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MP DAMIAN Hinds found an apprenticeship scheme was in fine health when he toured a leisure centre.

The East Hampshire MP toured the council-owned Taro Leisure Centre, in Penns Place, Petersfield, to learn more about its apprenticeship scheme and to promote National Apprenticeship Week.

He chatted with some of the eight young people employed who have chosen to start their careers at the centre, including 17-year-old Sam Sawkins, who has completed a personal training qualification at the centre since joining eight months ago.

Sam said: ‘I am training on the job and that gives you experience in dealing with customers, you get more confidence and you learn more about the job.

‘I would say to other people thinking about apprenticeships – “go for it”. You learn so much more and you earn money at the same time.’

Mr Hinds said: ‘Apprenticeships are growing in popularity both nationally and here in East Hampshire.

‘In National Apprenticeships Week I was keen to meet some of the young people building up their skills, and the employers investing in them.

‘Apprenticeships offer a quality-controlled, structured way to develop skills, and it was great to hear how motivated these young people are. I hope more firms will consider taking on an apprentice.

‘A good first step is to visit apprenticeships.org.uk.’