McVitie’s owner Pladis has unveiled an engineering apprenticeship agreement with the UK’s largest union, Unite.

The agreement sets the ‘gold standard’ for apprenticeships and, by 2020, almost 50 new apprentices will be recruited into engineering roles at Pladis.

“Engineering apprentices are integral to our continuing success and we’re proud to support their development,” said Pladis’ head of manufacturing Neil Smith.

“We continually invest in our apprentices by providing intensive and rewarding work experiences, as well as offering best-in-industry training programmes. We are also proud of the network of mentors around the business who offer insights, skills and support to help kick-start lifelong careers in this exciting industry.”

The UK Engineering Technician Apprenticeship programme will run for five years and will take place across Pladis’ seven sites. The apprentices will receive training in the repair and maintenance of a range of packaging and processing equipment under the mentorship of experienced engineering employees and Unite members.

Rhys McCarthy, national officer at Unite, said the agreement was a “progressive step forward”, with Pladis recognising the role trade unions play in the design and delivery of apprenticeship programmes.