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AkzoNobel Hull lands first ever apprenticeship with training provider Humberside Engineering Training Association (HETA)

6th October 2021

AkzoNobel, experts in making paint and coatings, has partnered with HETA to recruit its first ever apprentice at its Hull premises.

Humberside Engineering Training Association (HETA) is a leading apprenticeship training provider in the Humber and Yorkshire region which supplies companies in the region with over 200 apprentices per year.

AkzoNobel Hull is based on Sutton Fields Industrial Estate where the company produces packaging coatings (inks & varnishes) for global companies across a multitude of industries.

AkzoNobel is active in over 150 countries and has been setting the standard in colour and protection since 1792.

Apprentice Rowan Craft is the first AkzoNobel Hull engineering apprentice. Darren Bicknell, Site Manager, AkzoNobel Hull, says: “As part of our succession planning within the business, we felt it was time to look at apprenticeships. To have the first ever apprentice at our site is unique. We are a global business, and it will improve our skills as we shape our organisation to fit the future.”

Kevin Prendergast, Health, Safety & Engineering Manager, AkzoNobel, says: “We wanted to recruit an apprentice to improve our already highly skilled team. It’s a great opportunity for Rowan and his future career progression too.”

Rowan was at Ron Dearing UTC prior to applying to HETA and initially was on his way to college on completion of his GCSE’S. However, having seen the vacancy for a multi-skilled apprentice at AkzoNobel Rowan decided to apply. Rowan says: “Initially I was planning on going to college but after seeing the apprenticeship advertised and following a discussion with my dad about the benefits of an apprenticeship and the opportunity to work at AkzoNobel we decided it was an opportunity not to be missed. Now I have an apprenticeship with AkzoNobel and am being trained at HETA, I know what my future will look like and know I will have a great career.”

At Ron Dearing UTC, Rowan studied engineering, learning about aspects of machining and mechanical engineering including the use of milling machines and lathes. Rowan also completed a unit on sustainability which he really enjoyed so when he saw that AkzoNobel is striving to be a world leader when it comes to sustainability he wanted to work for a company with that vision.

Applicants for the apprenticeship role were shortlisted from 16 down to 4 who were then invited for a site tour and an interview. Kevin Prendergast adds: “Rowan stood out in the process and is a confident young man. His early learning with Ron Dearing UTC was also good to see.”

At HETA, Rowan will be undertaking a full year of training where he will have specialised training in several aspects of engineering. Matt Gardner, Operations Manager at HETA says: “Rowan has made a great start at HETA and will become an asset to the company as he develops.”

Kevin Prendergast says: “We chose HETA because of their reputation. In our view there was no other provider we wanted to use.”

The HETA and AkzoNobel partnership is an exciting opportunity with Charlotte Hogben, Training and Development Advisor at HETA saying: “It’s fantastic to work alongside AkzoNobel and support the company with its apprenticeship programme. AkzoNobel has a long-established heritage within the Hull area and is able to use its expertise to provide Rowan with a fantastic work environment to enable him to develop.”

Darren Bicknell concludes: “I first remember HETA when I was an apprentice at what was British Aerospace in 1984 and studied with a number of HETA apprentices. I have seen companies across the area go to HETA for their apprentices over the years. Their reputation is second to none.”

For more information about Azko Nobel, please visit

For more information about HETA, please visit