COUNCILLORS are stepping up initiatives to get more apprentices into engineering and high-tech jobs to encourage them to stay in Ryedale.

Members of Ryedale District council's policy and resources committee have backed a scheme to provide £30,000 to help the Derwent Training Association expand its training.

The move comes after Jos Holmes, the council's economy and community manager, told councillors that the centre's plans would help create well-paid jobs.

District council officers were in talks with career advisers in Ryedale's schools to promote the job opportunities in the district. The authority was also playing a key part in encouraging girls to opt for careers in science and engineering through the schools.

The training association, based at the York Road Industrial Estate, in Malton, especially in engineering.

Councillor Luke Ives described the Derwent Training Association's plans as "fantastic", adding that engineering was a major cutting edge career.

But councillors heard that the Derwent Training Association was struggling to keep pace with the demand for apprentices from Ryedale businesses.

"We need to raise awareness that there is a need for suitable young people to come forward," he said.

Councillor Edward Legard said the focus should be on high-tech engineering because Ryedale had seen a decline in jobs, while Councillor Elizabeth Shields said: "We need to unlock our opportunities."

Councillor Caroline Goodrick, the council's deputy leader, said by providing training and working with schools, Ryedale's young people would have opportunities to stay in the area.

Councillor Geoff Acomb said apprenticeships were as important as academic and university opportunities and it would be possible for apprentices to go onto university.