ONE of Northumberland's largest employers has teamed up with a charity that finds employment opportunities for people have claimed asylum in the UK.

Essity, Prudhoe, is working with RefuAid on the pilot scheme.

Essity, which manufactures commercial and household toilet rolls and other tissue products, is seeking to give migrants with manufacturing and engineering skills the opportunity to return to their previous career.

As part of RefuAid’s Engineering Employment Programme, Essity hosted an open day for a group of 12 qualified engineers who travelled to the North-East from across the UK to meet staff, take a tour of the business and find out more about the company and jobs available.

Essity HR manager Clare Stewart explained: “I am delighted we have partnered with RefuAid on this pilot recruitment scheme.

"Essity is an international company that is committed to workforce inclusivity and diversity. By working with RefuAid, we hope to gain access to a pipeline of talented people who will be an asset to the business.

“It was a pleasure to welcome everyone on site and I have been inspired by their personal stories and commitment to return to the engineering profession.

"If our pilot programme at Prudhoe is successful, we hope to roll the scheme out to our other UK manufacturing sites.”

RefuAid is currently helping more than 300 engineers from overseas access education, training and employment. Ages range from early 20s to 50+.

Among the group to visit Essity was Abdul, 37 from Egypt, who worked as an electrical engineer in Saudi Arabia before coming to the UK two years ago. He said: “I came to England with an engineering background and lots of experience. Due to barriers in the system, I had to re-qualify to be eligible to find a job.

"I’m keen to explore the career opportunities at Essity and hope to get back into engineering and build a new future for myself.”

Essity has also launched a recruitment drive to fill 50 vacancies for engineers, apprentices, graduates and operators.