Water is something that we use every single day and I think it’s taken for granted. People wouldn’t be able to live without it. But it’s also chemistry as a whole people take for granted, how much of a role that plays in every day everyday life.

My name is Joseph Goodwin, I work at Thames Water. I work as a higher degree apprentice. I’m a laboratory analyst. I’m surrounded by a whole team of analysts as well.  We all do different tests on water to make sure that there’re no impurities in the water so that we can provide a clean water service.

Salary range and qualifications required 

  • Minimum qualification for the role: For the apprenticeship scheme you will need three A-levels with a minimum of a C grade in chemistry or biology and five GCSEs grade 4 and above. To go straight into a role as lab analyst, you will need an undergraduate degree and be eligible for RSC membership.
  • Salary range:  £20,000 to £28,500

Everyday I come in and I get all the water samples and distribute them into the different tests that are required and I prep all my things ready for the batch and then I’ll run the water samples. These samples that we are checking are routine checks that we do all the time just to make sure the water is safe. 

I’m working towards a chemistry degree that goes well with my job. I get to do the practical aspect here and then the theoretical aspect at university and I also get on the job training whilst getting paid to do this.

Whilst I was studying at college there was a national apprenticeship scheme which I found out through my own external research. I went there and spoke to some Thames Water people and I was like, “this is what I want to do”, because it means I get to work in a lab and do chemistry and do the practical aspect of it and then also go to university and study so I get to further my education while I’m working.

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We have a scheme called the poo power scheme which is where our over 300 treatment works treat sludge and final effluent to convert that into renewable energy, electricity for all of us which is a massive environmental factor. It reduces how much waste we put out.

If you want to consider a career in chemistry, think about a degree apprenticeship. It’s much more hands-on and it helps you understand what you’re doing and understand the chemistry you may already know. I talk to my friends quite a lot about the work that I do and providing water to the thousands of people across the UK and how I make a difference and they think that’s very cool. 

Chemistry makes me appreciate everyday life and what we take for granted and here at Thames Water we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without chemistry.  

Want to know more?

  • Look for local companies that offer work experience  or work shadowing. Thames Water  has a graduate and an apprenticeship scheme.
  • Talk to your chemistry teacher and career adviser at school or watch science videos on YouTube.
  • Explore your study options  in chemistry.

First published 2020