A senior technician has highlighted the benefits a welcoming and knowledge-focused environment can provide to new apprentices as a leading wet-wipe manufacturer looks to recruit additional apprentices.

Nice-Pak International is seeking applications for apprentices in the maintenance and engineering teams at its Flint factory.

The staff expansion forms part of the company’s plans for apprentices to eventually make up five per cent of their entire 900-strong workforce across its three sites in Flint, Wigan, and Germany.

One current employee who has gone through the Nice-Pak apprenticeship scheme is senior maintenance technician Mike Lawlor, who joined the organisation in 2003 as a mechanical engineering apprentice.

Since completing his apprenticeship in 2007, Mike has risen through the ranks at the site, progressing from a shift engineer to a senior role where he now oversees four technicians as they work to maintain and assist with production processes. 

He said: “I remember being nervous in those early days of the apprenticeship, but as I got more involved with breakdowns and maintenance schedules alongside a supportive team who were always on hand to provide guidance and assistance, those worries washed away.

“Having moved into a more senior role where now I’m on the other side, I’ve tried to embody that ideal of creating a friendly and helpful atmosphere where we all work as a team to get the job done as one unit.

“We never stop learning new skills or gaining knowledge at Nice-Pak and as a result, my time here has been incredibly rewarding not just professionally, but personally as well.

“Picking up the right tools to not only do the technical aspects of the job, but work alongside every department and reach goals has meant I’ve been able to help lead and design systems which has helped increase efficiency across the company.”

Nice-Pak has been partnered with Deeside’s Coleg Cambria for more than 15 years, providing a pathway for local apprenticeships in the fields of engineering and process manufacturing as well as a foundation apprenticeship in operational performance.

Deputy director of work-based engineering at Coleg Cambria Peter Jones said: “The apprenticeships with Nice-Pak go hand-in-hand with study at the college, developing skills in both a practical and theoretical manner while helping students gain vital experience in the industry.

“Joining forces with Nice-Pak for a significant period of time has meant we have seen countless apprentices develop and secure stable and long-term employment with the company over the years.

“However, we’ve also helped provide a range of training and further qualifications to fine tune those skills learnt during their apprenticeships and ensure staff continue to grow even long after the apprenticeships are finished.”

Deborah Thatcher, HR Director at Nice-Pak said: “We are very proud to have cultivated a culture which promotes teamwork and continuing development amongst team members, and our apprenticeship scheme is a vital aspect of that chain.

“To date, every one of our apprentices has been offered permanent employment with us post-completion, with many opting to remain with us long-term due in part to the strong learning environment we provide.”

Nice-Pak’s focus on continuing employee development has resulted in an above industry-average staff tenure, with more than 50 per cent of team members at Nice-Pak’s Flint factory staying with the business for more than ten years.

Earlier this year, Nice-Pak received a Top Employers Institute certification for the 8th consecutive year. The award recognises leading employers that provide excellent employee conditions, nurture and develop talent throughout all levels of the organisation, and strive to continuously optimise employment practices.