STARTING off the New Year, a branch of a successful North Yorkshire travel agents has taken on an apprentice.

A year ago the Leyburn branch of Spear Travels underwent a revamp with a name change to fit in with the rest of the company and the office interior was also given a make-over. Now the team have been joined by a full time junior member of staff under an apprenticeship scheme.

The post came about as branch manager Nicola Raw wished to recruit a third member of staff and after being disappointed by the interest shown, the firm decided to hire an apprentice. Eighteen year old Florence Hart had been keen to work in the travel business and undertaken a course in travel and tourism. Successfully applying for the post, she now works alongside Ms Raw and Senior Travel Consultant Joanna Hay.

As an apprentice Ms Hart is visited once a month by tutor to assess her work and progress; at the end of the year-long process she should gain a level 3 qualification in travel consultancy.

She said: “I really enjoy the work, particularly researching the different places our customers wish to visit.”

Established in 1983, Spear Travels is an independent travel agency in North Yorkshire; its head office is in Boroughbridge with 12 other branches in Northallerton, Leyburn, and throughout the UK and a number of home-based travel associates. Last year the company won best independent travel agent celebrating its fifth consecutive year of winning the award. It has previously taken on two apprentices at other branches both of who are still with the company.