APPRENTICES taken on by City of York Council are celebrating National Apprenticeships Week after reaching the halfway point in their apprenticeships.

Many of the apprentices, taken on as part of the York Apprenticeship Challenge, in which 199 apprenticeship places were pledged by 80 employers last summer, are now reaching the halfway point of their time at the authority.

Kersten England, chief executive of the council, and leader, Coun James Alexander, met the apprentices to review their progress to date.

Coun Alexander said: “I am delighted that we have been able to take on 34 young people in these very challenging economic times, to learn new skills and make a valuable contribution to the life and work of the authority.”

The council created 34 apprenticeship places and has so far filled 26 of the places in a range of areas including procurement, economic development, communications, ICT, libraries, the customer centre, transport planning, and legal services.

Interviews have just been held for a further eight places in Business Administration and the council said it expected to launch a new apprenticeship scheme later this year.

199 pledges...

Of the 199 pledges made, 70 per cent were for Intermediate Apprenticeships and the rest for Advanced Apprenticeships.

Across the city, the top five areas for pledges were:

Business Administration 49

Hospitality and Catering 35

Retail 28

Science Technicians 24

Accountancy 10

More than 90 per cent of the 199 pledges to create apprenticeship placements have already been converted into apprenticeship starts.

Of these, 173 apprentices are still in their jobs – a conversion rate of 87 per cent, compared to the national average success rate for apprenticeships of 76 per cent.