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Long-term strategy reaps rewards for manufacturing award winner.

IN the past five years, Egger (UK) Ltd, Northumberland's largest manufacturer, has invested more than PS90m in its Hexham site to maintain its position as one of the world's most advanced wood-based panel manufacturing operations supplying chipboard and laminate products to the furniture, interior design and construction sectors.

Over this time the company has increased production, grown market share, introduced innovative new products and repaid the support of the wider Egger Group with a 61% increase in turnover.

Financial director Bernd Steinlechner said: "Egger's continuing success is a direct result of it being a familyowned firm committed to making investments to secure the long-term future of the business rather than for short-term gain."

With its successful long-term strategy the company recently won the manufacturing award at The Journal North East Business Awards.

However, it is not just the investment in equipment which secures the company's position as a market leader but the training and development of its workforce. This has led to Egger scooping Employer of the Year at the 2014 Northumberland Business Awards.

Egger operates a "grow our own" approach to skills recruitment and talent retention, including its graduate training and acclaimed apprenticeship programmes. Here, three members of the Egger team describe how the company has helped to launch their careers.

Engineering technical assistant Andrew Shepherd joined Egger in 2009 after graduating from Carlisle College with an honours degree in industrial systems engineering.

He started his career as a trainee technical programmer and quickly became involved in assisting in the design and management of various strategic technical projects. The latest of these saw him co-ordinate the installation of a PS3m impregnation line upgrade with the support of Egger Group technical experts.

Andrew said: "I never envisaged being involved in such a wide range of projects when I first started. I am continually developing my engineering knowledge, as well as my understanding of the process and commercial aspects of the business."

Human resources assistant Jenna Wiseman spent two years with the company as part of her course at Northumbria University prior to graduating with an honours degree in corporate management. She said: "As a company we have invested heavily in forging stronger links with local schools and universities and the huge turnout at our annual apprentice open day underlines this. Part of my role focuses on student engagement so I get to work with students and discuss career opportunities available at Egger either through recruitment fairs or school visits."

The company has signed up to the Employment and Skills Business Ambassador Scheme, working with students to help them gain an understanding of the world of work. One of these ambassadors is Carly Biscoe, who started with the company four years ago as a business administration apprentice and is now a production planner.

She said: "During my apprenticeship I worked in a range of different departments, which was a great opportunity to learn and contribute to projects. As a production planner it is my responsibility to plan three of our major production processes; tongue and groove, Schelling saw and impregnation. The company also supported my studies to gain a qualification in operations management."

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Launching <Btheir careers at Egger, Carly Biscoe, Andrew Shepherd and Jenna Wiseman in front of the impregnation lines
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 24, 2015
Words:542
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