The academy will increase skilled manufacturing numbers and raise the standard of apprenticeship delivery in the region.

The tissue maker has said it will deliver its own bespoke programme of theoretical and practical training underpinned by industry-recognised and EAL-accredited academic qualifications

The academy, which has a state-of-the-art workshop with dedicated practical and academic training facilities, was officially opened by Donato Giorgio, Essity’s global supply chain president, who flew in from Germany for the event.

He said: “This is all about what this company wants to be, and it’s in Essity’s DNA to invest in its people. Increasingly, winning is not about individuals, but about teams and providing opportunity.

“We are working to eliminate barriers to wellbeing and it’s our strong belief that we do this by being well-integrated into the local community, supporting the capabilities of our employees and getting the best out of them.

“This approach is what we believe makes a difference for this business and makes us a great role model for others to follow.”

Clare Stewart, Essity HR manager, added: “I am extremely excited about the opportunity we have created as our ambition is to attract, enthuse and invest in local talent, offering people the opportunity to earn while they learn with a guaranteed, full-time, permanent job at the end of the programme.

“It’s our hope the academy will inspire a new generation of process operators and engineers, especially women, to see apprenticeships as a rewarding and worthwhile career with genuine prospects. It’s our ambition by 2025 to have an all-female apprentice cohort in one of our intakes.”

The academy will train apprentices from all age ranges on process and technical engineering pathways in two intakes a year in September and March.

Applications are now being taken for 2023.

The company also plans to offer its academy facilities and trainers to local engineering and manufacturing companies of all sizes.