Anne Newton - Costing & Data Modelling Analyst, Yorkshire Water
Anne Newton's career path has taken her in many directions. After A Levels she studied for a BSc (Hons) Chemical & Pharmaceutical Science. During her final year undergraduate project, Anne investigated the chemical differences between bottled and tap waters, so became interested in the water industry through that work; this influenced a decision to gain an MSc Water Treatment Process Engineering, where she carried out research for Severn Trent Water. Anne is now on the Yorkshire Water leadership programme, designed to develop women in technical roles.
What do you do and where do you do it?
I am a Costing & Data Modelling Analyst within Asset Management at Yorkshire Water since 2015, based in central Leeds.
Why is your role important? Why is it important to the company/ the people of the UK/ the UK economy?
My work is at the leading edge of the Company, securing funding for the future investment programme by embedding a robust costing methodology and calculation of carbon footprint, to meet the requirements of industry regulators. From a scientific and engineering perspective, I can influence the choice of assets to ensure the best long-term solution to give best value for money and service for our customers.
Which parts of the job do you enjoy most/ find most rewarding?
I capture financial and engineering data from completed projects to create statistically based cost and carbon models. I then deploy these to build up a final figure and so facilitate multi-million capital schemes in delivery, which can take time, but satisfying when construction work starts on site and when the schemes are finally completed knowing that the long-term future of assets in the industry are secure.
"When construction work starts on site and when the schemes are finally completed I have the satisfaction of knowing that the long-term future of assets in the industry are secure."
What path did you use to get to the position you hold today?
A levels and full-time university, as I hold BSc (Hons) Chemical & Pharmaceutical Science, which included a year long industrial placement in a research laboratory. I later went to study full time at a different university and gained MSc Water Treatment Process Engineering, where I carried out research for Severn Trent Water.
What did you do before current role?
I was a graduate research chemist in the pharmaceutical industry, working on novel cancer treatments. After my Master’s course, I worked as a clean water microbiologist for a few years then took a 20-year career break from a full time technical role.
" During my career break, I did various jobs to fit around my family including evenings in a call centre, voluntary work in community, then 12 years as a School Business Manager."
What attracted you to join the energy and utilities sector?
During my final year undergraduate project, I investigated the chemical differences between bottled and tap waters, so became interested in the water industry through that work. I saw an advert for the Master’s course in a Chemistry journal, which was a great experience and Cranfield University is still recognised across the water industry as a leader in research.
What about your current position? What motivates you?
It is a professional role where my expertise is valued and recognised. It is intellectually challenging, and I enjoy working with people with varied experience from different disciplines to my own.
What do you think of the career prospects? Have you had much training and development?
I was fortunate to be selected as one of only ten colleagues in the first cohort of a leadership programme designed to develop women in technical roles. This certainly helped my confidence, build strong internal and external networks and members of the original group continue to provide professional support to each other. I have also taken advantage of membership of the Institute of Water, such as listening to webinars, attending technical events and working with an external mentor. I am keen to share what I have learned with younger colleagues and try to support them in the workplace.
"I feel that I can influence decisions to ensure that high quality drinking water is supplied; wastewater is treated to correct standards and the environment is protected. The workload is varied as I work on so many different projects."
What does an average day consist of?
I am based in a large open plan office where most of my immediate colleagues also work. I attend meetings there or at our Head Office in Bradford and sometimes work from an operational site near my home. I have followed some projects through the construction phase, so occasionally visit sites.
Would you recommend your job to a friend and why?
It is a great place to be, at the heart of the capital investment programme, overseeing all types of projects from reservoirs, clean water treatment works, supply network, sewerage system, wastewater treatment works to sludge treatment and energy generation facilities. Many different skills and knowledge are required, so constantly learning. I also benefit from flexible working arrangements and supportive colleagues.
Employers in the energy and utilities sector are committed to a culture of workplace inclusion and diversity. Find out more about working for Yorkshire Water ,and read other inspirational Stories from our those working in our sector. If you're thinking about applying for a role, visit our Current Vacancies page.
Maybe you’re working in an adjacent area or coming back to work after a career break? Whether you want to return to the industry, or you’re looking for a new direction where you can use your existing expertise, there’s an opportunity here for you.