Labour MP for Newcastle North, Catherine McKinnell, has today welcomed her new apprentice, 16-year old
Charlene Curry, to her first day at work in National Apprenticeship Week.

Catherine’s Apprenticeships and Skills Bill aims to dramatically increase the numbers of apprenticeships in the UK using the tool of public procurement. The Bill receives its second reading in Parliament this Friday (11th February), but Catherine is leading from the front by hiring an apprentice in her constituency office in Westerhope, Newcastle.

Charlene Curry, from Newbiggin Hall in Newcastle, will complete a Business Administration qualification whilst gaining work experience in the office of her local Member of Parliament. The new apprentice, who has been placed by the North East Apprenticeship Company, will be involved in a variety of tasks to help ensure the smooth running of the office, including answering the telephone, opening post, ordering stationery, filing and dealing with enquiries from constituents.

Catherine McKinnell said:

“It was a real pleasure to welcome Charlene to work this morning on the first day of National Apprenticeship Week. I believe she will be a huge asset to my constituency office whilst offering her the opportunity to gain a qualification while she works.

“I am passionate about the importance of apprenticeships for both employers and employees, and for the country as a whole. They provide a structured career path, whilst also helping to develop the skills we need if our economy is to compete nationally and internationally. That is why I introduced my Apprenticeships and Skills Bill into Parliament, for which support continues to grow – with backing received from Ed Miliband, Lord Sugar, the TUC, the Federation of Small Businesses, the North East Chamber of Commerce, Unison, Unite, the GMB, UCATT, NUS, the Association of Colleges, the Federation of Master Builders and the Electrical Contractors’ Association.”

Charlene has just completed an NVQ in customer service working on an NHS contract and in her interview really impressed Catherine with her insightful responses and friendly manner.

On her first day at work Charlene Curry, Catherine McKinnell’s new apprentice, said:

“I am really looking forward to working in the office of my local Member of Parliament. I was interested in completing an apprenticeship so I could get work experience while I gain a qualification and this is a great opportunity. In my spare time I volunteer for Skimstone – a local charity working with young people – and I look forward to helping Catherine with her work in the local community.”

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