Twenty months on from becoming unemployed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Northumberland man has landed a brand new career.

Daniel Wegter, aged 24, from Widdrington Station, near Morpeth, has started a new role as a Ranger at Northumbrian Water’s Fontburn Waterside Park.


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The turn in fortunes is the result of the water company offering placements through the Government’s Kickstart scheme. The programme aims to help people aged 16-24 who are at risk of long-term unemployment.


Through Kickstart, Daniel started a placement as a Water Operative at Fontburn Water Treatment Works in May.


However, in his first week, he met two Rangers, who look after the reservoir and surrounding park. That meeting would change the course of his career.


For the last six months, Daniel has worked at the treatment works, as part of the team that helps provide drinking water for customers in Northumberland.


But when the opportunity arose to apply for a job as a Ranger, he jumped at the chance.


He said: “I thoroughly enjoyed it at the treatment works. Everyone was great to work with and they accepted me as part of the team and were very interested in teaching me how to do the job. Very quickly, I learned about the role and was able to carry out the jobs that needed doing.


“I met two of the other Rangers, Will and Steve, in the first couple of days. I found out about what they do and thought ‘what a lovely job’. So, when the opportunity came up, I decided to go for it.


“Before I took up the Kickstart placement with Northumbrian Water, the place where I worked could only keep so many people furloughed. I ended up on the dole.


“The lady who looked after me at the JobCentre told me Northumbrian Water had Kickstart opportunities. I signed up for that, got an interview and ended up at Fontburn.


“It really means the world to me. I could have been back with nothing if it wasn’t for this.”


Erin Price, Head of Talent and Training at Northumbrian Water, said: “Daniel’s really worked hard to get this role as a Ranger. This is an example of what can happen when people grasp opportunities when they arise. The Kickstart scheme opened a door for Daniel. He took the initiative to learn about different parts of the business and it has paid off. We’re really pleased to welcome him into the company.”