General Leadership Graduate Programme

Thames Water General Leadership Graduate Programme

Our general leadership graduates get the chance to make a real impact on people’s lives on a daily basis. We have opportunities in our operational, customer and business teams.

What is the General Leadership Graduate Programme?

Are you interested in driving business performance and delivering an essential service to 15 million customers?

Our general leadership graduates get the chance to make a real impact on people’s lives on a daily basis. You’ll do this through your role and wherever you are in our business, you’ll learn and develop your skills to shape your career as a future leader at Thames Water. We have opportunities in our operational, customer and business teams.

You could start at one of our water or sewage treatment works, operational sites, customer contact centres or offices in a variety of teams that deliver our operational, retail, customer, corporate and regulatory activity. Your base will change dependent on your on-the-job role placements and career path as you progress.  Therefore, we look for graduates who can be flexible and our operating area runs from East London, throughout the Thames Valley to Swindon, with our head office in Reading.

What could you be doing as a General Leadership Graduate?

Our operational teams manage our water and wastewater networks, treatment, operational sites and frontline operational service delivery.  They look after our sites, equipment, people and customers on a daily basis.  As well as this, they also drive a variety of projects and programmes to continuously develop what we do and drive efficiency and service.  You could be based on one of our operational sites, and be responsible for leading and developing our front line teams to deliver excellent customer service and operational performance. Between the office and the field you’ll provide direct support, engagement and performance management both to the team as a whole and on a 1-to-1 basis. Alternatively you may be carrying out a project to increase efficiency, improve a process or implement a new initiative.

In our customer teams you’ll be based at one of our customer operations centres in Reading, Slough or Swindon, monitoring our customer incentive mechanisms, managing a team ensuring they are achieving excellent outcomes for our customers. You may also be delivering strategic projects to improve our customer service.

Alternatively, you may start in one of our business teams that’s all about optimising value for our customers and our business. You’ll be providing support, analysis and insight into a wide range of topics as we prepare our company business plans, prepare for the regulatory price review, and develop our longer term strategic direction. This will involve effective engagement with our regulators, customers and business teams. 

In each area you will have on-the-job role placements with responsibility that grows as you grow; working on projects and in teams that will drive the success of our business. We will look at your strengths and qualifications throughout the whole recruitment process and place you into the area we think you will best succeed.

What can you expect from the General Leadership Graduate Programme?

All our graduates complete an 18 month core graduate development programme, supported by two on-the-job role placements and additional training and development based on your business area and role. Throughout, you’ll have support from the managers and mentors in your business area.  The programme has been designed around you to make sure you have the opportunity to maximise your potential.  It has several elements that support you start confidently in our business and develop your knowledge, skills and experience to succeed.  You’ll be joining a network of graduates already in our business and will have all the support you need from day one.  We review our programme each year, with core elements including:

  • Company induction
  • Health and safety training
  • Coaching and buddy support
  • On-the-job role placements
  • Business and personal development modules
  • Management development
  • WaterAid charity business challenge
  • Technical and professional development
  • Off-boarding event

Life after the Graduate Programme

Our general leadership graduates have careers as unique as they are and you’ll find them in a variety of roles across our business, including senior leadership roles.  Wherever you start in our business will give you a good grounding to develop and shape your career.  You will work towards leading our operational front line teams or managing project teams.  You may lead key projects or initiatives to improve our business too.  After successfully completing our graduate development programme, our graduates have landed in roles leading frontline teams, as business analysts, programme managers, and more!

What kind of graduate are we looking for?

How we go about things and our values are important to us, as well as a genuine interest in what we do and our customers.  We are a diverse business and are looking for self-driven graduates who are confident stepping into new environments, adding value and whose values reflect ours:

  • Reach higher, be better
  • Take care
  • Passionate about everything we do
  • Be respectful and value everyone
  • Be proud, be blue


If you have a minimum of a 2:2 expected or achieved degree and an appetite to shape your future, please apply today.

We have a variety of placements in our General Leadership programme, from the analytical to the more creative, so we’re interested in any STEM, water/waste or more creative type degrees. 

Remember to mention TARGETjobs when contacting employers!