In a remarkable career trajectory, Callum Wilson, a 25-year-old electrical engineering graduate, has emerged as a driving force behind Essity’s digital revolution.

Essity, a global leader in tissue manufacturing and one of Northumberland’s largest employers, has not only propelled Callum’s career but has also set a precedent for nurturing and inspiring the next generation of digital and technical engineers.

Based at the company’s mill in Prudhoe, Callum Wilson was the first Essity graduate in the UK sponsored by the company to pursue a specialised integrated degree apprenticeship (Level 7) in data analytics.

This groundbreaking apprenticeship involved Callum integrating his studies with hands-on collaboration with Essity’s local digitalisation teams and global digital manufacturing team. His team’s mission was to deliver the digital transformation programme for Essity’s UK manufacturing sites in the northeast and northwest of England and Wales.

Having successfully completed a master’s degree in digital and technology solutions at Newcastle University with distinction in 2023, Callum emerged as a beacon of success for the unique MSc Digital and Technology Solutions Specialist Integrated Degree Apprenticeship: Data Analytics Specialist.

During his academic journey, Callum actively collaborated with Essity’s global manufacturing and digitalisation teams to align the company’s UK sites with corporate standards for operational technology and manufacturing execution.

Today, the UK stands as one of the first regions to meet Essity’s global operating technology and manufacturing execution standards, protecting and supporting their operations through the integration of digital technologies.

Olli Härkӧnen, Essity’s Global Supply Chain Technology Area Director for Sustainability and Digitalisation, based in Finland, commended Callum’s contributions, stating: “I am happy to see Callum developing and supporting Essity on its journey toward a more sustainable, digital, and profitable company!”

Within the UK, Callum’s efforts have significantly enhanced data visibility and productivity across multiple sites. Examples include real-time automated energy and CO2 transparency and the use of machine learning (AI) to detect deviations in energy consumption. These innovations not only generate energy savings but also improve machine performance and have been developed in adherence to operational technology security standards.

Originally from Staffordshire Callum, who initially joined Essity as an electrical and instrumentation intern in 2018, has demonstrated remarkable dedication and achievement. Remaining with Essity part time to complete his studies in 2019 and then joining the business as a graduate engineer in 2020. He is now based at Essity’s Prudhoe Mill in Northumberland supporting their digitalisation needs.

Callum aspires to become a chartered engineer in the next five years, focusing on leveraging AI, computer modelling, and data collection for greater operational sustainability across the business.

Reflecting on his journey, Callum stated: “Gaining experience as an intern in the manufacturing realm highlighted the transformative power of technology to me. Essity’s support has enabled me to pursue a career in a rapidly developing field and I hope my journey will inspire others to consider this type of career path.”

Jonathan Howarth, Area Technology Manager at Essity and Callum’s Line Manager, affirmed the company’s commitment to nurturing talent in digital manufacturing, emphasising that it’s an investment in the future of operations and sustainability.

He said: “Embracing fresh perspectives and digital expertise not only enhances efficiency but catalyses innovation, steering manufacturing companies like ours towards a more sustainable and resilient future.”