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Case Studies

Clearly Drinks

Case study

We’re passionate about diversity

AS a company with a 135-year history in the North-East, there is a deep well of experience and knowledge at Clearly Drinks, as well as a passion for supporting the region.

The soft drinks company draws its own water from a spring on its site in Sunderland, and a commitment to social responsibility flows through the business too.
For example, the business has a strong track record of engaging with employment programmes operated by the North East Autism Society (NEAS) – and became one of the first to sign up to YESNE.

“We want to be beneficial to the community and bring a diverse range of people into the business, with different experiences and skill-sets,” says Clearly Drinks’ Head of Marketing, Susanne Wright.

“We passionately believe that having people with different views on the world is good for us.” Clearly Drinks – known for many years as Villa Soft Drinks – was founded in 1885 and, as well as
manufacturing a range of its own products, it has also become one of the UK’s leading specialist bottlers, with popular brands such as Perfectly Clear, Northumbria Spring, Upstream, and Revolution Waves coming off the production line.

As an employer of more than 70 people, it is now leading the way by signing up to YESNE, having had positive experiences with other NEAS programmes, such as Moving On Tyne and Wear.
Tracy Mallam, the company’s Production Manager, handles the recruitment for production staff and has been happy to take referrals from NEAS into her department. It begins with work experience but has, so far, led to two permanent jobs.

“We are really passionate about getting those into employment who would otherwise struggle,” explains Susanne.
Clearly Drinks also operates an apprenticeship scheme so it can bring in new employees at a younger age and mould them into being a success with the company.
“We firmly believe in growing our own talent, and providing opportunities to a diverse range of people,” adds Susanne.

“The people we have brought in from the North East Autism Society have been absolutely brilliant, bringing a new dynamic to the business, so it’s something we want to build on through the Youth Employment Service North East.”

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