Jack Cole is the 500th apprentice to be recruited through a Surrey County Council scheme to get teenagers into work.
Under Surrey’s initiative, employers receive £750 from the county council for each apprentice they take on in addition to any national funding.
News of the milestone came as Defence Secretary and MP for Runnymede and Weybridge Philip Hammond visited two businesses that have hired apprentices – Brewpack and Ward’s MOT and Service in Egham.
He said: “Apprenticeships are a major plank of government policy and I’m grateful to Surrey County Council and to leader David Hodge for the personal commitment he has put behind this project.”
Surrey Leader David Hodge said: “Reaching this 500 milestone is great news. Apprenticeships put young people on the path to a successful career, give businesses the skilled workforce they need to thrive and help the economy grow, which is why we’ve set a target of creating 500 more roles by next April.”
The council aims to reach that goal through taking on apprentices itself, calling on contractors to fill roles and the cash incentive scheme after successfully arranging almost 540 in 10 months.
To keep the momentum going, the council joined forces with the Federation of Small Businesses to stage an event in Woking offering advice and the opportunity to find out how apprentices have benefited other firms.
It attracted around 50 businesses looking to hire apprentices, offer trial placements or offer work experience following the success of a string of similar sessions over the past year that culminated in a careers fair that attracted 1,600 people.