Three Port Sunlight apprentices make Unilever history

Unilever Port Sunlight R&D’s three most senior apprentices came of age this week, graduating from the University of Liverpool and becoming the first ever employees to complete Unilever’s R&D apprenticeship.

Emma Brown (Ellesmere Port), Josh Carew (Chester) and Hannah Dufton-Kelly (Bebington) joined Unilever’s R&D Higher Apprenticeship scheme in September 2010 following their A levels and now have successfully completed their four year course. Port Sunlight was Unilever’s first site to introduce R&D apprenticeships but following its success, more apprentices have been taken on in Port Sunlight and in the company’s two other R&D sites in Leeds and Bedfordshire.

Over the past four years, Emma, Josh and Hannah have worked as part of R&D teams responsible for the latest innovation in hair care, personal care, laundry and homecare, working on brands such as Dove, Persil and Sure. While gaining on-the-job experience, the three apprentices have also been studying, initially at the Wirral Metropolitan College and then in the University of Liverpool’s Chemistry Department from where they have just graduated with Bachelor of Science Honours degrees in Chemistry.

The higher apprenticeship programme has offered the three budding young scientists an important mix of gaining practical work experience in a global company, whilst at the same time studying for a Chemistry degree. All the hard work has paid off with all three achieving outstanding results, with a degree and four years of work experience under their belt, all while remaining debt-free.

In addition to Josh, Emma and Hannah, Unilever Port Sunlight R&D has since recruited another nine Chemistry apprentices who are now at various stages of their apprenticeship programme. The recruiting team is also well underway with the interview process for the September 2014 intake, which will see four new apprentices arrive in new disciplines (Packaging Design and Microbiology).

Cameron Jones, Site Leader Unilever Port Sunlight, said “This is a proud moment for us all. Apprentices are a big part of our exciting plans to further develop talent in engineering and science in the region.”

Richard Jones, Laundry Director, R&D – himself a former Unilever apprentice, who created the current scheme - said, “Apprenticeships are by no means an easy route into a career but Josh, Hannah and Emma’s passion to learn, energy and emerging talents have been clear to see by everyone who has worked with them over the last four years. They each are a great asset to the team and we hope they’ll have a long career with Unilever.”

All three apprentices have secured full time roles within Unilever and will continue their careers creating products for consumers all over the world. Hannah will be working in Oral Care, Emma in Laundry and Josh in Hair.

Hannah Dufton-Kelly, said “The last four years have been the most challenging, yet rewarding of my life! The scheme has enabled me to develop, not only academically, but also my confidence too. To be graduating with BSc Honours in Chemistry and have a permanent job in a department I have always wanted to work in, is more than I could have ever wished for when leaving school.”

Unilever Port Sunlight currently has 22 apprentices in total, in programmes across Engineering, IT, R&D and was proud to be named The Apprentice Employer of The Year (Macro) at the recent Liverpool City Region Apprentice Awards.

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Notes to editors

About Unilever:

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries. We work with 174,000 colleagues around the world and generated annual sales of €49.8 billion in 2013. Over half of our company’s footprint is in the faster growing developing and emerging markets (57% in 2013). Working to create a better future every day, we help people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known brands, 14 of which - Knorr, Persil / Omo, Dove, Sunsilk, Hellmann’s, Surf, Lipton, Rexona / Sure, Wall’s ice cream, Lux, Flora / Becel, Rama / Blue Band, Magnum and Axe / Lynx - now generate a turnover of €1 billion or more.

Our ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental footprint (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal) and increasing our positive social impact. We are committed to helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and decoupling our growth from our environmental impact. Supporting our three big goals, we have defined nine commitments, underpinned by targets encompassing social, environmental and economic areas. See more on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at www.unilever.com/sustainable-living.

Unilever has been recognised in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for 14 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. Unilever has been named sector leader of the CDP’s Forests programme for three consecutive years, and in 2014 led the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the GlobeScan/SustainAbility annual survey - for the fourth year running. Unilever was named LinkedIn’s third most sought-after employer worldwide in 2013.

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

Katya Bridges - UK and Ireland Media Relations Manager

T: 01372 945925
M: 07785 450287

katya.bridges@unilever.com

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