"Although we had nearly 200 applications before the original closing date at the end of March, we also heard from a significant number of disappointed potential recruits."
Marco Paternesi, HR manager at Essity
Essity has worked closely with the North East LEP, who advised local schools of the deadline extension and helped the company to target potential applicants during lockdown.
Interest in apprentice places was high this year after the mill became the first manufacturer in Northumberland to win a prestigious Princess Royal Training Award for its apprentice programme.
“Although we had nearly 200 applications before the original closing date at the end of March, we also heard from a significant number of disappointed potential recruits,” said Marco Paternesi, HR manager at tissue maker Essity’s mill in Prudhoe.
“Not surprisingly, with schools closing en-masse and pupils uncertain as to if and how they would take their final exams, a lot of talented youngsters missed the boat and didn’t get their applications to us in time.
“Given everything that was going on, we decided to push back the deadline by a couple of months – which brought a last-minute influx of grateful applicants. We have appointed 15 apprentices with half of the group starting work in the mill and the other half going to Gateshead College for the first year of their apprenticeship,” said Marco.
Essity also produced a recruitment video, shown online and in schools across the region, outlining the opportunities apprenticeships can offer school-leavers interested in a career in a global manufacturing business.
The video features young engineers Richard March and Andy O’Neill who joined Essity as apprentices and went on to become area operations leaders.