North-west bathroom retailer Better Bathrooms is launching an apprenticeship scheme aimed at local young people.
The initiative will run across the business, offering opportunities in accounts, IT, design and administration. The apprenticeships will last for 12 to 18 months and aim to help participants secure full-time employment at the end of the period.
The apprentices will attend college part-time, studying a related subject, and also work in the Better Bathrooms office in order to gain hands-on experience through a bespoke training programme.
Better Bathrooms, whose turnover has grown from £1m in 2007 to £32m today, last year secured a £10m injection of capital
from Business Growth Fund. Founder Colin Stevens wants to use the funding to help grow the company's sales to £40m in 2014 and to create 500 jobs around the UK over the next five years.
The company trades online, and added a fourth showroom, in Leicester, to its portfolio in December. The others are in Wigan, Warrington and Manchester, and it also has a trade counter in Leigh, Lancashire.
Commenting on the latest move, Mr Stevens said: "I believe there is great value in training the UK's young people through apprenticeship schemes. With over a million young people unemployed it is the duty of business leaders to pass on their industry knowledge to ensure the next generation are equipped with the skills they need to succeed in their first job. In turn they will become a valuable asset to the company so it's worth the investment.
"I was never very academically minded at school and often got restless in the classroom. I understand that we should cater for different personality types when providing young people with training. Allowing people to learn on the job is a fantastic way to engage with young people who are very able but may find it difficult to remain focused in the classroom."