THE Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) programme is close to reaching the halfway mark of its ambitious aim to take on 590 apprentices. 

The number of apprentices on the multi-billion-pound project has reached 264.

Forty-four of those apprentices are from West Yorkshire

TRU is a major investment being made in the railway between York and Manchester via Leeds and Huddersfield.

Apprentices on TRU identify the cost of living crisis, tuition fee debt, career prospects and enhanced hands-on learning as reasons for choosing apprenticeships.

Bethany Draper, TRU commercial apprentice, said: "I was accepted into two Russell Group universities but if I were to have gone to university, I would have been in a lot of debt.

"Financial independence is a key part of choosing an apprenticeship.

"With expanded work experience in an office or site environment, you have a better start to your career than other students."

Neil Holm, TRU managing director, said: "Providing opportunities through apprenticeships is at the heart of the TRU story.

"A railway fit for the north of England is being built by the communities through which TRU travels.

"Our nearly 590 apprentices are key to the TRU programme and reaching the halfway point of our ambitious apprenticeship intake underlines our commitment to developing skills and employment prospects for TRU communities."