Broadland chief executive is an apprentice for the day

He may run a �14m a year operation, but Broadland District Council chief executive Colin Bland demonstrated another string to his bow last week and showed why Norfolk firms can hit the bull's eye by taking on an apprentice.

Mr Bland stepped into the shoes of 18-year-old apprentice James Newman, who is currently learning a range of retail skills with Norwich retailers Clickers Archery thanks to an apprenticeship programme operated by Broadland Council Training Services.

Mr Bland took his place behind the shop counter to mark National Apprenticeships Week, designed to introduce employers to the benefits that taking on apprentices can bring to their businesses.

He said: 'I seem to spend most of my time behind a desk, so it was great to get behind a counter and sample life in the retail sector.

'I thoroughly enjoyed shadowing James, but I think I'll stick to the day job.'

It was the first time Clickers' owner Graham Harris has been involved in the apprenticeship programme.

Mr Harris said: 'I never cease to be amazed that more employers don't jump at the opportunity that the scheme offers to companies like ours, particularly in these very challenging trading times that we are in.

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'Having James on the programme has not only benefited him, but us as well.'

James, from Brundall, began his apprenticeship in July 2009 and said: 'I didn't want to go into the sixth form when I left school.

'I went to an apprentice day at the Forum in Norwich where I came across BCTS, and within a month I was on the course.'

Mr Bland also presented James with his final certificates to mark completing his apprenticeship framework.

The Evening News is backing the 'Challenge Norfolk 100 in 100' campaign launched during National Apprenticeship Week, which aims to encourage businesses to recruit 100 apprentices in 100 days. Visit or call 08000 150 600.

Are you doing an apprenticeship or do you employ apprentices and have a success story to share? Email Donna-Louise Bishop at or call 01603 772438.