British Water and Yorkshire Water: Water industry to address skills and diversity

Lila Thompson, CEO of British Water

During British Water’s ‘Better Together – tackling water industry challenges’ reception, Nicola Shaw, CEO of Yorkshire Water, spoke about the need to attract talent, support existing young professionals and increase diversity of thought and representation across the water industry.

Lila Thompson, CEO of British Water, also chipped in: “The need for diversity of thought and talent has never been more important – and while the sector has made some progress, there is still some way to go.

“If we are to tackle urgent social and environmental challenges, now is the time to retain skilled workers, attract young professionals and promote gender equality and inclusion.

“Reflecting this, British Water has made Better Together open to everyone working in the water and wastewater industry. We hope this will encourage people at every level to network and share ideas.”

While the water sector has seen some impactful initiatives in recent years, women and ethnic minorities are still under-represented across utilities and the supply chain.

In 2018, British Water launched its ongoing Women on Water campaign and in February 2020, set out a series of promises to ensure equality for employees from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and gender balance in recruitment and appointments to the board.

According to British Water, in June 2020, the company signed the Energy & Utilities Skills Inclusion Commitment and in 2021 British Water pledged its support to the Change the Race Ratio campaign to accelerate diversity in business.

Better Together is part of an ongoing effort at British Water to encourage a more dynamic, connected and diverse water sector.

It is also an opportunity to network with members and non-members from across the UK and share more about the transformations happening within the sector as it moves towards the next Asset Management Period – 2025-30.

“The transition towards a more balanced sector where everyone can thrive must urgently accelerate, and British Water is proud to lead the charge through initiatives like our ongoing Women on Water campaign,” concluded Thompson.