YOUNG people are gaining valuable skills at a Runcorn communications company.

The 02 call centre in Preston Brook has 34 apprentices working in business sales, customer service and Tesco Mobile.

Weaver Vale MP Graham Evans met some of them as part of national apprentice week.

He said: “I’ve always been impressed at the commitment of 02 and Telefonica in giving young people the skills to get into the work place.

“It’s such a great opportunity for them to work for an international organisation.”

02 is now offering 30 new advanced apprenticeships in business sales for 18-24-year-olds.

Apprentice Matthew Deakin, aged 20, from The Heath in Runcorn works in customer care for Tesco Mobile.

He said: “Bournemouth University offered me a scholarship to study games design so when the 02 offer came, I had to really think carefully but I have no regrets.

“I get paid a really good salary and am learning on the job as well as studying for a level three qualification.

“There are great chances to pgoress and every encouragement.

“I’m really happy about working here.”

Lisa Netherwood, lead for the business apprenticeships, said: “It is a great opportunity for us to recognise talent.

“We can develop people who come to us with an expectation to learn.

“They are very open and question us on process and procedure. It is a different generation with different outlooks and views.”

Ann Pickering, HR director, said: “Apprentices bring fresh new talent and expertise and having grown up in the digital world possess valuable digital skills.

“We’re looking for creative young people who share our passion for technology. In return, we’ll offer the chance to work with industry experts and gain hands-on experience.”

To apply for one of the apprenticeships register online at