APPRENTICES working on Hampshire’s highways took a break from dealing with flooded roads during National Apprenticeship Week to meet with Hampshire County Council’s transport chief.

The apprenticeship programme run by the council helps people gain key skills while training towards nationally recognised qualifications.

Highway apprentices work as highway technicians at depots in Bishops Waltham and Totton, learning how to provide technical support to help maintain the highway network, and design, build and manage construction projects.

They study through day release at Southampton City College for an NVQ Level 3 diploma in civil engineering for technicians and a BTEC Level 3 diploma in construction and built environment.

Young apprentices with the council’s contractor Amey are on an 18-month programme, working at highway depots around the country learning different skills including heavy patching tarmac, fixing potholes, working on drainage and laying kerbs.

They work towards professional qualifications including NVQs, and also work to achieve the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Councillor Sean Woodward, executive member for economy, transport and environment at Hampshire County Council met with apprentices during National Apprenticeship Week, from March 3 to 7.

He said: “Hampshire County Council’s apprenticeship is a positive investment for Hampshire, both in terms of providing young people with a good start to their careers, and also to ensure that the engineers of the future have the right skills to take care of Hampshire’s highways.

“The apprentices we support train on and off the job, working towards a professionally recognised qualification, while learning how to use new technology, work in teams and solve problems along the way.”

David Ogden, Amey’s account director in Hampshire, added: “We’re committed to fostering talent and investing in young people in Hampshire. Our apprenticeship scheme helps us build up our workforce with skilled, enthusiastic staff and also helps tackle local youth unemployment.

“We’re really impressed with the calibre of the young people in Hampshire who have joined us as apprentices over recent years, and will be recruiting more this year.”