A Wiltshire accountancy firm is encouraging other businesses to take on apprentices to give people the opportunity to get into work.

Riverview Portfolio has taken on apprentices for 10 years, guiding them up through the business while supporting their education.

Mark Barrett, senior consultant of the Calne-based firm, said: “People think apprenticeships are cheap labour but that is far from the truth. The balance between learning and experience is crucial and apprenticeships provide that.

“We are guaranteed to take on one apprentice every year and train them to be full accountants with an accountancy degree.

“Apprenticeships have proved very successful to us and we will continue to give people the chance and opportunities they deserve.”

Mr Barrett took on apprentice Daniel Farthing, 25, after he left school aged 18, and he is now a director in the company. Mr Farthing worked his way through the business, from a trainee and accounts assistant and earned his partnership in the company while gaining his MAAT accountancy qualification.

Meanwhile, after struggling to fill a kitchen vacancy, The Tollgate Inn, Holt, is now looking to train an apprentice alongside its chef.

Owner Mark Hodges said: “We want to give someone the opportunity to work their way up through the business while we support them through their education.

“Apprenticeships give employers the confidence that they are taking on someone who has a passion for what they do.”

The sous chef at the Tollgate Inn, Wayne Hutchison will be guiding the apprentice with the head chef.

Mr Hutchison, 24, said: “I started as an apprentice and it is a quick way to learn while being in a working environment. I would definitely recommend it, but only if the person is serious about learning because it takes a lot of commitment.”

A Have a Go Skills event will take place on March 14 at Trowbridge Civic Centre from 10am until 6pm, giving people the chance to get into employment and understand how apprenticeships work. As part of National Apprentice-ship Week (March 11-15), employers will offer tasters so people can try a type of work they might be interested in.

Businesses and organisations who want to get involved should call 01225 756170 or email wiltshire apprenticeships@wiltshire.gov.uk.