A THRIVING apprenticeship programme is celebrating a decade of success by vowing to build on its reputation as one of the UK’s foremost apprenticeship employers.

North Yorkshire County Council has recruited more than 440 apprentices into areas such as business administration, health and social care, ICT and customer services in the last 10 years, with many staying with the authority and progressing into other roles and services.

The authority is now developing its apprenticeship programme and bosses say they are looking forward to extending further opportunities for apprentices in the coming years.

“We are proud to have supported our apprentices in their journey,” said County Councillor Gareth Dadd, North Yorkshire’s Deputy Leader, “and we congratulate all the people involved in the County Council’s scheme, from the apprentices themselves, to the staff supporting them, the managers who recruited them, and the trainers who help develop them.

“We have seen many of them climb the ladder of opportunity, bringing energy and diversity to the work of the council.”

The authority’s apprenticeship programme has been recognised both regionally and nationally; winning the Regional Macro Employer of the Year award in 2014 and named as one of the prestigious Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers.

With the introduction of the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy, which requires organisations to invest in apprenticeships, the County Council is taking steps to develop a programme focusing on North Yorkshire’s future needs, targeting shortage areas such as civil engineering and adult social care, accountancy and legal services. These apprenticeships will range from entry to higher level (equivalent to degree qualifications) and will be used to supplement the County Council’s usual graduate entry.

Cllr Dadd said: “We hope that for hard to fill graduate areas such as engineering it will provide a bigger pool of applicants trained and skilled to a high level and greater interest from local young people who can complete their qualifications free of debt.”