Council’s apprentice scheme helps 500th youngster in County Durham

A Council scheme to help youngsters with apprenticeships across County Durham has reached the 500 mark. 

The programme started three years ago and apprentices have been taken on in a variety of roles including catering and engineering. The scheme is open to youngsters aged 16 to 24 and for businesses with less than 250 employees who have not taken on an apprentice for a year. The council contributes £1,000 and a further £1,500 is given by the National Apprenticeship Service.

Councillor Neil Foster, the council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “This is a fantastic milestone and we wish Holly every success. It is great that we have been able to help so many unemployed young people break into the world of work and also help businesses develop. We look forward to taking the programme forward and reaching more landmarks.”

The 500th youngster who gained an apprenticeship was Holly Hirst; the 17-year-old was taken on by the Durham Climbing Centre to help run the office.

Hayley McKenna, of Durham Climbing Centre, said: “Holly has already proved to be a great asset to the centre in the short time she has been here. I highly recommend the apprenticeship programme and would encourage other businesses to offer young people the opportunity to develop their skills and expertise.”