Young people reap benefits of apprenticeship scheme

Apprentices have been speaking about the valuable skills and experiences they have gained since joining a council’s workforce.

Durham County Council offers apprenticeship opportunities across a range of areas, from civil engineering and business administration to accounting and catering.

In September, 44 new apprentices will join the ranks, following in the footsteps of young people like Nathan Keogan, Jordan Clegg, and Lee Hibbitts who are all recent recruits and already working with the council’s Regeneration and Local Services directorate.

Nathan, 21, from Consett, is undertaking a Level Three Advanced Apprenticeship in catering.

“I like cooking, especially baking, and now I get to cook the food in County Hall,” he said. “I like making most things but I especially like baking the scones for the County Hall shop and canteen. I also get to go to cook at other places as part of my placement and I have been to Locomotion and Wharton Park. I am really enjoying it.”

Jordan, 19, from Ushaw Moor, is a waste operative and is enjoying his new role so much he hired a moped to ensure he can get to work.

He said: “I’m working as a waste operative and so I’m on my feet all day. The fact I could keep my fitness up while working, doing something I enjoy, appealed to me.”

Lee Hibbitts, 21, from Bishop Auckland, is working as a HGV mechanic at the Peterlee depot.

He said: “I like the responsibility of getting up and going somewhere to do something each morning and I like what I do.

“I’ve never really been the university type and so I thought I would give an apprenticeship a go. I like being a mechanic and I honestly can’t ask for anything more. I would 100 per cent recommend an apprenticeship to other people.”

Oliver Sherratt, the council’s head of Direct Services, and Cllr Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local services, spoke to the apprentices at a recent welcome event.

Mr Sherratt said: “Durham County Council is an organisation with public service at its heart and this creates tremendous job satisfaction.

“Furthermore, the diverse range of services that the council provides offers plenty of opportunities for apprentices to progress in a variety of professions, while working as a part of a strong team.

“We recognise that apprentices are the future of the council, and we want to equip them with skills and confidence to really make a difference.”

To find out more about apprenticeships with Durham County Council, visit