A rapidly-expanding energy broker has boosted its workforce by taking on 18 new apprentices.
Utility Alliance, based in Hartlepool, set up in February last year and has an ongoing recruitment process taking place with the aim of having a 100-strong team in position by the end of the year.
The business, which specialises in consulting with other firms to take a closer look at their energy usage and help make savings as well as lowering their carbon footprint, welcomed its new recruits earlier this month.
Youth unemployment figures in Hartlepool have hovered around 5% over the last 12 months, and while that is an improvement on statistics from previous years Utility Alliance managing director Darren Sutherland is keen to see his firm play a part in helping to boost the prospects for the town’s young people.
He said: “It is important to help the next generation of workers, and it has been our aim from the outset to create opportunities for young people from Hartlepool and the surrounding areas to get on the career path.
“It benefits the individuals who are earning money, it helps us grow as a company and it puts money into the local economy.
“We are delighted to welcome the 18 new members of staff to Utility Alliance, and in the next six months there are a further 25 apprentices to come in as well as 25 more senior positions.
“Apprenticeships are often criticised by some people who think it is a cheap option for employers, but on our scheme the people we bring in know there is a job at the end of it which is followed by a genuine opportunity to progress with the company.”
One example of a former apprentice who has excelled at Utility Alliance is 20-year-old Troy Handisides.
Troy left English Martyrs School when he was 16, and signed up to an electrical and mechanical engineering apprenticeship at college.
But after finding job opportunities limited, Troy linked up with Utility Alliance and is now in a position where he can act as an inspiration to the new breed of youngsters coming into the business.
Troy, from Hartlepool, said: “I started here as an apprentice in customer services shortly after the business started, and inside two years I’m now an energy consultant.
“It was hard at first, but the management team were always on hand to give me advice and answer any questions and that has helped me enormously.
“I’m now in a position where I can pass on advice to the new starters and help them progress. I can have a chat with them if they’re struggling, and I think they appreciate that coming from someone who knows exactly the position they are in.”