, “The varied work we do here makes for a bespoke apprenticeship, aligned to the professional goals and skills of the apprentice. The whole team has trust in him to deliver on a variety of responsibilities, with confidence in his abilities spanning across all disciplines in the role. It is important that our apprentices are consistently working to the standard of a qualified mechanical engineer.”

Lee Haugh, Operations Manager in Dumfries, also supports the apprenticeship programme. He says, “The course and on-site learning teaches the apprentices common and job-specific skills and knowledge that can be transferred across both the manufacturing and electrical engineering industry sectors, from small-scale maintenance work to large work sites. Travis’ performance has been very impressive, with his on-site learning making him capable of working to the highest industry standards. Our apprentices are involved in the key services we offer, including equipment refurbishment, repair, servicing, and maintenance.”

After completing his Maintenance Engineering qualification, in his second year as an apprentice, Travis is now studying toward a Modern Apprenticeship in Electrical Installation, designed to equip future engineers with a fully accredited standard.

The apprenticeship programme contributes to the fostering of workplace learning in the sector and Hydro International’s UK Wastewater Services team’s ambition is to develop and support future inlet works experts.

Providing vital expertise to wastewater treatment plant owners and operators, the team and its apprentices strive to supply robust and cost-effective equipment solutions to support the Water Industry. Working on projects with water companies to improve operational efficiencies and extend the lifetimes of key treatment assets, the apprentices are helping to achieve regulated industry standards such as Water Industry National Environment Programme (WINEP). The apprentices continue to provide support to the water industry with expertise in extending equipment lifetimes, avoiding costly emergency expenditures, and reducing TOTEX costs.

Watch the video below to hear from our current mechanical and electrical apprentices at our hub in Portland, Dorset, UK:


If you would like to learn more about our apprenticeship programmes or want to keep up to date with job opportunities at Hydro International UK Wastewater Services, visit our jobs page:


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