A PRUDHOE manufacturer won a national award recognising its investment in employees.

The Essity tissue mill in Prudhoe won a major national award for its investment in developing the skills of employees and the training of its apprentices.

A team from the mill carried off the prestigious Gold Skills Award given annually by the Confederation of Paper Industries, at an awards ceremony in the House of Commons.

Site manager Tony Richards said: “This is an incredible achievement and reflects the huge amount of work carried out in the last couple of years by HR manager Clare Stewart and her colleagues at Prudhoe. Investing in our people has always been important to our business, but this recognition comes after the opening late last year of our new apprentice training academy."

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“The academy is unique in our region and represents many months of working with qualification awarding bodies to become our own employer training provider. This allows our apprentices to remain on site for the whole of their training and develop real-life skills more effectively than spending long periods of time at college.

“Having our own classrooms and lecturers on-site – along with regular access to the machinery they will eventually end up working on – means our apprentices get the best possible start to their future careers in manufacturing. This CPI award is an honour not just for Prudhoe but our other five UK paper mills who have all embraced the concept of growing our own talent.”

The CPI award recognises a company that has made a significant investment in skills development and training – that benefits not just its own business but has a wider impact on the entire paper industry.

Hexham MP Guy Opperman helped Essity celebrate the award and said: “Congratulations to the Essity team from Prudhoe. They were deserved winners of the skills award for their investment in employee training.

“It shows that Prudhoe is a brilliant town to work, live and invest in. I was delighted to welcome Catriona, Anthony, Max, Clare and Sam to the House of Commons and catch up with them after they collected their award.”