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Skills minister shows support for Unilever apprentices during Wirral visit
3:00pm Thursday 26th September 2013 in News
THE Government minister for skills visited Unilever's site in Port Sunlight to lend his support young apprentices taking part in a national campaign.
Matthew Hancock toured the factory and met Unilever apprentices from both the factory and R&D site during the visit, which followed a weekend of festivities marking the village's 125th anniversary.
He also visited a Feeding Britain’s Future workshop, where young people were gaining a unique exposure to industry skills with Unilever and its staff.
The factory and village were founded by William Hesketh Lever in 1888.
Today, the company employs around 2,000 people in the community.
Last year it announced a £40million investment in a new high-tech manufacturing facility, which is due to open in Port Sunlight in 2015.
Following the visit and skills workshops, Amanda Sourry, chairman of Unilever UK & Ireland, hosted a commemorative lecture in the Gladstone Theatre in Port Sunlight under the theme of Innovation in Manufacturing – Past, Present and Future.
Mr Hancock, said: "I want to congratulate the staff and wider community of Port Sunlight as they celebrate their 125th anniversary.
"Port Sunlight demonstrates the strong heritage and history of the UK’s manufacturing sector.
"Today it is flourishing and looking to the future through the expansion of its Research and Development facilities, backed by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.
"I am particularly pleased that Unilever has embraced apprenticeships, with 40 apprentices starting across the business this month alone.
"I wish these new recruits, and all the staff, the very best for the next 125 years!"
Andy Stickland, works director for the North West, Unilever UK & Ireland, added: "Port Sunlight is the historic home of Unilever and following the major investment and new jobs we announced last year, it’s fantastic to welcome Matthew Hancock to see the site in action.
"I was proud to give him the opportunity to meet some of the young people who are the future of our company.
"Apprentices are talented, ambitious and loyal employees and the scheme is a great way for a company to build their talent for the future.
"As a large employer, we have an opportunity – and a responsibility - to help develop their skills for the future."
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