A WASTE management company has encouraged the region's teenagers to consider working at locally founded firms.

Senior management of Hartlepool based J&B Recycling and waste disposal spoke to hundreds of pupils at a careers event in December.

The firm's management staff discussed the waste industry in-depth, with Year 10 and Year 11 pupils at the Dyke House Sports and Technology College near the town.

During the discussions, the managing director and HR manager encouraged next year's school leavers to consider a job working for north east firms.

Managing director of J&B Recycling Vikki Jackson-Smith said pupils had benefitted from hearing success stories of local workers at the firm.

She also rebuffed industry stereotypes: "There is a perception of the waste industry being a labour-intensive industry.

"It's a high-skill industry, there is a lot of skill required from start to finish."

Before the careers event, the managing director said: "Thinking about careers early on is so important.

"Not every student has the support outside of school to guide them into potential career paths and understand the importance of relevant qualifications -They need as much information as possible to make their own way.

"If talking to these pupils helps just one student consider the levels of skills required for a future in the waste industry then I think that’s fantastic and encouraging, particularly when we are currently recruiting for skilled and technical apprentices in our business."

J & B Recycling, which already has a workforce of over 200 north-east staff, reported an annual turnover of £16m.

Education manager for the outreach charity 'Business In The Community' John Riddell said: "We get businesses involved in the community in all sorts of ways.

"One of the most successful, and with the biggest impact, is when we help businesses get involved with schools and J&B Recycling has been fabulous for this - Children can hear inspiring people with local accents - accents that they recognise.

Last year, recruitment in the region remained steady despite overall businesses confidence being down, according to the Lloyds Bank Business Barometer.