NORTHUMBERLAND County Council has exceeded national targets for the number of apprentices recruited between 2017 and 2018.

The authority has recruited more than 2,000 apprentices across the council, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust and council-maintained schools to be placed in the top 15 per cent of all public sector organisations in the country – and number one of all other local authorities in the North-East.

Public sector bodies with more than 250 staff have a target to employ an average of at least 2.3 per cent of their staff as new apprentice starts between April 2017 and March 2021, and Northumberland has already reached 2.4

The council’s programme has a great success rate, and 91 per cent of apprentices have progressed to higher level apprenticeships or full employment in the council.

The council’s deputy leader, Coun. Wayne Daley, who is also cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Exceeding these government targets is a clear demonstration of the commitment of the council and it partner organisations in nurturing future talent for the organisation.

“Apprenticeships are incredibly valuable to the council and to other businesses and organisations in Northumberland.

“Our teams do a wonderful job with our apprenticeship programme and the results speak for themselves. We are immensely proud of the part everyone has played in creating exciting places for apprentices of all ages to work and grow.”

The news about exceeding targets follows success by the apprenticeship team in the a national apprenticeship awards programme. – with the council one of only five employers in the North-East to be shortlisted.

The team were chosen as the North-East region winners for recruitment excellence and were highly commended in the Macro Employer category.