Port Sunlight opens its doors to young unemployed people

Young people from the Wirral and the surrounding area had an opportunity yesterday (Tuesday 18 September) to gain the skills they need to get into the world of work when they went behind the scenes at Unilever as part of a nationwide campaign: “Feeding Britain’s Future – Skills for Work Week”.

Working in partnership with Jobcentre Plus on the Wirral, 19 local youngsters had an insight into life at Unilever, gaining a glimpse into manufacturing and engineering through tours of the site’s factories which produce household items such as Persil, Comfort and Domestos, of laboratories at the research and development (R&D) site where more than 800 scientists are based, looking into the future of shampoos and laundry detergents, as well as finding out how IT helps to support the global business.

Following their rare view into the world of work at the global consumer goods company responsible for many of the brands we see in our kitchens and bathrooms today, the young adults also spent time with Unilever’s facilities management and HR partners on site before getting to grips with developing their employability skills through CV-writing training and interview preparation workshops.

Jo Hutcheson from Unilever who organised the day said, “Unilever and Port Sunlight share an almost 125 year history together and many local residents either work at the site or have relatives or ancestors who did or still do today. With such an important place in the community, we wanted to help to play our part in tackling youth unemployment by getting involved in the national Feeding Britain’s Future campaign to provide valuable skills and insight into the world of work that may help these young adults to launch a career for themselves.

“Our employees who hosted the group of youngsters - from our apprentices to people who have worked on site for years - really enjoyed the opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences and we hope that the day helps to set our young attendees in good stead for their future.”

One of the young adults to attend the day, Matthew Gillespie from Wallasey who has just started his second year of A Levels (seated, centre in photograph) explained his reason for visiting the company, “I’m really interested in a career in engineering and spending a day at Unilever has opened my eyes to the workplace and the kind of environment that I’d like to work in one day.”

He continued, “Finding a job today is tough; young people don’t usually get the opportunity to talk to employers and find out more about what they are looking for in young people which is why getting an insight into work was so helpful.”

Feeding Britain’s Future is the first initiative of its kind, giving young people access to farms, factories and stores, and firsthand knowledge of the skills needed for a career in the food industry or elsewhere. Young people will benefit from a wide range of training activities such as presentation and interview tips.

Joanne Denney-Finch OBE, Chief Executive of IGD, said, “The food and grocery industry is the UK’s biggest employer and we’re committed to playing our part in tackling youth unemployment. We’ve consulted both businesses and young people to identify where the skills gaps lie and what the barriers to employment are. We hope the development opportunities on offer will help the young unemployed on the journey towards finding a job.”

The food and grocery industry is the UK’s biggest employer providing 3.6m - or one in seven – jobs and there are a huge range of careers on offer.


Notes to Editors:

Photograph, sitting L-R: Thomas Davies from Rock Ferry, Bethan Gunn from New Ferry, Matthew Gillespie from Wallasey, Faye Morrison from Willaston and Lee Miller from Rock Ferrry. Standing: Jo Hutcheson, Unilever

Katya Bridges

UK & Ireland Media Relations Manager

T: 01372 945925 / M: 07785 450287

E: katya.bridges@unilever.com

About Unilever:

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with operations in over 100 countries and sales in 190. Consumers buy 170 billion Unilever packs around the world every year, and our products are used over two billion times a day. We have more than 171,000 employees, and generated annual sales of €46.5 billion in 2011.

Working to create a better future every day, we help people to feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known and most loved brands including thirteen €1 billion brands, and global leadership in most categories in which we operate. The portfolio features iconic brands such as: Knorr, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Dove, Vaseline, Persil, Cif, Marmite, Flora, Wall’s, Lynx, Sure, Cif, Domestos and Pot Noodle.

Unilever’s ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental impact (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal). We are also committed to doing what we can to improve health, nutrition and hygiene, with a target to help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, as well as sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020. All of these goals are itemised in around 50 time-based commitments in our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.

Unilever has led the Food Producers sector in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for 13 consecutive years. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. In 2011 Unilever led the Climate Counts Company Scorecard and was named #1 in the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders according to the latest survey findings from GlobeScan Inc. and SustainAbility Ltd.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.co.uk

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