Hartlepool cafe celebrates after being named one of best apprentice employers in country

A small Hartlepool cafe has been ranked as one of the top employers in the country for its commitment to apprentices.

Left to right: Molly Gilchrist coffee shop assistant, Leanne Eagle manager, and Ella Brown coffee shop assistant.
Left to right: Molly Gilchrist coffee shop assistant, Leanne Eagle manager, and Ella Brown coffee shop assistant.

The Place in the Park, in Ward Jackson Park, was placed 25 out of 50 in a league table for businesses of its size by the Department for Education in partnership with High Fliers Research.

More that 500 employers entered for this year’s new SME Apprenticeship Employers aimed at celebrating the most outstanding employers that have between 10 and 249 employees and a minimum of three apprentices.

Maria Seymour, owner of The Place in the Park, said they are delighted at the ranking.

The Place in the Park Cafe owner Maria Seymour.

She said: "I am very committed to employing enthusiastic young people who want to learn all aspects of running a busy coffee shop and conference centre.

"The Place in the Park coffee shop has always tried to focus as a community hub for people in the town offering a diverse range of activities and promoted a range of events throughout the year.”

"There was up to 500 companies that entered for the award so to get top 25 is brilliant."

Entries opened during National Apprentices Week in February and employers had to provide four key pieces of evidence including how many apprentices they employed as of March this year, diversity, and how many successfully completed apprenticeships and went on to further employment with the employer.

The Place in the Park has employed apprentices for around six years including most recently Leanne Eagle as a manager and assistants Molly Gilchrist and Ella Brown.

Maria added: “They learn all aspects of the business. They have proved their worth and been an asset to the business and have all been taken on full time.

"And they have got a lot out of it as well.”

Maria has been invited to attend a reception lunch at the House of Lords in September.

There was a separate Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers for larger employers which was won by the British Army.

Announcing the rankings, journalist and former BBC apprentice Shanice Evans said: “Both the top 100 and top 50 SMEs are a real celebration of the commitment that the country’s leading employers have made to employing apprentices in 2022.”