A WILTSHIRE charity is getting behind apprenticeships as a way of tackling a high number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs).

Develop: Enhancing Community Support, which helps voluntary and community groups, employed a full-time apprentice as their receptionist this year.

Melissa Craven, 18, of Field View, Chippenham, had left Wiltshire College halfway through a childcare course because she did not like it and had applied for a job every day for six months, without success.

She said: “I was applying for seven jobs a week and every time I’d never hear anything back. I was so surprised to get a reply from Develop, because I was so used to hearing nothing.”

Now she is working and attending college to complete a Level 2 Business Administ-ration qualification.

She said: “I feel very lucky to have been given this opportunity when unemployment rates for young people are so high.

“The experience will set me up for a career in administration. I enjoy being able to use my ICT skills and I like that I’m still learning but also getting paid.”

Develop’s HR manager, Rachel Nouch, said: “This is our first experience of employing an apprentice. We worked in partnership with Wiltshire College to ensure we recruited the right person. They have provided a very professional service and we are really pleased to have Melissa join our team”.

In September last year, the Office of National Statistics.

said the level of NEETs was 14.9 per cent.