Equipping businesses to move towards a carbon neutral supply chain


A new degree apprenticeship has been launched by Sheffield Hallam University to help businesses create future sustainable alternatives to address environmental, risk and waste costs throughout the supply chain.


The Packaging Professional degree apprenticeship, the first of its kind offered by a UK university, will equip staff at some of the world’s biggest companies with the chance to gain advanced knowledge and qualifications that will allow them to build a sustainable future.


The course launched in January and saw staff from Nestle, Smurfit Kappa, Unilever and Muller begin their learning which integrates design, engineering, management and business principles.


Glyn Hawley, the course leader, said: “The move towards a carbon neutral supply chain is set to become the major driving force over the next few years, driven by a growing consumer awareness of sustainability.


“A key part of this is to reduce the use of single use plastic throughout the supply chain, particularly with the plastic packaging tax set to come into force in 2022.


“That is why we have launched this course to help employers use their apprenticeship levy to equip staff with relevant, cutting-edge skills that the packaging and retail sector need to move forward.


“Together we are helping to foster a circular design culture, where packaging becomes a key part of the product and not something that needs to be disposed of immediately.”


Stuart McGill, a trainee designer with Smurfit Kappa, is one of the degree apprentices on the Packaging Professional programme.


He said: “I started work on the factory floor, but I’d always wanted a job in design. This degree apprenticeship will give me the skills and knowledge I need to achieve my goal.


“It’s very timely that this apprenticeship is starting now as the drive to reduce single-use plastic within the packaging industry is becoming increasingly vital.”


Degree apprenticeships combine work with part-time study at the University. Apprentices are employed throughout the programme and spend part of their time at university and the rest with their employer.


Sheffield Hallam University is one of the UK’s pioneering providers of degree apprenticeships, working with more than 270 employers to train hundreds of new apprentices with the latest skills to make a positive impact in a wide range of sectors including digital, construction, health and engineering.