Joe Barnes is the latest new addition to the Aqua Group team, joining as an Apprentice Service Engineer through the Government’s Transfer to Transform scheme.

Based in Crewe, Joe will work alongside Aqua Engineer Alan Carter, visiting sites, meeting & supporting customers and gaining a hands-on understanding of the day to day world of a refrigeration engineer. In addition, Joe will study for his Level 3 Refrigeration & Air Conditioning (RAC) qualification at Dudley College. The course will cover theoretical and practical training on different applications and the principles and practices behind them.

Aqua worked with The Solent Apprenticeship Hub to recruit Joe as part of the Transfer to Transform initiative. The scheme uses unspent levy from large companies to support SME businesses to train and upskill apprenticeships. Jodi Fair, Manager, Solent Apprenticeship Hub Manager, explains, “Transfer to Transform offers the perfect opportunity to cut the cost of apprenticeship training entirely for SME’s in the region – we are so pleased that businesses such as Aqua have seized the opportunity. Many of the businesses we have worked with said that introducing an apprentice into the business gives the workforce a fresh perspective, motivates the rest of the team and improves the overall productivity of the staff. Utilising apprenticeships can be revolutionary for businesses.”

Rebecca Ogburn, Aqua Group’s HR Manager adds, “We’re delighted to have Joe on board. Apprenticeships are such an important factor in developing talent and nurturing a skilled and qualified workforce and I’m so pleased that Aqua have been able to participate in the TTT initiative with fantastic support from the Solent Apprenticeship Hub.”

Aqua was delighted to sponsor this year’s Fareham Apprenticeship and Jobs Fair, organised by local Member of Parliament Suella Fernandes and held at the town’s Ferneham Hall.

Suella said:“There is so much talent right here in Fareham, with innovating and ambitious businesses like Aqua based locally. It’s great that they’re giving something back to local people, equipping them with vital skills for work through their apprenticeship programmes, and I’m proud to be involved.”

Aqua is expanding rapidly. The company opened a second Segensworth office at the end of last year and is looking to recruit apprentices to fill engineering, sales and administrative roles.

Simon Davis, Aqua Director, said:“We are proud of our continued growth and success and pleased to be investing in the future through these apprenticeships. An apprenticeship with Aqua is more than a training scheme and we hope that the successful candidates will view their roles as stepping stones to life-long careers with us.”

Aqua has previously recruited apprentices who have been offered full time permanent design and sales positions at the end of their training.

Natalee Hunt, a full-time accounts assistant at Aqua, said:“It is an honour to represent Aqua at this event, which is a great opportunity for students and job-seekers to meet a variety of potential employers. Aqua is a great place to work.”

Natalee received sponsorship and support from Aqua whilst attending evening courses at Fareham College to complete her Level 4 Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) examinations. She attained her diploma in accounting and bookkeeping last year and has earned membership of the AAT.

Aqua spoke to more than 40 hopeful candidates at the event, the second of its kind run by the Fareham MP. Last year’s event was held at Fareham College.

This year Aqua joined companies such as SAAB and BAE Systems to meet educational institutions including Fareham College, Highbury College and Southampton Solent University.