Leeds-based speciality ingredients manufacturer, Stephenson, is showing its commitment to apprenticeships following the success of two recent graduate recruits. The fifth generation owned family business has firmed up on its pledge to work with local educational institutions to find and employ outstanding young chemists of the future.
As part of National Apprenticeship Week (4-9 March), Stephenson is celebrating the achievements of team members Charlotte Gronan and Sam Moult who both came through the firm’s graduate scheme.
Charlotte has since progressed into full-time employment with the firm as a technical innovation chemist. Sam is on a placement year working as a student chemist after which he will complete his final year of study before considering his chosen career.
Jamie Bentley, CEO of Stephenson commented: “Stephenson have long committed to investing in its staff and particularly in its apprentices and graduates. The graduate scheme in particular is the perfect platform for developing key team members to meet the future needs of the business. This is especially the case through our technical and laboratory teams where a number of our team have come through our graduate scheme to become full-time employees. Working with regional universities, we are able to choose the right candidates whilst at the same time supporting our local communities by retaining talent in the region.”
Global manufacturing business Stephenson, which specialises in soap production for clients such as The Body Shop and employs more than 100 people from its production plant in Horsforth, recently showed its support for the nationwide STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programme. The firm committed a team of volunteers from its workforce to the scheme including CEO Jamie Bentley, who helped mentor talented students from local schools including Horsforth High School and encourage them to be creative with chemistry and engineering.
Charlotte Gronan, who studied a Masters in chemistry at the University of Huddersfield, said: “Being part of the Stephenson family over the past few years has been a great experience as I have seen how much the company has grown in just a few years. The company really looked after me during my placement year and were happy to accept me back as a graduate, making me feel part of the ‘family’ from the start.
“Being a student first which then led to a permanent job straight from university allowed me to be trained from the very start of my career in the way and methods of the company. When I came back as a full-time employee, I did not feel as worried and nervous as I may have if I didn’t do my placement year here. I was surrounded by familiar faces and I had the skills and knowledge to really hit the ground running. I also did not know what I wanted to do before my placement year, but after a year working in the personal care industry, I knew this is the career path I wanted to take. I’d definitely recommend other young people follow the same route into their chosen career.”
Sam Moult, who is studying chemical engineering at the University of Huddersfield, said: “I enjoy problem-solving and the challenges I’m presented with as it provides a good, positive learning experience. I have a sense of pride being part of the Stephenson team and they’ve really made me feel valued and part of the team. I’m enjoying watching the company grow and to feel like I have a genuine part to play in this success is rewarding. It’s also great to get paid whilst learning!”