Apprentice star Katie Wright backs bid to create 50 jobs for youngsters in Lincolnshire
The Apprentice TV show candidate Katie Wright visited West Lindsey to lend her support to a bid to create 50 new jobs for young people.
And, after battling it out for one of the most high-profile positions in the country earlier this year, the self-proclaimed "blonde assassin" is urging local businesses to sign up an apprentice of their own.
The businesswoman appeared on the BBC show with Sir Alan Sugar – and hopes more teenagers will be hearing the words "you're hired", thanks to the district council initiative.
Despite being fired by Sir Alan in an episode in which she dressed as a pizza to try to sell meatballs, the experience didn't put her off.
"I'm a firm believer in apprenticeships as a route into a career, so I'm delighted to support West Lindsey's Apprenticeships Work 4 You campaign," said the 27-year-old, who is now working as a business development director for Liberata in London.
"It would be great to see more councils following their lead. I think apprenticeships are a forward-thinking way of recruiting staff.
"We all realise the current economic climate makes it difficult for businesses to consider taking on full-time staff.
"But apprenticeships are an opportunity for them to get an extra pair of hands in a cost-effective way, while offering a lifeline to a young person.
"Appearing in The Apprentice series was a great experience for me.
"I would encourage any business in the area to consider taking on an apprentice to develop the organisation and secure a happy, trained workforce for the future."
The council and the National Apprentice Service have teamed up for the campaign, which was launched on November 1.
Employers are being challenged to create 50 apprenticeships in a bid to grow their businesses, while helping young people gain on-the-job skills and relevant qualifications.
It comes at a time when businesses continue to struggle in difficult economic times – and as young people look for work in an increasingly competitive job market.
Councillor Malcolm Parish, the chairman of the council's prosperous communities committee, was an apprentice in his youth.
"I'm pleased that so many businesses have expressed an interest in apprenticeships, following our business lunch," said Mr Parish.
"So let's hope we can get them on board to sign an apprentice. One of the things we'll be focusing on is finding out why some employers might be reluctant to take on an apprentice. Addressing their concerns and fears, which I think can often be misplaced, is very important. It's great that Katie has supported us too, and I hope we can work with her more as the campaign continues."