YORK businesses have been backing the York Apprenticeship Challenge to find 100 new apprenticeships in 100 days.

The first company to sign up is Harrowells Solicitors, which has already taken on two apprentices.

Harrowells is one of many businesses which has stepped up to the challenge to find 100 new apprenticeship opportunities in 100 days, which will be profiled in The Press after it launched the York Apprenticeship Challenge in association with City of York Council, the National Apprenticeship Service and other key partners.

Louise Osborne, HR manager at Harrowells, said once they had been convinced by the case for apprenticeships, they analysed the organisation to find out where they could be accommodated.

“I thought it was important to invest time and resources in young people, especially in the current economic climate, to get experience in the workplace where they don’t seem to be able to get a foot on the ladder.

“We established where apprentices could be accommodated in the business and identified two areas – one in the private client department and one in IT.”

The firm has appointed Sophie Elliott as an apprentice administrative assistant in the private client department, and James Manning as an IT apprentice to be a first point of call to log IT issues in the business.

Louise said it was also cost-effective for the business to train people up in-house, than to buy in the skills they need.

She said: “I’m concerned that young people aren’t getting the opportunities to get jobs in the market we’re in. If we can help and it’s cost-effective for us, it’s worth it.”

Catherine Kew-Robinson, HR officer, is responsible for the apprentices and will meet them regularly to make sure they are progressing.

Coun James Alexander, leader of City of York Council, said: “I am delighted to see that Harrowells have been able to take on two apprentices. The next phase of the challenge will be to maintain this momentum and continue our progress towards 100 pledges in 100 days, to which the council has committed 30.”

Visit apprenticeships.org.uk or phone 08000 150 600 to be part of the challenge.