Oxford City Council's service provider is highlighting the "innovation and inclusivity" in its apprenticeship programme for National Apprenticeship Week.

The apprenticeship scheme at Oxford Direct Services (ODS), currently employing 14 apprentices ages 18 to 49, has a commitment to diversity and open eligibility not based on strict entry requirements but alignment with the organisation's core values.

It offers equal opportunities and has been proactive in guiding women into the areas of the workforce which have been traditionally dominated by men.

The apprentices come mostly from Oxford and applications are set to open again in the summer.

The ODS apprenticeship scheme offers job engagement and allows apprentices to earn a competitive wage while gaining practical experience and pursuing professional qualifications.

From electricians and gardeners to accountancy and ICT, the array of career paths it opens is wide-ranging.

This approach reinforces ODS’s effort towards Oxford City Council's goal of building an inclusive economy by promoting career growth within the local community.

Councillor Nigel Chapman, cabinet member for citizen focused services and council companies, said: "ODS apprenticeships offer a great opportunity to earn while you learn – they’re a way to get valuable hands-on experience while you study towards an industry-recognised national qualification."

“Anyone looking to take a first step on the career ladder, or maybe take a different direction in their career, should seriously consider what an ODS apprenticeship has to offer. You’ll be part of an organisation that’s doing good for Oxford as well as making sure that you’re gained the skills and knowledge needed to succeed.

“On an apprenticeship, you're employed to do a paid job while studying for a nationally recognised formal qualification - usually for one day a week at a college, university or at a training centre. By the end of your apprenticeship, you'll have your chosen career.”

Among the apprentices is Zoe, an installation and maintenance electrician apprentice from a hospital background.

She said: "I've got a daughter, so juggling around work and life is a bit challenging, but my team leaders and everyone are really supportive and help me out, so they've made it possible."

Tyron, a former Royal Logistics Core in the Army and current gas maintenance apprentice, said: "Everything ODS has put me through, the training I’m getting from the guys, on the tools, is second to none."

The ODS apprenticeship scheme is set to accept new applications this coming summer.

For more information or to make an application, visit ODS Apprenticeships or email at odsapprenticeships@odsgroup.co.uk.

To learn more about the National Apprenticeship Week 2024, visit to the Apprenticeships website.