UP to 1,000 job vacancies are to be offered as apprenticeships by Hampshire County Council in a new programme this year.

The Cabinet has backed a scheme to increase young apprentices in its workforce by up to 1,000 in five years, under the Hampshire Youth Investment Programme.

Up to 170 apprentices will be recruited each year and another 30 posts will be available for young people in care or leaving care as the Leader’s Internship Plus scheme pilot is extended.

Apprentices have already worked for the county council in roles such as mechanics, rangers or teaching assistants, in the countryside, in museums, or in laboratories.

Now it is set to expand this to attract more young people aged 16-25 into its workforce and give them support.

The posts will be full time jobs, “appropriately supported and rewarded from the outset”. It is anticipated the first apprentices and interns will be recruited in the summer.

There will be three levels of apprenticeship – intermediate, advanced and higher with the higher level seen as an alternative route for college leavers to going to university as it will lead to an equivalent to Foundation Degree or Higher National Certificate or Diploma.