APPRENTICES from Hartlepool and East Durham have been given a helping hand on to the career ladder.
The Vela Group, which includes Housing Hartlepool, has recruited 18 apprentices, including nine people from Hartlepool and one from Peterlee.
The apprenticeships are in a number of trades and business administration roles.
Stephen McDonald, 28, and Kyle Klein, 18, from the town are training as gas fitters while David Wilcox, Jordan Kurtze and Jake Stevens, all 17 and from Hartlepool, are now working as joiners with the firm.
Daniel Marshall, 18, from Hartlepool is training to be a bricklayer.
Administration roles have been handed to Lucy Williams, 17, Emma Slowgrove, 21, and Lee Fawcett, 17, also from Hartlepool.
Meanwhile, James Cowie, 18, from Peterlee, has joined the firm as an electrician.
The Vela Group has developed the apprenticeships in partnership with Hartlepool College of Further Education as well as Stockton Borough Council, Springboard and Connect To Work.
The training will last four years.
Bernadette Stainsby, Vela’s head of human resources, said: “These apprenticeships give young people from the region a chance to grow in a professional environment and learn the ability to work on their own and as part of a team.
“By attending college and gaining real life work experience in their chosen fields they also develop a wide range of knowledge that will benefit them in their working lives.” Many of the skills they will be taught are transferable to their personal lives as well.
“They are able to combine learning with earning money and gain invaluable expertise that will provide a strong foundation for their chosen careers.”