Popular Conservative candidate in the Greater Manchester Mayoral Race, Sean Anstee, is backing a competition to find the county’s top apprentices after one such scheme helped him to kick-start his own career.

Before becoming involved in politics, Sean started as an apprentice at Barclays when he was 16, before going on to work for an American bank, based in Manchester.

Now leader of Trafford Council, Sean said that competitions such as the National Apprenticeship Awards, are a fantastic way to promote apprenticeships and recognise both apprentices and business which run apprenticeship schemes.

He said: “After my apprenticeship at Barclays I went to work for Bank of New York Mellon in Manchester, and was able to progress through the ranks and complete my degree with Manchester Metropolitan University, supported my employer.

“There are such a wide variety of apprenticeships available now, which are a brilliant way to get on the job training and learn new skills while earning a wage.

“These national apprenticeship awards are a great way to champion the work of apprentices as well as recognising those companies and training providers which are involved.”

Praising Sean as an inspiration to others, Robert Halfon, the Minister of State for Apprentices and Skills, said: “For any young person deciding whether or not to take up an apprenticeship I would say take a look at Sean.

“He left school at 16, started an apprenticeship, worked his way up and is now one of the youngest council leaders in the country.

“What he has achieved is really inspirational and what this Conservative government is all about. Apprenticeships offer people their first steps on the ladder of opportunity.

“They raise the prestige of careers, ensure quality provision, help meet the skills needs of the nation, improve social mobility and result in secure jobs.

They will play a key part in realising the Government’s ambition for a high-skilled, competitive economy that benefits people throughout the country.

“Since 2010, we’ve delivered almost 3 million apprenticeships and have committed to delivering 3 million between 2015 and 2020.

In the northwest alone 80,820 apprenticeships were started in 2015/16– meaning thousands of young people can gain the skills they need to get on in life.”