A County Durham woman has found a stepping stone in the water industry to help her regain skills, confidence and experience that will support her journey back into employment.

Gail Steel attended the two-week programme, which Northumbrian Water ran in conjunction with return-to-work training specialists JobSkilla, having been out of work for a year, following 22 years with the People′s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), where she had been a Contact Centre Operations Manager.


Now, she is working with Northumbrian Water on a three month placement, supporting a number of departments, including Data Protection and Information Services, following a process supported by the company′s NWG Academy team, which promotes routes to employment.


The company ran the course, having been introduced to JobSkilla through its relationship with telecoms company o2, and it was attended by 25 people. Eight of those, who were seen to have high potential, were interviewed for a placement, and Gail, from Ludworth, was the successful candidate.


The JobSkilla programmes help people to reconnect with skills that they haven′t used for a long time and give support in areas such as customer service and job applications. They also help by providing hardware, such as laptops, to help with applications.


Gail said: "I′m already finding that my confidence is coming back and I am using my skills again, so a return to employment doesn′t feel daunting - it′s exciting. It′s been great to be selected by Northumbrian Water to do this placement and the work supporting the business has been really interesting, putting me in contact with a wide range of people in different roles. This is really going to help me in the future."


Martin Jackson, Head of Strategy and Enterprise Architecture, at Northumbrian Water, said: "The JobSkilla programme is a great opportunity to support people in their journey back to employment. Those who attend the courses come from a wide range of backgrounds and they each have their own unique story.


"Clearly, Gail has a lot of experience from more than two decades with the PDSA and those skills have been really useful in her time with Northumbrian Water, so we are sure she has a bright future ahead of her."