DEVON County Council is calling on small and medium sized businesses to think about the benefits of offering an apprenticeship.

The council is organising a special event at Sandy Park in Exeter on Tuesday, March 12, to bring young people and potential employers together.

Businesses are being encouraged to sign up to the event to see how they could get involved and maybe find a suitable apprentice for their organisation.

The day starts with a business breakfast from 8am to 9am for those considering taking on apprentices to find out more information.

In addition, grants of £2,000 are on offer to businesses which register for the day.

The National Apprenticeship Service has a grant scheme offering £1500 to businesses, with an additional £500 from Devon County Council for those attending the event.

Pupils in Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 from all of Devon's schools have been invited to the day and many will be coming along with their teachers or parents to find out more about apprenticeships, skills and employment.

All the Devon colleges will be on hand to answer questions and a range of training providers and employers will host interactive demos and talks throughout the day.

Leader of Devon County Council, John Hart says; "For many young people, apprenticeships can be their first step into employment and it's important we support and help them in this process. By providing apprenticeships, businesses are making a valuable contribution to Devon's future work force and subsequently helping to raise skills in the county. This is something we are very much behind at Devon County Council so I am very pleased to be supporting this initiative and I would encourage organisations and young people to come along and find out more."