Interruption to Supply - Bishops Stortford - CM23
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Affinity Water Limited
Tamblin Way Hatfield
Hertfordshire AL10 9EZ
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16 June 22
Affinity Water has opened up its doors to its customers by recording a new podcast with its Customer Delivery Team to explain how it plans and responds to both planned and unplanned works across its three regions and the skills needed to pursue a career in the water industry.
Not only will these works help to guarantee it has enough water to meet future demand they will also help to protect rare local chalk streams and offers an opportunity for those interested to take up a role in a sector helping to protect the environment.
With 3.6 million customers the Customer Delivery Team knows how important it is to fix and repair leaks and to respond to incidents quickly while updating customers through the alerts on its website of their Teams progress. They are committed to letting Customers know at the earliest possible opportunity when the supply will be fully tested for water quality and restored.
As well as unplanned works the Customer Delivery Team is also engaged in planned works renewing old pipes on its networks to keep water supplies running and of the highest quality.
The Company plans to invest around £8M in replacing mains proactively from 2020 to 2025. It will also be investing in innovative technology to drive down leakage, with an aim to have reduced leakage by 20% by 2025.
In the #podcast we travel to the Stevenage Office and attend a planned repair in the County which began as an unplanned incident offering an opportunity to upgrade and renew the network of pipes.
We talk to the Customer Delivery Team as they go about their work as pictured here: Rob King, Regional Operations Manager; Phil Adams, Business Lead North; Leon Chandler, Customer Service Technician; Martin Body; Network Manager; Alex Hayton Head of Operations; Tom Stoten, Regional Operations Manager.
As Phil explains the Stevenage Office otherwise known as the Broomin Green site, is home to a sampling centre, a water quality team, the network team with field technicians, a leakage team and a planning team. It also houses significant production teams and assets. The assets include a borehole supplying water to parts of Stevenage which dates from 1934, as well as a treatment works.
Phil elaborated: “We have an excellent water quality and sampling team here at Stevenage, but also all of our water quality teams across our three regions are conscious of water quality and maintaining the very highest standard of water quality at all times. We deal with planned and unplanned issues, we deal with emergencies and burst mains. And we assist customers with poor pressure and locating stop taps. There is a very broad variety of activities that we participate in”. ”.
He explained how like other members of his team he climbed the career ladder at Affinity Water who as he progressed sponsored him to participate in a joint management training venture between Veolia Training and Kingston University that culminated in a graduation day at London’s Barbican Centre: “I have been with Affinity Water for 35 years. I started as an apprentice as a trainee inspector, and I have worked in various areas across the business. I have been very fortunate, and I am now the Business Lead for the Northern Region. I have a great team around me, and all the guys around me are super, so I feel very lucky.”
Alex also emphasises the importance of team working and has also risen up the career ladder and has been with Affinity Water for 15 years while Rob has worked for the Company for 26 years and Tom for 3 years and Leon for 13 years.
It’s that broad range of work that team members find rewarding as they go about their respective roles.
Alex said: “It is great to see the Team are dealing with an incident like this as business as usual. This was an unplanned work, and then it developed into a planned work to stop future issues arising. I have been with Affinity Water for 15 years and in the industry for 20 years.
Through all of the training Affinity Water provides I have progressed my career to now being a Head of. It is motivating to see the experience and the commitment from the Team who want to do it. With everything we do the customer is at the heart of what we do, while making sure our Teams are safe as they go about their work. We have thousands of years of experience in our Teams, and we all work together.
“What customers don’t see, is the huge amount of work that goes into what we do in the background. We have to investigate how we can best resolve an issue or a repair and also how to get the water back on quickly. We work very closely with the internal coms team to update them so they can tell customers what is happening through our Alerts on our website.
“We are key workers, and Covid19 was difficult, but we are a key service we have to continue working and we did work 24/7 during Covid. We are here to ensure our customers have a continuous service of high quality drinking water”.
Rob said: “I’ve moved all over the Affinity Water company which is a good thing for getting experience. The training the Company gives you is very good, and we do e-learning, and it is the experience you gain from working with others. We have to evolve with our customers. We have structures in place to make even an unplanned event manageable. The Teams and our network desk help us 24/7. You think you have everything covered, then someone will suggest something else, and that is the good thing, the fact others are thinking how to help us.”
Tom said: “We have dug about a 1.2 metre hole and put fencing up to make sure it’s safe. It’s been in the planning for a couple of weeks and will be done by Friday. My Dad was in the water industry, and I have been with Affinity Water for three years, and I really enjoy it. I started off digging, then I became a network technician, now I am a Regional Operations Manager. I’ve always been involved in Peer-to-Peer learning. Unplanned works are a lot of pressure but most of the time we come out on top. Teamwork is everything, I love working with my colleagues all the time. Every day and every job are different. It is always about thinking and problem solving. I love it.”
Leon said: “It’s a very good team to work in, everybody chips in and helps out. No two days are the same. You need all the water hygiene qualifications. No jobs are the same each one brings focus on a different task. We deal with things very quickly and help each other out where we can. It’s a good industry to be in I would recommend it to others.”
Rachael Hollings People Director with Affinity Water said: “As the UK’s largest Water only company we are committed to taking care of the Environment and working with our customers and their communities. As we celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Affinity Water this summer we wanted to let people know about the wide variety of careers we have on offer and how rewarding the work is for our employees. There are roles in everything, from finance and legal to engineering and science to customer service and operations, digital and transformation and much else in between.
“As a water Company our history dates back for over 150 years, and throughout change has come about through team working and innovations that have improved water quality and supply to our communities. You’ve only got to listen to the podcast to hear what commitment our teams show every day of the week.”
The podcast can be downloaded and listened to here:
You can find out more about careers with Affinity Water here: affinitywatercareers.co.uk/
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