FIFTEEN new apprentices will be recruited by Winchester City Council this year.

Five apprentices from the 2013 intake are on 18 or 24-month contracts so the council will have 20 apprentices in place for 2014-15.

This follows the success of the scheme that started in 2012 and has seen a number of past apprentices go on to jobs with the council.

In 2014 it will offer new roles in teams such as sport, economy and arts, housing, health and wellbeing, parking, legal, customer services and human resources.

Cllr Stephen Godfrey, portfolio holder for finance and organisational development, said: “Our apprenticeship scheme gives local young people their first step on the career ladder. They gain experience and qualifications which help them to find permanent jobs.

“And for the council, apprenticeships provide an opportunity to bring in new talent in spite of difficult economic circumstances, with many of the apprentices eventually taking up jobs with the City Council.”

The apprentices provide additional capacity for the council – they do not replace permanent posts. The council has also recruited a new graduate trainee to start in September following previous successful appointments.

The apprentices complete work-based and day-release training giving them valuable work experience and a nationally-recognised qualification.