A TELECOMS firm has created 50 jobs and wants more apprentices to bolster a busy regional warehouse.

BT has strengthened its depot in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, raising its workforce to more than 150 staff.

Bosses say they will also take on five apprentices in the summer and introduce a traineeship programme for unemployed workers between 18 and 24-years-old to continue its growth in the town.

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The jobs are a welcome boost for Northallerton's employment landscape after it lost two of its largest employers last year when the Government's Rural Payments Agency and the town's prison both closed, resulting in the loss of about 500 posts.

The warehouse, which is BT's second-largest UK supply chain site, deals with 22,000 electronic devices every day, sending broadband hubs, phones and TV boxes to homes and businesses across the country.

BT says it is experiencing higher demand thanks to heightening clamour for broadband and its TV coverage, which includes a number of Premier League football matches.

Nick Hale, managing director of BT Supply Chain, said: “Jobs and expansion are always good news, but in a town which has seen its fair share of recent job losses, it is particularly welcome.

“The majority of these positions have been filled by local people, which is testament to the quality of the workforce and a vital boost for Northallerton's economy.

“The roll-out of high-speed fibre broadband throughout North Yorkshire and across the UK is creating unprecedented demand for the electronic devices that enable people to access this new technology.

“We are confident this demand will enable us to maintain and grow our presence in Northallerton during the next few years.”

Councillor Tony Hall, North Yorkshire County Council's executive member for adult learning, hailed BT's focus on younger workers.

He added: “The Northallerton centre is a valued employer in the town and these new jobs send out a clear message the company has confidence the town is a good place to grow.

“Furthermore, BT are showing young people that opportunities are available to get involved with a firm at the cutting edge of technology.”

Rob Wilkinson joined the firm as a warehouse worker in the recruitment drive.

He added: “This has given the town a great boost, and the support and encouragement for the new workers has created a real culture of enthusiasm.”