Severn Trent’s ambition to help 100,000 people hits first year milestone

Wednesday 22nd November 2023

A year ago to the day, Severn Trent launched its ambitious ten-year plan to help 100,000 people living in the Midlands to reach their potential, while tackling the causes of water poverty.

The water company committed to getting under the skin of the issues that people are facing that lead them to being unemployed or in water poverty, and according to latest stats from ONS, Birmingham currently has the lowest employment rate in the West Midlands at 67.3%* so it’s where the company first focussed its efforts, before then turning to Derby. 

In its first year, Severn Trent has made great progress as it reaches it first milestone and partnered with 14 local schools, eight of them in Birmingham, it’s hosted up to 300 work experience placements for young people from schools in deprived areas in our region. It’s also delivered over 10,000 hours of free employability training in the heart of the communities, ran two jobs' fairs, and provided support through mentoring for eight young men in Brinsford Prison. 

According to Birmingham City Council data, unemployment is still increasing and last month 40 of the 69 wards* that make up Birmingham city saw unemployment increase in one month. To face into this, and to build on its work over the year, Severn Trent has been running free employability training sessions. It includes CV writing, and preparing for interviews, and it’s now encouraging more people to sign up to make use of the free sessions, to help boost employment in the city. 

Naomi 40, had been out of work for four years when she attended one of the employability sessions Severn Trent hosted, she said: “I saw on Facebook that Severn Trent were running a free CV writing workshop, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity for me to go along and update my CV where necessary. Before that, I'd had an email from the NHS following a job I had applied for inviting me to interview. After telling Kofi who was running the session, he said it’d be beneficial to come along to a session on preparing for an interview, so I did.  

“We went over some questions that would come up, practicing answers and it was a big help. I went along to the interview, it went really well, that well in fact I am due to start my new job next month at the NHS. I’m so excited, and the interview prep was a huge help, I really do think without it I wouldn’t have got the job.” 

Severn Trent is now encouraging others like Naomi to come to one of the sessions it has in the city, it’s running four sessions over the next four weeks including the Dolphin Centre in Ward End which is a women's only sessions. 

Maxine Mills, Dolphin Centre Manager in Ward End, Birmingham said: “It’s been really rewarding working with Severn Trent and their employability staff and the feedback has been positive from our students. The staff that have delivered the workshops have been very supportive and helped to make them feel more prepared for getting into work.  

“80% of our students have never worked and most of our women are in the age bracket between 30 – 50, one woman said she never would have thought that a water company did great work like this, to help us get into jobs. I’d also like to say that it has been a pleasure working with the teams, and especially how engaging and supportive they have been to tweak aspects of the workshops to suit the women we work with.” 

Elizabeth Heath, Societal Strategy Lead at Severn Trent: “This year has been an incredible learning experience for us. Already in a short amount of time, we’re seeing the difference our work is making, and it’s fantastic that the people we’re meeting are starting to get jobs or feel ready to apply for work. 

“A programme like this takes time, and while we can help in the short term with people paying their water bill through the many support schemes we have, this is about us getting more to the root of unemployment and working with others to deliver skills and create opportunities that can make a difference. We’d really encourage anyone who’s looking for a bit of support to make use of our sessions, either in person or online or come to one of the jobs fairs, just like what Naomi and others have who now have landed their perfect job.” 

Severn Trent’s sessions in Birmingham and Derby are available to book online at Eventbrite. There are also online sessions for anyone who would prefer to join virtually and Coventry sessions will be added soon.

Earlier this year Severn Trent hosted its first Big Boost for Brum, a jobs fair with a twist as it welcomed over 300 local job seekers the event was half jobs fair and half learning zone as it had employability sessions such as cv workshops, one to one CV support and interview practice using virtual reality headsets. 

It’s now also hosted a jobs fair in Derby, with plans for Coventry as well.

The company is also committed to helping customers who are struggling with their water bill and announced that it expects to maintain having the second lowest bill in the sector and is launching a £550m affordability package. This will support 693,000 customers with their bill, representing financial help for around one in six families in the Midlands.

To sign up to any event Severn Trent is running, visit and search Severn Trent.