A campaign aiming to create 1,000 new apprenticeships in Birmingham and Solihull has surpassed another key landmark.
Ladder for Greater Birmingham has welcomed its 200th and 201st apprentices as part of the initiative which launched last summer.
Niamh O’Neill and Bethany Glynn, both aged 17, are now working at Aesthetics Hair and Beauty Salon in Solihull while studying for a hair professional level 2 apprenticeship.
Sarah Bowron, owner and director of Aesthetics, opened the salon in 2000 and started taking on apprenticeships from the very start.
In November, she launched a second salon in Henley-in-Arden and employs 30 staff across the two sites.
She said: “We started taking on apprentices from day one and have been working with Heart of England Training for over 15 years now.
“Both salons I had previously worked at had always ‘grown their own talent’ and as we have such specific ways of cutting and colouring, we knew it was the only way forward.
“We always take on up to four apprentices each year. It’s how we grow our business and it is essential to support our team.
“When I interview someone I want to see a positive, can do attitude and a genuine passion for our industry.
“Niamh and Beth chose apprenticeships rather than college for a variety of reasons but the two main ones were to earn while they learn and work at Aesthetics.”
The Ladder initiative is run by community development group The Vine Trust and training provider Performance Through People with funding from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP and Birmingham and Solihull Training Provider Network, with BirminghamLive as media partner.
This summer, the campaign will also celebrate the region’s top apprentices and the people helping them on their career paths with the first ever Ladder for Birmingham Apprenticeship Awards.
Ms Bowron said she was a big advocate for the apprenticeship model of recruiting and training new staff.
“As a way of preserving your brand and ensuring continuity, apprenticeships are the logical way forward,” she added.
“By investing time and energy at an early stage, you reap the rewards later on.