The Prudhoe-based manufacturer worked with Arch, The Northumberland Development Company and its Northumberland Business Growth Programme, to secure the funding which has already led to the recruitment of 10 apprentices.
SCA, which is responsible for the Velvet brand of toilet tissues, has now extended its manufacturing apprenticeship scheme.
Ten new first year apprentices between the ages of 16 and 23 have joined the firm from across Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.
The tranche of recruits, the company’s largest apprentice cohort to date, takes SCA’s total apprentice workforce to 41. Trainees are at various stages of the four-year programme which leads them through professional qualifications.
Ian Callender, training officer at SCA, said: “There is a skills shortage in the North East, making vacancies in mechanical and electrical engineering difficult to fill. We also have a high percentage of the workforce nearing retirement.
“In a highly competitive industry like ours with a very experienced workforce, apprentices are vital in enabling us to develop the skills and talent required to take on these roles.
“Our focus is both personal and professional development with genuine career progression. Indeed, many of our lead operators on site today began their careers through the apprenticeship scheme.
“At SCA we aren’t just seeking to fill vacancies, we take a long-term approach to growing, inspiring and training the business and engineering leaders of tomorrow. With help from Arch and the Regional Growth Fund we’ve secured 50% of the funding required to increase the apprenticeship scheme at Prudhoe Mill and develop more young talent in the region.”
SCA has been running its apprenticeship programme since 2004, providing paid education and training to over 100 apprentices in either an operational or technical roles, with the vast majority now employed on site.
Last year the company was named ‘Large Employer of the Year’ at the North East National Apprenticeship Awards 2014 and a Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer in the UK.
Coun Dave Ledger, Arch chair and deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, added: “SCA’s dedicated commitment to ensuring engineering skills are kept alive is great news.
“They have a proud tradition of training young engineers and it has paid dividends for those apprentices who have the skills to forge interesting and highly skilled careers with the business and beyond.”
SCA sells into around 100 countries and manufacturers brands such as TENA and Tork.
The Swedish Group is Europe’s largest private forest owner and employees around 44,000 people globally.