A UNIVERSITY graduate is using his classroom knowledge to continue the growth of a North-East company.

Tony Wilson, who is studying a professional doctorate at the University of Sunderland, has helped Peterlee-based meat supplier, Kookaburra Limited, win a number of industry awards.

Mr Wilson, head of operations at Kookaburra, which employs about 160 workers and supplies cooked, chilled and frozen chicken products to food makers across the UK, has already delivered significant improvements at the 25-year-old company, including reducing running costs.

He is now a learning mentor to fellow workers, and said: “My own philosophy has always been that people should be treated with respect.

“I would never ask someone to do something I wouldn't be do myself.

“During the last five years, through research at the university, I have transformed my leadership skills and used them to transform some of the business aspects of Kookaburra.”

Dr Gail Sanders, programme leader for the professional doctorate programme, said: “Tony is an excellent example of what a student of the programme can achieve.

“He is a creative thinker who can make connections between theories and practice, and develop his ideas into practical solutions that can be of direct benefit to his organisation.’’