A FAMILY tea and coffee business has launched an apprenticeship drive to strengthen doorstep delivery services.

Ringtons wants new workers, including one in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, to help continue meeting customers’ needs.

Bosses say the new starter will join the 110-year-old company’s customer services apprenticeship programme and help its Aycliffe office, which operates 13 vans, serve more than 15,000 people.

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The new recruit will be offered an initial 12-month contract with the possibility of securing a permanent role, with their progress supported by Derwentside College in Consett, also County Durham.

The firm has already added two apprentices to its Tyne and Wear office, and Jon Malton, brand director, said he was delighted to extend the scheme.

He said: “We want to attract and keep the right candidates who understand our business, love our products and can build great relationships with customers.”

Daniel Gray, 26, and 20-year-old Connor Keegan have joined Ringtons’ Tyne and Wear base.

Mr Keegan said: “After a few years working in different jobs, I saw the apprenticeship as an opportunity to gain a more secure job with a steady income.

“I really enjoy working outside, talking to the customers and learning about every element of the business, so this role really suits me.”

Ringtons was founded in 1907 by Samuel Smith, who delivered tea to households throughout the North-East using a horse and cart.