Thurrock Council is encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to consider an apprenticeship as a route to an exciting new career.
The council has hosted a variety of events during National Apprenticeship Week, promoting apprenticeships as a genuine alternative to college, university and other career paths.
Dozens of young people and their parents or carers attended a drop-in information evening, hosted by the council's Inspire Youth Hub at The Ockendon Academy/Studio School on Wednesday evening (6 March).
Those in attendance had the opportunity to get expert advice from the National Apprenticeship Service and talk to training providers and businesses about the apprenticeship opportunities available in sectors including construction, local government, logistics, engineering and even the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
On Tuesday, the council's own apprentices hosted a drop-in information stand and charity cake sale at the civic offices in Grays, sharing their own experiences and raising £83.50 for St Luke's Hospice.
The council currently employs more apprentices than ever before, with the number of new apprenticeships offered each year rising from 23 in 2016/17 to 48 in 2017/18 and 60 in 2018/19.
The apprenticeships vary in level, going up to higher level apprenticeships that are equivalent to the first year of a degree, and include roles in commercial procurement, business support, town planning, outdoor activity leadership and civil engineering.
Among the current apprentices is Kai Hatton, who started a level 4 commercial procurement apprenticeship last September after finishing college. He said: "I didn't want to go to university and I’m now earning while doing something that is equivalent to the first year of a university degree.
"I'm only 19 and my apprenticeship has taught me a lot of skills and how to work in an office environment. I've found it a really exciting new challenge."
The council will be hosting its next apprenticeship recruitment day on Thursday 18 July at Thurrock Adult Community College in Grays, with the roles available due to be finalised at a later date. To find out more or register your interest, go to thurrock.gov.uk/apprenticeships.