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British Gas invests in apprenticeships

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British Gas is to treble the number of its apprentice gas engineers. The gas supplier is to create 1,000 new jobs through a 40 million investment over the next 18 months.

Alan Johnson, director of the apprenticeship academy at British Gas, said: "We are currently taking 300 apprentices each year and now we are going to treble that for 2009."

British Gas is also opening two new training centres - one in Glasgow and another in Leicester. During the scheme staff under 24 will also work toward the gold standard of the Duke of Edinburgh's award.

The company receives approximately 50 applications for each apprenticeship place so it will use an online recruitment system to select applicants to attend an assessment day before selecting the final apprentices.

Johnson added: "We have a high pass rate for our apprentice scheme - 96% complete it compared with 60% in the rest of the gas industry. So the quality is exceptional and we find that 90% of apprentices stay with the company for five years or more."