BEING called in for a meeting at head office can sound somewhat daunting to an 18-year-old.

But when Runcorn teenager Ben Thompson was asked along to United Utilities Lingley Mere base he found himself sat next to the Prime Minister.

David Cameron was in the region last Wednesday to find out more about the apprenticeship scheme at the water company and Ben was chosen as a first year apprentice to tell him more.

Not that he knew who he was going to speak to when he was asked to the office,

Ben said: "We were sent a meeting request the week before, it said we were taking part in a meet and greet. It was very secretive.

"I tried to do some digging but couldn't find anything. But I knew it was something big.

"I was a bit shocked at first when they told us David Cameron was visiting. It was a very surreal feeling.

"He was asking me about how I came to be an apprentice and what my story was. He went round us all and then he asked how much we were paid and whether the scheme was working."

Ben is one year into a four year apprenticeship and is working on remote monitoring control which uses recording devices at United Utilities sites which may not be manned to make sure systems are working correctly.

"I went to school in Germany because my dad was in the forces and the expected thing was you become an officer or go to college, university and then join. But I never wanted to join the army," he added.

"I started looking round and saw apprenticeships which to me seemed ideal because you are working and learning at the same time.

"I applied for lots of them but United Utilities was the one that I really wanted.

"It's really good. I'd say it's the best decision I ever made."

l On his visit to the Runcorn and Widnes World's office David Cameron also sung the praises of the Mersey Gateway as a way to help alleviate pressure on the region's roads as the north west economy grows.

He said: “It’s good that more infrastructure investment is coming to the north west. We have to think of all the consequences and that is why the second Mersey crossing is important."