MP for Sunderland Central, Julie Elliott, visited national soft drinks manufacturer Clearly Drinks to see how the business is investing in new environmentally-friendly production methods and local people during the pandemic.

The visit comes following a successful year for the business which has invested in a new canning facility and in local job creation and employment opportunities for the community.

Plastic reduction is a significant focus for Clearly Drinks, so it has made a substantial commitment into recyclable packaging for its products this year as well as a multimillion-pound investment into a new canning facility at its Sunderland based headquarters.

Capable of producing 500 cans per minute and 30,000 cans per hour, the new line is expected to manufacture 160 million cans per annum. Clearly Drinks utilises its Northumbria Spring Water drawn directly from on-site boreholes to deliver further on its environmental promise.

The manufacturer is supporting regional employability programmes such as Moving On Tyne & Wear, a local employability programme who help anyone who has a health barrier, disability or learning need to seek employment. It has also worked collaboration with the Salvation Army’s North East England Division to provide employment opportunities to homeless people in Sunderland.

Earlier this year, the company stated its commitment as an inclusive employer to equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace with several new initiatives providing equal opportunities for its team.

Its World Class Operator programme was launched to nurture and train the regions highly skilled future manufacturing talent, in partnership with Derwentside College. The programme offers internal training to Clearly Drinks’ staff to create highly skilled individuals as well as offering apprentices on-the-job paid experience.

Starting with a two-week training plan to gain an NVQ level 2 in manufacturing operations, staff and students then have the opportunity to go to college where they can work towards an NVQ level 3 in leadership.

Commenting on her visit, Julie Elliott said: “I am delighted to have visited Clearly Drinks recently to hear more about their fantastic work and their ambitious plans for the future.

“Not only are Clearly Drinks a thriving local business, but they are committed to giving back to their community. That is clear to me through their work with the Salvation Army in Southwick on their Employment Plus Programme. It was also great to hear about their adult apprenticeships which are helping people skill up and find long term employment.

“I am looking forward to seeing Clearly Drinks go from strength to strength in 2022 and beyond.”

Mick Howard, CEO at Clearly Drinks, said: “A focus on our global and local impact is front and centre in our business strategy – from our impact on the environment in our sustainability strategy to our presence in the heart of our community and ability to help people lead better lives with good jobs. We are dedicated to our people and we have a commitment to retaining and investing in talent – not just for our business, but to bolster the future of UK manufacturing skills.”

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