Coventry set to benefit from Severn Trent’s plans to help 100,000 people out of poverty and into work

Tuesday 24th October 2023

Severn Trent has announced its bringing plans to help 100,000 people living in the Midlands into work and out of poverty by 2030, to Coventry.

The company, that’s headquarters is based in Coventry City Centre, has kicked off an ambitious ten-year plan where it’s been running successfully in Derby and East Birmingham over the last year.

Now, it’s committed to provide free, accessible employability skills training, work experience placements for young people and opportunities to help people in Coventry reach their full potential, while preventing falling into water poverty.

Focussing on the Henley Green and Foleshill areas of the city first, Severn Trent say collaboration with others is key, as it looks to partner and collaborate with other local businesses, organisations and groups to reach more people to boost opportunities in the city. 

A permanent location in the city is also in the making, as the company is exploring locations to create a ‘community hub’ – giving people access to free training and support in the heart of the city.

As well as delivering thousands of hours of free accessible employability training in the community, a big focus for the company will be going into local schools delivering employability sessions and CV writing workshops and offering 500 work experience placements a year across the Midlands.

Eye opening research shows that young people who had higher employer engagement, like undertaking work experience, are 86%* less likely to end up not in education, employment or training (NEET) so Severn Trent’s opened its doors to welcome young Coventry students from low-socioeconomic areas to provide meaningful work opportunities.

Warwickshire Born and bred Paul Evans, who works at Severn Trent as its Community and Education Lead says, “With us being a big employer in the city, Coventry is home not only to hundreds of our colleagues, but thousands of our customers – so we absolutely want to help drive positive change in its communities. Being from Coventry, I also know that there’s lots of potential here and untapped talent right on our doorstep, and I know what great things can be done when the city comes together like we did for the City of Culture. That’s why we want to work closely with our communities and understand their needs, as well as other organisations to help tackle some of the underlying causes of poverty, and help make sure everyone has the same opportunities that could transform lives across the city.”

To kick things off, Severn Trent recently hosted a rallying call in the City Centre, bringing together some of the city’s key groups and businesses such as both Coventry and Warwick University, Business in the Community and local councillors to get them engaged and think about how they can support its plans and ambitions for the city.

Heather Black, Coventry Strategic Partnerships Manager at Business in the Community, who was the event said: “It is great to hear about Severn Trent’s commitment to help lift people out of poverty in the city. Their presence in Coventry gives a potential to make a change in many peoples’ lives, particularly those in areas such as Foleshill, where deprivation levels are very high. I look forward to collaborating on their ambitions to bring about change for communities here and to support equality across the city.”

Paul adds: “Our ambition is simple, to help those in Coventry who may not have access to training or skills, or who’s child’s school may not be connected with employers like ours.

“We’ve got some great learnings from our work in Birmingham and Derby and now want to apply it Coventry so we can supercharge our efforts. We’ll help break down barriers so everyone has the same opportunity, that will see more skills, people in work and no longer at risk of, or in poverty.

“So while we’ll do a bulk of the work with our own teams, we know there’s others in the City who can massively play a part in our ambition for Coventry.” 

According to research by the Good Jobs Project*, Coventry’s employment rate is 70.8% lower than the national average of 75.4%.

Coventry Councils website data also suggests that 23% of children currently live in low-income families, compared to 19% nationally.*

Severn Trent’s plans for Coventry comes after it recently announced 7,000 new jobs for the Midlands.