Cheshire East Council has helped more than 200 young people to get the best possible start to their careers by taking them on as apprentices.
And 31 have gone on to gain a position with the Council or one of its partner organisations.
To mark National Apprenticeship Week, Councillor Barry Moran, Cheshire East’s Cabinet member for performance, met two of the scheme’s young stars.
Ciaran Murphy, who was the Council’s Apprentice of the Year in 2013, has done an NVQ Level 3 in business administration and is now a projects support officer at Westfields in Sandbach.
Ciaran said: “It’s been a great way to start a new career and I have gained a wide range of skills through the scheme, such as working on business engagement events.”
Dean Burrows, Apprentice of the Year in 2014, is embarking on a Level 4 NVQ in social media and works on the Connecting Cheshire project, which is bringing high-speed broadband to rural areas.
Dean, who is based at Delamere House in Crewe, said: “You get good experience and there is always something new. I have had lots of opportunities to do things that you wouldn’t get to do at university, and taking part in public engagement events is a great confidence builder.”
Last year, Cheshire East Council received a highly commended award from the National Apprenticeship Service.
The Council’s apprenticeships, in roles such as business administration, finance, social media, customer services, childcare and horticulture, provide meaningful work experience and a nationally recognised qualification.
The scheme also provides quarterly learning and development sessions, put together by the workforce development team, to develop communication and interpersonal skills, teamwork, time and self-management, decision-making and taking responsibility.
Apprentices are also encouraged to volunteer for attending Careers Fairs and visiting schools.
At any one time, the Council has about 50 apprentices – 37 are currently employed directly by CEC and 16 by the Council’s arms-length operating companies.
Councillor Moran said: “The scheme has ensured that young people living in the borough have had the very best possible start to their professional career.
“I have been involved in a number of learning and development sessions, and have always been delighted to witness the enthusiasm and energy which the apprentices bring to them.
“Apprenticeships are a great way to get on the career ladder and I am delighted that they have helped so many young people to embark on great careers at Cheshire East Council.”
Council Leader Councillor Michael Jones said: “As recognition of the tremendous impact that apprentices have had on Cheshire East Council services, and to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, I recently announced at Council that all apprentices will receive a pay increase to ensure that we continue to attract the very highest calibre of recruits.
“As a National Apprenticeship Ambassador, it's my responsibility to make sure that businesses throughout Cheshire East are aware of the benefits. I would wholeheartedly recommend that all employers should consider providing opportunities for apprentices.”