Capita, the North East’s largest consultancy provider, has recruited a former Whitley Bay High School pupil as its first transport planning apprentice.

Erin Ruddy, 18, is gaining practical experience working from the company’s North Tyneside office, helping to solve problems like traffic jams, while also studying at Leeds College of Building.

Erin, who lives in Whitley Bay, is the first person to join Capita’s 73,000 workforce as a transport planning apprentice. She said: “The apprenticeship appealed to me for a number of reasons.

“There is a permanent job at the end of the apprenticeship and opportunities to progress further, plus studying in Leeds also interested me.

“At first the job was totally new to me, so it was a bit challenging but I’m starting to get to grips with things now. You actually don’t appreciate how much planning goes into making a roundabout or reducing congestion.

“It’s an important job because a major part of it is finding sustainable transport solutions to our economic growth – if we don’t we will be continuing to impact the environment in a negative way.”

In November 2012 Capita entered into a partnership with North Tyneside Council to deliver a range of technical services: engineering; property; planning; building control and public protection.

It is co-located with North Tyneside Council at the local authority’s HQ on Cobalt Business Park and also has an office at Harvey Combe, Killingworth.

Erin is the 29th person to join the North Tyneside Partnership as an apprentice. She is on a two-year Level 3 BTEC Diploma in Advanced Transport Planning at Leeds College of Building. Every six weeks she attends the college for a two-week period of learning.

David Wall, Associate Director for Capita’s Real Estate and Infrastructure division, said: “We’re really pleased to have Erin join us as part of the team in North Tyneside – her enthusiasm and passion are welcomed.

“We will work closely with her to ensure she is given every opportunity to make the most of the role and lead the way for other apprentices in the transport planning sector.”