PRUDHOE’S biggest employer has won a prestigious training award for its apprentice programme.

Essity tissue mill has been awarded the Princess Royal Training Award which was established in 2016 by Princess Anne to recognise employers with outstanding training and development programmes that have a direct impact on business performance.

It is the first time the award has been given to a manufacturer in the North-East.

Since introducing its apprentice programme in 2004, the Prudhoe manufacturing site – which produces leading brands such as Cushelle and Velvet – has seen 150 young people forge a career in manufacturing.

Mill manager Tony Richards said: “Within five years of completing their apprenticeship, 11 (former apprentices) have gone on to become area technicians, seven are crew leaders.

“A further five have been appointed as area leaders.

“To have this kind of career progression, with this number of under 30 year olds all in management roles, was beyond our wildest dreams when we set up the scheme.

“I am immensely proud of what our young employees do for this business on a daily basis and in helping us to win this fantastic award.”

Her Royal Highness will present Essity Prudhoe Mill with the award in October at an event as St. James’ Palace, which will also be attended by the 43 other recipients.

Upon launching the awards, Princess Anne said: “The awards clearly demonstrate that investing in people delivers real and tangible benefits for employers, employees and not least our economy.

“I congratulate those who achieve the standard of excellence.”