Future engineers are on a roll

Prudhoe-based SCA, which manufacturers the Velvet brand of family toilet tissue, has chosen Gateshead College to inspire and train its business and engineering leaders of tomorrow.

This is SCA’s largest cohort to date with 41 apprentices currently in training. Many of the company's lead operators started their careers as apprentices.

The training scheme is a combination of practical workshops and classroom-based theory sessions designed to provide a blend of 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, SCA 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.”

Gateshead College is contracted to provide training and assessment for SCA apprentices to achieve Apprenticeship or Advanced Apprenticeship qualifications.

Ivan Jepson, director of business development at the 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 many North East employers to 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.”

Since its launch in 2004, SCA has provided paid education and training to over 100 apprentices in either an operational or technical role, 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.

The current apprentice cohort earning and learning with SCA is aged between 16 and 23 from across Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

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.