SCA Hygiene Products UK is celebrating National Apprenticeship Week with the appointment of 13 new apprentices on-site at its Paper Mill in Prudhoe, Northumberland.
Since the official launch of SCA’s Apprenticeship programme in 2004, the company has helped over 70 apprentices to train in either an operations (process) role or technical role, with the vast majority now employed on-site. Ian Callender, operations trainer at SCA, said: “Here at SCA, we’ve operated our successful Apprenticeship programme for a number of years and this new cohort brings the total number of apprentices on-site to 33.
“We’re thrilled to be celebrating National Apprenticeship Week as, in an industry such as ours, it is vital that we continue to pass on our manufacturing knowledge to people who will help to take our company forward well into the future.”
The new appointments come as unemployment across the UK is reported to have risen to 2.69 million with a record number of young people aged 16-24 out of work (standing at 1.043 million). ** Source: Office for National Statistics http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/january-2012/statistical-bulletin.html
Ian added: “These stark figures highlight the need for employers across the UK to commit to providing young people with opportunities to gain new skills in the workplace and carve a career path for the future.”
Sue Price, director for Apprenticeships in the Northern Division of the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), said: “We’re thrilled that SCA Hygiene is supporting National Apprenticeship Week and continues to grow its strong apprenticeship offering for the benefit of the local economy and community.
“The company has shown a dedication once again to up-skilling young people in the region, providing them not only the tools to build a successful career for themselves, but also to develop their confidence and aspirations for the future!”
This year, the structure of the apprentice programme at SCA has been refreshed to ensure it is continues to meet the needs of trainees and helps to unearth future manufacturing leaders.
Previously, apprentices at SCA were employed on either a two year operations (process) or four year technical Apprenticeship. All apprentices will now train for the first two years on the same technical pathway, after which time, some will go to work in different roles on-site and others will continue to train as a technical apprentice for a further two years, eventually gaining a Multi Skilled Engineering Foundation Degree.
One of the new apprentices is James Arkless, aged 18 from Blyth. James, a former Blyth Community College pupil, applied for a position in the apprentice programme at SCA after studying for a Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) in Engineering at Sixth Form.
He said: “I knew I wanted to do something ‘hands-on’ for a career and SCA’s Apprenticeship programme has a great reputation so I thought it was the perfect fit.
“My parents and I came to Prudhoe to have a tour of the Paper Mill and were impressed by the scale of the site. I think they’re very happy I’m working towards a career and that I’m being looked after so well by the staff here.”
Also joining the team is Clayton Jenkinson, aged 17 from Prudhoe. The former Prudhoe Community High pupil had already taken part in work experience at SCA when still at school before applying for the programme. Clayton’s father, Neil is also works at the Mill in Site Services.
Clayton said: “After studying Electronics at GCSE level, I wanted to go into engineering or operations. The work experience I took part in really whet my appetite for this type of career so I was keen to apply when the opportunity came up.
“I would certainly recommend looking into an Apprenticeship; it’s really rewarding and gives you great skills to build on. Everyone at Prudhoe Mill is very friendly and our supervisors have been on-hand to answer questions and guide us through the induction process. There’s a lot to learn in this role but it’s going really well!”
All apprentices will receive training support from Training and Development Resource (TDR) Ltd and Tyne Metropolitan College.
The group will work towards achieving a Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) based on Electrics, Level 3 Diploma in Engineering Maintenance and BTEC in Manufacturing Operations.
Applications are now open for the September 2012 cohort of apprentices at SCA.
To apply please send a covering letter and CV to Ian Callender at SCA, Prudhoe Mill, Princess Way, Prudhoe, Northumberland, NE42 6HE.