Ambulance apprentices gear up for date with Vince Cable

Recruits to visit House of Commons in April

A group of recruits from the North East Ambulance Service are waiting to find out if they've reached the finals of a national competition aimed at finding the best team of apprentices in Britain.

The Brathay Challenge pits two teams from each of the four regions (North, Central, London & South East, and South West) against each other, ahead of an outdoor adventure challenge at the Brathay Trust's Windermere headquarters in June 2013

The challenge consists of team building tests including climbing and sailing.

Business Secretary Vince Cable is due to meet two NEAS apprentices at the House of Commons on 17th April when the finalists are announced.

The NEAS apprentices visited various schools and organisations such as Age Concern around the North East in March showcasing the good work they do, as part of National Apprentice Week.

The nine apprentices taking part are Connor Adams, from Morpeth; Hollie Smith from Durham; Matthew South from Sunderland; Stephen Armstrong from Gateshead; Kevin Cook from Wallsend; Rebecca Lauren Bynoe from Darlington; Abbie Corr from Hebburn; Alex Hall from Durham; and Christopher Moore from Washington.

Co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service, the week is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the economy.

The success of NEAS's apprenticeship scheme can be seen in the experiences of Kathryn Rutherford, an apprentice based at Pallion who has since secured a permanent job at the Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Kathryn said: "I started my business admin apprenticeship at NEAS Fleet workshops in January 2012. On my first day I was made to feel very welcome and at ease, everyone was very kind and pleasant and I felt as though I would soon fit in. By the end of the day I was already really looking forward to the rest of my time at NEAS.

"During my time at NEAS I have met some lovely people, most that I would now class as friends. I have also gained invaluable experience, skills and qualifications.

"I have managed to secure a permanent job at the RVI hospital in Newcastle. I believe that without the experience and qualifications that the Ambulance service has helped me achieve, I would never have been successful in getting the job I have managed to get now. I am very thankful to everyone at Fleet- especially Carol and Bev, for making my year here a happy one."

David Way, Chief Executive of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: "We hope this year's National Apprenticeship Week will be the biggest yet, showcasing the excellent work delivered by apprentices in businesses and organisations around the country and the first rate training they receive.

"Apprenticeships help young people develop high quality, highly sought-after skills, improving their prospects while boosting an organisation's bottom line."

This year, supporters are being encouraged to organise events and activity around the theme 'Apprenticeships Deliver' - showcasing the benefits high quality Apprenticeships deliver for apprentices and their employers.

You can follow the progress of the NEAS apprentice team in the Brathay Challenge on Twitter and Facebook by looking for NEASapprentices.

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