More Yorkshire firms have former apprentices working at senior management or board level than elsewhere in the UK, a new report reveals.

According to the National Apprenticeship Service, 26 per cent of firms in Yorkshire have former trainees at the top, compared with a national average of 19 per cent.

The findings coincide with the third annual top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list from NAS and City & Guilds – which includes Bradford-based Morrisons supermarkets Bradford and Leeds law firm Gordons and Yorkshire Housing, which covers Bradford, Keighley and Skipton.

NAS said the report highlights the commitment of Bradford employers to promoting former apprentices through the ranks. It said 40 per cent of all Yorkshire employers saw apprentices go onto various management roles.

Nationally, an apprentice’s chance of becoming a director is greatest in the construction industry, with 47 per cent of businesses in this sector employing former apprentices in board level positions. This is followed by manufacturing and engineering (43 per cent), agriculture (33 per cent) and energy and power (33 per cent).

The study was complemented by research amongst some of the companies featured in this year’s Top 100 list. Some 89 per cent of employers said that if they were starting out in their career now they would opt to do an apprenticeship.

Chris Jones, director General of City and Guilds, said: “Apprenticeships provide employers with the workforce of the future. Through apprenticeships, employers gain the talented, skilled individuals they need boost productivity and growth. We partner with employers of varying sizes and industries on their apprenticeship programmes. All of them have seen the benefits apprenticeships can offer. Apprentices add value from day one not just through their skills, but through their enthusiasm and drive.”

Mickey Greenhalgh, head of Morrisons Academy, said: “We offer a number of apprenticeship schemes across our stores and in our manufacturing and logistics sites, providing people from all walks of life with the opportunity to start a career with Morrisons.

“Through The Morrisons Academy we provide our apprentices with training that’s above and beyond the Skills Council requirements and, as a result, many of our apprentices are now managers in the business.”

Paul Ayre, Gordons’ managing partner, who instigated the firm's pioneering legal apprenticeship scheme for school-leavers, said he would recommend implementing a similar scheme to other employers.

Mr Ayre said: “Our apprentices benefit from being on a pathway to a career without limits – with our scheme, there’s no reason why any of them shouldn’t become a partner or even managing partner one day.

“Gordons gains because the scheme provides us with a vital supply of hugely enthusiastic young legal talent from an entirely new source.”