THE Northumberland-based aluminium manufacturer Rio Tinto Alcan is investing in a safe and secure future through its staff.
The company has put more employees through a new TUC Diploma in occupational health and safety, than any other company in the region.
The course equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to support a safer working environment.
Six employees at Rio Tinto Alcan's Lynemouth Plant are studying on the 36-week course at Northumberland College, attending classes one full-day per week.
As part of the company's commitment to professional development employees' enrolled on the course receive full pay.
John McCabe, spokesperson for Rio Tinto Alcan, said: "Health and safety is the bedrock of everything we do. As a company, operating in heavy industry, our whole philosophy is based on the pillars of health, safety and the environment.
"Our people are our strength and we have many procedures in place to maintain safety in the workplace.
"Regular training is a key aspect, therefore we fully endorse the new TUC Diploma.
"The staff involved in the course and company as a whole will benefit by ensuring that Lynemouth Power Station and Smelter continue to provide a safe work environment for everyone."
The diploma course is jointly funded by the government and the TUC and covers a wide range of areas including healthy and safety welfare, environment, legislation, law, report writing and all aspects of individual project development.
John McCormack is a tutor at Northumberland College, he said: "I am delighted that we are running such a beneficial programme that involves a significant commitment from both the students and their employers.
"Rio Tinto Alcan has once again demonstrated its commitment to health and safety and staff development.
"The trade unions at Rio Tinto Alcan have always been keen to encourage their representatives to undergo training and this latest development demonstrates the Unions' understanding of the value of ongoing training and education in an ever-changing and fast paced global industry."