SCA partners with Gateshead College for the training of 41 apprentices

Cultivating young manufacturing talent is crucial to workforce development, says SCA training officer Ian Callender

www.crestphotography.co.uk From left, SCA training officer Ian Callender, Barbara Wilson from Gateshead College and apprentice Callum Young
From left, SCA training officer Ian Callender, Barbara Wilson from Gateshead College and apprentice Callum Young

SCA in Prudhoe, which manufactures the Velvet brand of toilet tissue, has revamped its apprenticeship scheme and announced a new training partner.

Gateshead College will deliver training for 41 apprentices at the business this year - the firm’s largest cohort to date, with trainees at various stages of a four-year apprenticeship programme.

The training scheme is composed of a combination of practical workshops and classroom-based theory sessions designed to blend workplace learning and industry masterclasses.

On completion, apprentices achieve industry-recognised qualifications in manufacturing and electrical engineering, with the opportunity to pursue higher education qualifications, also funded by SCA.

Ian Callender, the company’s training officer, said: “In a highly competitive industry like ours with a very experienced team, cultivating young manufacturing talent is key to our workforce development plans.

“Following the decision to increase apprentice recruitment levels, we reviewed the theoretical and work-based training elements to ensure they were fully aligned to the needs of the business going forward.

“We are delighted to appoint Gateshead College as our training and assessment provider.

“They have a great deal of experience in the sector.

“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 to develop more young talent in the region.

“Indeed, many of our lead operators on site today began their careers through the apprenticeship scheme.”

Since the programme’s launch in 2004, SCA has provided paid education and training to over 100 apprentices in either 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 and was listed as a Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer in the UK.

Those currently undertaking training at the business are aged between 16 and 23 and hail from across Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

Barbara Wilson, business development manager at Gateshead College, said: “We have worked closely in partnership with SCA to design a programme which specifically meets their business needs and are now delivering training that will equip the company with the skills they need to take the business forward.

“We’ve helped dozens of North East employers address their training needs and we’re proud to be playing a major role in making these companies more competitive and boosting the local economy, while supporting talented young people to secure sustainable careers.”

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