A PORT renowned for shipping North-East coal around the world has carried out its largest ever apprentice recruitment drive.

The Port of Tyne has created five new roles across its accountancy, marketing, port operations, security and warehousing divisions.

The move means 16 apprentices are now employed by the business, with bosses expecting to take on nine young workers this year.

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Its latest recruits include 18-year-old accountancy apprentice Katie Radley, administration worker Callum Beig, who is working in the engineering department archiving plans and drawings, and 18-year-old forklift driver Jack Lloyd.

They have been joined by Andrew Harkins, who is the port’s first security apprentice, and 17-year-old warehouse worker Shannon Teasdale.

Geoff Gillon, director of human resources, said: “People are at the heart of every thriving company and as a major North-East employer we have made bringing young people into our business a key priority.

“Developing the capability of our workforce is crucial and apprenticeships are good for business.”

The move comes as National Apprenticeship Week, which runs until Friday, March 7, aims to increase awareness of young workers and their importance to local companies and the economy.

Last month, Port of Tyne revealed it had achieved its highest cargo volumes for more than 50 years in 2013, breaking its own records for cargo-handling and passenger numbers.