TODAY The Bolton News is teaming up with the Mayor of Bolton to give 50 of our young people the best start in life.

Cllr Martin Donaghy has vowed to find 50 young people an apprenticeship during his 50 weeks in office as the borough’s first citizen.

And The Bolton News is backing his bid and calling on firms to come forward and offer a place for young people.

It comes the week after we launched our Apprentice Challenge, which aims to get 200 young people into apprenticeships over 100 days.

Whether that is traditional skills, new industry, accountancy or even the law — we want as many businesses as possible to step up to help.

We have teamed up with Bolton College, Alliance Learning, Rathbone, Training For Today and the Mojo Trust to launch the appeal.

As he was made mayor last month, Cllr Donaghy talked passionately about the importance of business and apprenticeships.

Cllr Donaghy completed an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering when he was a young man.

Hesaid: “I got that help and during my mayorality I want to give 50 young people the chance to learn a new skill and once they have served their time then we have young individuals who are qualified for life.

“It also sends the message to Bolton colleges — carry on with your good work, you are doing great and we are right behind you.”

The mayor wants both firms which are able to offer apprenticeships and young people themselves to contact his office so the work can begin matching them up to the right trade.

The mayor has vowed to visit each employer who offers a place for an apprentice to show his support and encouragement, backed by The Bolton News.

He will also spend time during his mayoral year visiting as many firms as possible, both large and small, to encourage them to sign up to the 50/50 campaign.

Cllr Donaghy said: “These young people bring new ideas and vigour with them and they need to be given that chance.

“I believe our town can only benefit from the economic good that these young people bring.”

It is also hoped the 50/50 campaign will reduce the number of Bolton’s young people currently classes as NEET — not in employment, education or training.

Ian Savage, editor-in-chief of The Bolton News, said: “This is a very worthwhile campaign and we’re proud to support the mayor in this.

“It will help give some young people the opportunities they need in life and I would urge as many businesses as possible to get on board.”

If you want to offer an apprenticeship to a young person, or you are a young person looking for an apprenticeship, contact Phil Green, Bolton Council’s head of economic strategy, on 01204 331008 or by emailing