Garden care equipment producer Husqvarna will be taking on six new apprentices at its 45,000 sq m factory on Aycliffe Business Park.
The Swedish company, which employs 240 people full-time and has another 420 temporary staff on its books, will take on two a year for the next three years, working with training provider South West Durham Training (SWDT).
It is the first time the firm – the largest of its kind in the world – has taken on apprentices in the last six years.
Scott Maclean, from Darlington, and Nathan Bresnen, from Seaham, both 18, are already seven months into their electrical and mechanical apprenticeships, working with their trainer, and are due to join Husqvarna in March to complete the programme.
Husqvarna’s facilities manager Joe Storey said: “One of the problems we have at Husqvarna is finding the right skill levels to do all the work we want to do.
“You can end up with someone who’s really good with electrical but not very good on mechanical, and vice-versa.
“What we want to do is train these guys to the level we want so they’re competent in electrical, hydraulics, pneumatics and mechanical, so we get the best of everything.”
SWDT business development co-ordinator Jeremy Cannon said the company was offering a “great opportunity” for the apprentices.
“We’re delighted to be working with Husqvarna on delivering skilled people for its workforce,” he added.