A PLUMBER who has launched his own business is championing the importance of apprenticeships as he pays thanks to the mentor who give him his break into the trade.

For years Mustafa Altin, known as Muzzy, had tried to find plumbers in York to take him on as an apprentice, often being given a position, before being dropped just months later.

After being taken on at the age of 22 by Steve Lickley, who runs S Lickley Gas & Plumbing Services, Muzzy completed a five year apprenticeship, earning a Level 3 Gas, Heating and Plumbing NVQ while studying a York College.

Muzzy, who during his studies was named Apprentice of the Year and Student of the Year, has now gone on to set up in business on his own, launching Kenson Gas Heating and Plumbing, based in Huntington.

While still working alongside Mr Lickley, Muzzy has thanked him for his support.

He said: "Plumbing was something I always wanted to do but couldn't get into it, and I always wanted the traditional entry route via an apprenticeship.

"I tried so many plumbers around York and eventually Steve took me on and taught me the best way to work.

"He has 45 years of experience, and showed me the proper way to do things.

"He still supports me now. He is my hero, and that is being honest."

Muzzy, who also thanked his wife for supporting him, has named his business after his father Ken, and says as his business grows will be looking to take on an apprentice of his own.

Muzzy said: "Because of the frustration I went through I want to help someone in the future, and pass on the knowledge I have been taught.

"If we don't do this the skills of the trade will be lost. I want to do the same as what Steve did for me. It's the best way to learn the trade."

"Without Steve's support I wouldn't have been able to do this at all. I really want to thank him."

Apprenticeship numbers are growing in York, with the figures boosted earlier, this year by the York Apprenticeship Challenge, led by City of York Council.

The bid to find 100 apprenticeship placements in the city in 100 days finished with 60 pledges made by 104 business.