Firm takes on first apprentice in 130 year history

Christian gets to grips with his new job, watched by Neil Collinson (left) and Coun Huxtable. (s)
Christian gets to grips with his new job, watched by Neil Collinson (left) and Coun Huxtable. (s)

A Hambleton business has taken on its first ever apprentice – thanks to a District Council scheme to get young people into work.

Sixteen-year-old Christian Parker has joined the team at Dales of Thirsk – which make granite and marble work surfaces as well as memorials.

The Bagby teenager left Thirsk School in the summer not knowing whether to go on to sixth form or into training. Already interested in masonry he jumped at the chance of the apprenticeship in Thirsk.

Managing director of Dales, Neil Collinson, has taken up the District Council’s ‘Changing Lives Building Business’ scheme which offers to pay for apprenticeships for small Hambleton based business looking to take on young people who live in Hambleton off the dole.

“The business was established in 1880 but this is our first ever apprenticeship,” he said.

“We wanted to take someone on who was raw and we could train in our ways. We are teaching Christian the basics of our business and hope to see him go far in the trade.

“We are very grateful to Hambleton District Council for accepting us on to its scheme – getting the cash help certainly secured Christian’s employment with us!”

So far four apprentices have been taken on under the scheme – by Anthony Sutcliffe’s building firm in Northallerton, Yellow Box Marketing in Stokesley, Arty Party in Thirsk and Dales. Another nine businesses are currently looking for apprentices. Hambleton District Council has itself taken on 11 apprentices – with vacancies for another four in a variety of jobs.

“Through this scheme we have allocated £100,000 to help some of the young unemployed in the district – as well as smaller businesses which might struggle to afford to employ an apprentice,” said the Council’s Leader, Councillor Neville Huxtable.

“We are delighted to see people like Christian enjoying taking on new challenges and skills. Getting young people into the jobs market is not just good for them but good for the local economy.

“Local employers have really embraced this scheme and are keen to find opportunities for young people from the district.”

For more information on the scheme contact the district council on 0845 1211 555. For details of apprentice opportunities through this scheme visit