DOZENS of young people across Hastings are stepping out into the world of work thanks to a pioneering project to provide 100 apprenticeships in 100 days.
The borough council’s Own Grown initiative has been such a success the target was reached within 31 days of it being launched on February 6.
It is being continued until the 100 days are complete on May 16 with the possibility of more than 150 apprentices being signed up.
Noel Martin, 19, from St Leonards was one of the first to sign up and started work on February 27.
He took a trainee role with Fitzgraham solicitors in London Road.
In 2011, the teenager completed two A-levels in law and psychology and then did a year at Hastings College where he studied for a 12 month course in legal secretarial work.
He now wants to become a solicitor and has been given an eight months training programme.
Noel said: “I had always wanted to go straight into work instead of the university route. “I did not want to get saddled with all that debt and knew this was an ideal way to get ino the industry.
“It’s a small operation so I get a lot of hands-on experience. I am working quite hard dealing with clients and all the different aspects of commercial and property law.
“I am really enjoying it and am very grateful to the Mr Fitzgraham and the Own Grown team.”
Practice owner Fitz Fitzgraham said he was impressed with Noel’s presentation and confidence.
Mr Fitzgraham, who is celebrating 30 years in the business, said: “I think the scheme is a wonderful way to engage young people and the world of work especially in such difficult economic conditions.
“Noel is the first male apprentice we have had in my 30 years in the practice.
“He demonstrated a willingness to learn and presented himself very well.
“He had the right combination of good attitude and experience. He will learn a lot here and I am sure he has a very bright future ahead of him.”
For more information about the scheme call 01424 451337 or visit www.hastings.gov.uk/owngrown