A SPECIALIST gas services and property maintenance firm is championing apprenticeships after a council partnership saw them take on a host of new recruits.
Liberty Group, a property services company, has hired 17 young people in the Portsmouth area as apprentice gas engineers.
One of the apprentices is George Warner, from Purbook, who is following in family footsteps.
The 17-year-old was unsure what he would do after leaving school, until his dad, David, who works with Liberty, suggested he consider an apprenticeship.
George said: ‘My grandad was a gas engineer too, so I’m following in his footsteps. I hope he’s proud of me.’
George attends training one day a week and works four days a week with Liberty on their contract with Portsmouth City Council.
Jack Bevan, from Fareham, started his apprenticeship with Liberty in September, also working on the Portsmouth City Council contract.
The 20-year-old goes to Steve Willis Training in Portchester one day a week and works with Liberty four days a week.
Jack said: ‘I love my job. I’d recommend an apprenticeship with Liberty to anyone.’
James Green, from Waterlooville, had a tough journey when it came to starting his career.
The 19-year old was born with a club foot and had to undergo correctional surgery, including an operation in 2017 which meant he had to take four months off.
Despite this, James still successfully completed his qualification and he was awarded the Apprentice of the Year Award from Steve Willis Training.
He said: ‘I have learned so many new skills through my apprenticeship.’
Mike Tonks, 34, started out as an apprentice and now uses his experience to train new gas engineers.
He said: ‘My apprenticeship really set up my career. It’s great to now be helping young apprentices starting out.’