The value of apprentices was underlined as a project to create 150 placements in Bradford within 100 days started last night.

Businesses in the district were challenged to recruit apprentices as part of Bradford’s 150 in 100 Apprenticeship Challenge.

The project got under way at an event at the Midland Hotel in Bradford with more than 50 guests in attendance.

The challenge is a local partnership community campaign with the National Apprenticeship Service, Bradford Council, training providers and employers.

Companies interested in apprenticeship placements heard from speakers including Terri Schofield, who is an apprentice at Bradford-based Appris Management Ltd.

She told how she achieved 15 GCSEs and three A levels before going to university but then decided university was not for her. “Not everyone wants to go to university,” said Miss Schofield. “It is important that we capture these people.”

Russell McGrath, chairman of the Bradford Apprenticeship Develop-ment Group, said: “Apprenticeships have a long history of developing skilled employment and offering enormous value to organisations.

“The 150 in 100 Apprenticeship Challenge is important for the district. It brings together a wide range of businesses and shows how apprenticeships can help in developing a local economy which is high skill and high value.”

Councillor Ralph Berry, the Council’s executive member for children’s services, said: “We want as many businesses as possible to sign up to the 150 in 100 Apprenticeship Challenge.”

Anthony Knowles, of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “We want to see apprenticeships become the new norm for all ambitious young people.”