As part of the two year Erasmus+ project, five apprentices from the council’s regeneration department will spend two weeks working with, and learning from, their counterparts in Gothenburg.

Fully funded by the European Union, the visit will see the apprentices working for the local authority of Västra Götaland, Sweden’s second most populous county, and follows on from a similar visit which took place in 2015. The Erasmus+ project aims to offer opportunities for people in the UK to study, work, volunteer, teach and train abroad in Europe.

Cllr Edward Bell, Chairman of Durham County Council, said: “As a council we’re very proud of our apprenticeship programme. Not only are we improving prospects for young people but, by setting an example, we hope to encourage more businesses and organisations to do the same. The Erasmus+ project offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to get experience of working in a different country and gives our apprentices the best possible chance of successful future careers.”

The two week placement will see the apprentices add to their already burgeoning CVs by learning first-hand how the local authority’s equivalents in Sweden approach regeneration, transport and the environment as well as the different social and economic challenges they face.

The Swedish authority has successfully completed a number of regeneration projects and, as well as experiencing the different culture, the apprentices will also be looking to explore new methods of best practice from their hosts. Through a series of presentations, the apprentices will also take the opportunity to highlight a range of achievements made by Durham County Council to their hosts.

On their return to County Durham, the apprentices will then write and present a report to the council’s Regeneration and Local Services management team on what they’ve learned and how it could help future projects in the county.