BETH Jeffrey had no idea that she would find the job of her dreams when she called in to ask art gallery owners if they would display some of her drawings.

Maralyn and Ron O'Keefe of The Glass and Art Gallery in Medomsley Road, Consett, were so impressed by Ms Jeffrey that they offered her a job on the spot.

The 20-year-old, who lives in Blackhill, is taking an NVQ in business administration with a modern apprenticeship through the Learning and Skills Council County Durham.

She is already taking on the responsibility for running the gallery and has become involved with the couple's other two businesses - North East Stained Glass Supplies and Glass Design UK.

Mrs O'Keefe creates stained glass windows for churches across the North-East. Each piece can take months to complete.

Ms Jeffrey is following in the footsteps of Bridget Hughes, 23, the company's first modern apprentice, who is now helping to train her.

Ms Jeffrey said: "When I took some of my wildlife pencil drawings into the gallery, I never dreamed it would lead to this.

"I'm not only getting good qualifications through the modern apprenticeship scheme, but I'm also learning a great deal about running a gallery and working with stained glass.

"One day I hope to produce something as beautiful as the pieces that Maralyn and Bridget create."

The family firm recently rewarded their first modern apprentice with a visit to Venice to see Murano glass being made, as a thank-you for her five years' service.

Also training with Ms Jeffrey is Liam Lumley, 20, who works in the glass supply side of the business.

Mrs O'Keefe said: "The apprenticeships have been such a success for us.

"We really felt that Bridget's five years' service warranted something special.

"Liam has been with us for two years now and, although Beth has only been here a few months, we can tell that she is going to be equally invaluable."