A FINAL push is being made to achieve a record number of apprenticeship pledges in York as part of the 2014 Apprenticeship Challenge.

The target of 100 apprenticeship pledges in 100 days has already been smashed with the three digit figure met after just 71 days.

Now, with just a week to go, and 135 pledges made, businesses are being urged to help make 2014 the most successful Apprenticeship Challenge yet.

The campaign, led by City of York Council and training providers, was launched during National Apprenticeship Week in March, and has seen a total of 86 business in the region pledge to take on an apprentice.

The businesses include Dunnington Sports Club, Lavender Black, Strawberries & Cream Beauty Salon and Priory Medical Group.

Cllr James Alexander, leader of City of York Council said: “It is pleasing to see that so many businesses have already supported the campaign and sought to create opportunities for young people across the city.

"One of the key priorities of the council is securing jobs and growth and I am grateful to all the businesses who have supported the campaign. It is hoped that such vacancies across the city in a variety of sectors will help to keep young talent in York and offer them opportunities.”

Some of the companies who have pledged to create apprenticeships as well as many other businesses will be present at an apprenticeship recruitment event on Tuesday, July 1 to showcase their vacancies.

The free event, which is hosted by the council, will take place at the Hilton Hotel from 4.30pm to 7.30pm and will also see training providers and Connexions advisers on hand to offer advice on apprenticeships.

The York Apprenticeship Challenge is running until June 10and hopes to raise awareness of both the business and personal benefits of Apprenticeships.

Training providers involved in the campaign are Askham Bryan College, Babcock Training, ETS (Electronic Technology Services), JTL Training, YH Training Services, York College, York Learning and City of York Council (York Apprenticeship Hub).

Local businesses wanting to hire an apprentice or find out more can email york.apprenticeships@york.gov.uk or telephone Jo Burgess at the council's York Apprenticeship Hub on (01904) 552200.