The first three apprentices to blaze a trail at multinational company Acorn Stairlifts have been presented with their certificates by Keighley and Ilkley MP Kris Hopkins.
Alicia Spencer (17), Joe Steel (19) and Joshua Cunliffe (17) have each successfully completed their 12-month apprenticeships in the Customer Service department at Acorn's head offices on Steeton's Millennium Business Park. All three have now been offered permanent contracts with the company, which employs 450 at Steeton and almost 1,700 worldwide.
Acorn's Group HR Manager Kate Gledhill said: "Alicia, Joe and Josh are our first three apprentices so it's been a valuable learning experience for all of us, but a very positive one which we're keen to repeat. "All three have worked hard towards completing their apprenticeships and gaining their NVQ Level 2 in Customer Service. They've become valued members of the Acorn family and we're happy to offer them permanent contracts."
From the left, Kris Hopkins MP with Acorn Stairlifts' Group HR Manager Kate Gledhill and the company's first three apprentices Joe Steel, Alicia Spencer and Josh Cunliffe. Photo: Bob Smith
Presenting their certificates, Mr Hopkins MP said: "Giving our young people the best chance to get on in life and have a rewarding career is vital. Apprenticeships provide the opportunity to learn valuable skills whilst earning a decent wage. The Government is committed to delivering three million more apprenticeships by 2020 and I am pleased that employers are now in control of creating new standards which is driving up their quality."
Having successfully completed their apprenticeships, the Acorn trio are looking forward to progressing their careers and taking advantage of the training and advancement opportunities the Investors in People-accredited company offers its employees.
"My apprenticeship has been a good experience and I've learnt a lot of new skills that I use every day to do my job," said Joe, from Keighley.
Alicia, from Carleton, near Skipton, added: "It's been good learning what work life is all about and getting to know the team at Acorn. It's been a valuable growing up experience too."
Josh, from Keighley, said he would recommend the apprenticeship route to other young people considering their options: "It's been more beneficial for us than staying in full-time education and we're still learning and getting qualifications at the same time as starting our careers."
Impressed and encouraged by its first three apprentices, Acorn Stairlifts has already taken on a second and larger intake and is continuing to develop and refine its apprenticeships programme.