A North East council has been acknowledged as one of the top employers in the country for its apprenticeship opportunities.

Durham County Council was awarded a place in the government’s Top 100 Apprenticeships Employers list announced last week, joining ten other local authorities who have made the list.

Made up of employers from the public and private sector, the list celebrates outstanding apprenticeship employers in industries such as engineering, banking, healthcare, retailing, local government, accountancy and the charity sector.

The council has ranked 91st in the list in recognition of its work to create apprenticeship opportunities for residents. The council currently has 259 apprentices working in a wide range of roles across its services and schools, including catering, accounting, construction and business administration.

Since the apprenticeship levy was introduced in April 2017, the council has taken on 418 new apprentices and 433 upskilling apprentices across its services and schools, a total of 851 apprenticeship starts in three years.

New in 2020, the Top 100 Apprenticeships Employers list showcases the very best of the UK’s large apprenticeship employers who have been recognised for providing some of the most successful apprenticeship programmes over the last 12 months.

The list helps potential apprentices, parents, and careers advisers identify the best apprenticeship opportunities with the highest performing apprentice employers.

Apprenticeships help business of all sizes to grow, giving people of any age or background a chance to learn new skills and get ahead in their chosen career.

The council joins City of Lincoln Council, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, Leeds City Council, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Hertfordshire County Council, Medway Council, Chesterfield Borough Council, Rochdale Borough Council, Salford City Council, and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority – making it the only local authority in the North East to have made the Top 100 list.

Cllr Andrea Patterson, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for corporate services and rural issues, said: “Apprenticeships are an excellent option for all ages. It is an exciting job opportunity where you receive formal training to gain a recognised qualification alongside gaining technical knowledge, practical experience and wider skills you need for employment and a future career.

“Our apprenticeship opportunities help bring our residents into work, giving them the skills and qualifications they need to create long-term, sustainable careers. We work with and support our apprentices to secure continued employment with the council or to achieve the next steps in their career or education. Since the apprenticeship levy was introduced in 2017, apprenticeship starts in local government have almost trebled, so it is terrific to see that we, and the rest of the sector, have been rightly rewarded for our excellent work.”

Find out more about apprenticeship opportunities with the council by visiting www.durham.gov.uk/apprenticeships