Attacked teenager Sophie Russell signs up to Lincolnshire apprenticeship scheme
A West Lindsey teenager who missed 10 months of school after being attacked in the street has become the latest apprentice to be signed up as part of a local jobs initiative.
Seventeen-year-old Sophie Russell, from Market Rasen, has teamed up with Caistor company Stamford Infotech after the IT consultancy joined the district council's bid to create 50 new jobs for young people.
She has battled back following the reconstructive surgery she had after the incident in Louth in February 2011.
Sophie completed her GCSEs in just six months after she was left with internal bruising, a broken nose and a shattered face.
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The teenager, who has Asperger's syndrome, also battled against post-traumatic stress disorder caused by the attack.
Now she is already looking forward to her new career after impressing Caistor businessman Kit Singh and his team.
"I left school in March last year, but missed the whole of Year 10 and came out with three GCSEs," said Sophie.
"Then I worked in retail and in an office, mainly dealing with the public, but I've always wanted to go into administration.
"I was finding it difficult to get a job. I was getting interviews but they were in the middle of nowhere, and I couldn't get to them as I rely on public transport.
"I was specifically looking for an apprenticeship because I was looking to get more qualifications, but didn't want to go to college. I wanted to earn while I learn as well."
She will get varied experience providing administration support for Mr Singh's four businesses – Stamford Infotech, Joomla's restaurant, a care home and doctor's surgery.
He said: "This scheme is to put people like Sophie back in the workstream when they haven't had chance to go to university or didn't want to pursue that route.
"This puts an apprentice in a real cutting-edge role where she's learning all four types of business, from the restaurant to care home to doctor's surgery.
"It's a very varied role. It's growing our business and Sophie doesn't feel like an apprentice to me because she's very active, she wants to learn. That's a great skill set. Like having any new member of staff you have to train them."
Mr Singh plans to employ a public relations apprentice within the next three months.
Councillor Alan Caine is the ward member for Caistor.
He said: "We were delighted when Mr Singh announced he would be creating two apprenticeships and it's great news that he has already provided a great opportunity for a local teenager.
"Sophie will help Mr Singh to grow his business and she will be continuing her education while gaining real job experience.
"This is exactly what our campaign hopes to achieve for young people and businesses.
"And I hope it will be replicated across the district as more employers realise the benefits of apprenticeships."