Apprentices Sean Joe and Dylan join EncoreWashington based Encore Packaging Solutions and its sister group Encore Envelopes has welcomed a group of North East apprentices to take their first steps onto the engineering career ladder.

Joe Tighe, 16, Dylan Pearson, 16, and Sean English, 17, from Washington, joined the company this month on a general engineering apprenticeship and will receive hands-on training on the equipment used by Encore within the envelope and packaging manufacturing process.

Encore Envelopes, the largest privately-owned printed envelope manufacturer in the UK, and its sister company Encore Packaging Solutions, produce nearly 4bn of the 15bn envelopes and packages delivered by Royal Mail per year. The technology required to make these products is bespoke, and the skills required to keep them running are specialist. Each year for the last 12 years, Encore Envelopes has taken on at least two engineering apprentices who receive hands-on training on the equipment used by Encore within the envelope and packaging manufacturing process.

David Cooper, Encore’s production director, explains: “We see apprentices as the future of our business. Although they on a general engineering apprenticeship, we have a bias to running packaging machines and so we train them to meet our specific requirements and to our high standards. They work in each of our processing departments for four weeks, including engineering, plate making, ink formulation and studio, which helps them further understand our business.”

Encore works with Quorum-based TDR Training Ltd which provides the company with a shortlist of applicants who are then invited for interview. “Our machines are extremely specific, we can’t get people ‘off the shelf’ to run them,” Russell continues. “The majority of our apprentices are from the local area and most will stay with us after they finish their term. We see this as a partnership which not only increases skills within our community, but also ensures we can expand our business and employ more people locally.

“We’re continuing to invest in new equipment to ensure our plant remains at the peak of its efficiency, and our apprentices remain at the core of this development programme. They will also work with our experienced engineers to develop new technologies to extend our product range in line with customer demand.

“Our success rate of keeping apprentices on after they have completed their term is very high, and those that have left have gone to extremely good jobs after we were able to provide them with first class training. Most of our senior management joined Encore at a young age and have worked their way through the ranks; the understanding they have of the business is invaluable.

“We value our staff and want them to stay with Encore throughout their professional life – in the last four years alone we’ve had 17 people celebrate their 20 years with us, and we expect more over the next few years.”

Encore manufactures corrugated and solid board boxes; plain and printed up to 5 colours litho, direct mail packaging, e-commerce solutions and gift bag options at its headquarters in Washington. It also offers customers a bespoke production service, designing and manufacturing any packaging products to suit their needs.

For more details please visit: