The Hambleton District Council initiative celebrates the success of the authority’s apprentice scheme – which is part of the Changing Lives Building Better Business project.

Set up 15 months ago to support the local economy and boost business it allocates cash to businesses wanting to employ apprentices but unable to afford to.

And five of the businesses have offered the young people permanent jobs.

In addition to that the District Council has also employed apprentices across the authority – including in leisure, waste, IT, customer services and business.

Deputy Leader Coun Peter Wilkinson said:

“Getting young people into work not only makes a huge difference to the lives of those young people but is a very positive way of stimulating the local economy.

“It has been a huge success – we have seen eight young people find apprenticeships and five of them have been offered permanent jobs.

“To be able to honour two of them – both outstanding apprentices in their own field is very rewarding.  Although it was very hard to pick the winning two – all the apprentices are of a very high standard.”

Holly Watkins of Arty Party in Thirsk took the business apprentice of the year for “demonstrating the development of her skills and her personal confidence”.

Her work also led to the business moving premises after ten years.

And District Council leisure apprentice, Joe McKechnie, was chosen because of his “determination to raise the profile of disability sport and contribution to the council’s key priorities”.

He has successfully secured funding to develop disability sport and has set up clubs that will be running for years to come.

Both of them have now secured permanent jobs with their ‘apprentice’ employers.

Coun Wilkinson added:

“This scheme has gone from strength to strength with more and more businesses wanting to get involved,” added Councillor Wilkinson.

“Without this scheme some of our businesses would not have been able to grow their business – it has given them the confidence to do so.   We look forward to helping many more.”

For more information on the apprentice scheme contact Nicole Patterson, business and communities manager, on 01609 767233 or

apprentice award
Holly is pictured with chairman of the Council, Coun Bob Baker and Joe with Coun Wilkinson

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