The future smells sweet for new apprentices in Leeds

As many of their friends head off to university as part of the first cohort of young adults to pay higher tuition fees, three school leavers have chosen a different path and are just embarking on some of the first R&D higher apprenticeships available anywhere in the country with multi-national consumer goods company Unilever in Leeds.

This academic year is the first time that students will have to pay up to £9,000 a year for university tuition fees – a fact that has prompted many to consider carefully their options after school. However, for Adam Simkins, Rob Adderley and Bob Mitcheson there will be no fear of accumulating debt of nearly £30,000 as they will not only get a degree for free, but they will also gain valuable work experience and earn a salary while working at Unilever’s global research and development (R&D) centre in Seacroft.

The three will join 150 scientists at the R&D site who are involved in innovation in deodorants, from creating new and improved formulations to reduce sweat and odour, to designing new packaging including the aerosol spray technology and graphics on pack. The three youngsters will be working with household brands such as Lynx, Sure and Dove deodorants.

Having received their A Level results this summer, Adam, Rob and Bob will now work four days at week at the R&D site on three different apprenticeships: Adam is a Formulation apprentice and will work towards a degree in Chemical Science; Bob is a Packaging Development apprentice and will work towards a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Rob will be a Process Development apprentice, working towards a degree in Chemical Engineering.

The other week day will be spent at university or studying for their degree. After studying part-time for five or six years, they should all achieve their Foundation Degrees, followed by a full BSc or BEng.

Sue Timme, Operations Manager said, “By bringing apprentices into the business, we’re recruiting the next generation of deodorant specialists. As you can imagine, there aren’t many people around the world who have the knowledge and skills we need to make brands such as Sure, Lynx, Dove and Impulse such a success, so by training apprentices, we can ensure that our business thrives in the future and people stay smelling sweet with the help of talented and knowledgeable scientists.

“There are very few R&D apprenticeships available anywhere in the country,” Sue continued, “so it’s a really exciting time for us and for Adam, Rob and Bob who will get world-class training and development and a degree - without accruing debt at university.”

Bob Mitcheson said of becoming an apprentice, “It was my engineering teacher at sixth form who introduced the idea of an apprenticeship to me – I hadn’t decided what route to take at the time but I knew uni would be too expensive. 

The more I got to learn about Unilever, the apprenticeship and what I’d spend my time doing and learning, the more it appealed. I didn’t ever guess I’d have a career in deodorants but it’s amazing to see how many different aspects there are in the packaging and how much engineering experience I’ll get over the next six years; I’m really looking forward to getting started.”


Notes to Editors:

Katya Bridges

UK & Ireland Media Relations Manager

T: 01372 945925 / M: 07785 450287


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 .

UK & Ireland Corporate press enquiries

For Unilever UK & Ireland corporate press enquiries, please contact the UK press office on the number or email below:

T: UK +44 (0)01372 945925
F: UK +44 07785 450287

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