School-leaver is on a roll after gaining apprenticeship


School-leaver Sean Burton has been appointed by Prudhoe’s biggest employer – toilet tissue manufacturer SCA – as its first-ever business administration apprentice. 

SCA Prudhoe Mill is home to leading tissue brand Velvet, and part of a global manufacturing and forest products business with more than 40,000 employees worldwide. 

Leaving Emmanuel College in Gateshead this Summer with ‘A’ levels in sciences and English, Sean will spend the next two years in the site administration office working towards an NVQ Level 3 qualification.  He landed the sought-after role after seeing it advertised on the company’s website.

“I already knew a bit about SCA when I spotted the apprentice vacancy, having previously spent a week there on work experience, and I’m really looking forward to what will be a challenging and varied role,” he said.

As well as on-site training, Sean – who lives in Low Fell – will be closely supervised by tutors from Gateshead College, that recently took over responsibility for training and assessing the mill’s 41 other apprentices. 

His new manager Cath Frost added: “We have an award-winning technical apprenticeship programme at the mill that has provided more than an hundred young people with paid education and training in operational and technical roles since its launch in 2004 – with most of them now in full-time jobs within SCA.

“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. 

“We also recently secured £96,000 from the Northumberland Business Growth Programme to help fund ten manufacturing apprentices.  But Sean is our first business administration apprentice in what we hope will become a successful extension to our apprenticeship scheme.”

The funding for Gateshead College apprenticeship programmes is made available via the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and the European Social Fund (ESF). The Skills Funding Agency are responsible for improving the skills of England’s young people and adults to ensure we have a workforce of world-class standard. The European Social Fund is transforming lives through better skills and better job prospects.