The new faces, Ben Pearson, Alex Saunders and Daniel Jones, will receive specialist training in key processes in the company. Pearson, who’s 20, is an apprentice print finisher, Saunders, aged 18, is training to be a pre-press operator, and Jones, also 18, is an apprentice digital print finisher.

The apprentices will undertake two years of training at the Penrith print company, which is based at three sites and produces leaflets, booklets, signs, displays and banners for the local authority and private-sector clients.

The BPIF training scheme enables H&H Reeds Printers to offer them training, employment, and a “first rung on the ladder”, said joint managing director Andy Jackson, who received grants of around £500 from Cumbria County Council for two of the apprentices.

“We offer diversity in training and want our apprentices to be ambitious. They will be given a grounding in business skills and marketing and learn about the individual divisions within the company. Each has been assigned a ‘buddy’ to help support their first steps in the business world.”

H&H Reeds Printers is part of The H&H Group, based in Carlisle and dates back more than 140 years. Around 28% of employees are aged under 30, said human resources manager Margaret Irving.

“We had heard there was funding available from the council, which is more likely to award grants to fund training if there’s a real likelihood it will lead to long-term employment. Our drive to employ apprentices is working very well.

“We are tending to attract people who ummed and ahed about going to university and were maybe put off by the cost of fees and loans so decided to go down the route of vocational training. We’ve got some really good people.

“The apprentices will receive support and specialist training, and they must complete standard specific training modules such as health and safety in the workplace. For the long-term partnership to continue they will then each have to demonstrate they can do their job.”