Seven new apprentices taken on by Bradford Council this month got a taste of what might be when they attended an inspiring event at City Hall last night.

The Council’s building and technical services department is taking on the apprentices ahead of them getting a four-year grounding in their chosen trade.

Every year the authority employs trainee painters and decorators, electricians, joiners, plumbers, mechanical engineers and bricklayers, and provides four-year apprenticeships.

And last night, before they even embarked on their careers, they went along to the Council’s first Apprentice of the Year event – held in the Banqueting Suite – where the current crop were rewarded for their efforts.

A total of 16 prizes were handed out, four in each year group, for Most Improved Apprentice; Apprentice with the Best Attendance; Best Portfolio; and Outstanding Effort.

There was also an overall Apprentice of the Year 2013 winner, chosen from the 16 category winners.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe (Lab, Windhill and Wrose), the Council’s executive member for Employment, Skills and Culture, handed out some of the awards. She said: “The winners were all delighted and were there with their families.

“As a Council we encourage businesses all over the district and of all sizes to take on an apprentice so it’s important that we practice what we preach.

“Our building and technical services take on up to seven young people each year through City Training and they attend local colleges. We’ve not been disappointed as the calibre of apprentices has been high and they make a great contribution to the team. It is great to reward their success in this way.”

Maintenance manager Tony Morton, who manages the apprentice scheme, started off as an apprentice joiner with the Council 26 years ago.

Another former apprentice is Council surveyor Julian Chancellor, who left school without any qualifications but has just gained a BSc (Hons) in building surveying.