A GROUP of engineering apprentices have been using their newly acquired skills for the good of the local community.

Apprentices at Gen2, Cumbria’s leading apprentice training organisation, have created a range of recycling sculptures to encourage people to recycle plastics they collect on the beach.

The challenge was set by MP for Workington, Mark Jenkinson and involved the design, prototyping and manufacturing of a range of large metal sculptures which will be placed on the local beaches to try and reduce plastic waste and encourage people to recycle.

More than 30 apprentices helped develop the sculptures at Gen2 centres based in Workington and Ulverston.

Mark Jenkinson visited Gen2 to check the progress of the challenge pieces along with Charles Holmes, managing director, Allerdale Waste Services. Four sculptures have been developed in the shape of a lighthouse, a boat, a dolphin and a kangaroo.

Gen2 managing director, Amanda Towers said: “The recycling challenge has been a great opportunity for our learners to showcase their skills.

“The apprentices have manufactured these sculptures from their own designs and have taken a great deal of personal pride to develop something for use in their local community.

“We are all extremely proud of our learners and hope their interesting designs will encourage people to use the sculptures and prove to be valuable in our fight against plastic”.

Mr Jenkinson said: “I was astounded by the ingenuity shown by the learners, and with how quickly they turned their creations around to meet the challenge set for them.

“Using recycled materials, these apprentices have produced four practical and visually interesting recycling solutions to help reduce and manage plastic pollution.

“I wanted to set up a project that would engage talented young people in my constituency and make sure we are doing our bit locally in tackling what remains a global crisis.

“We need to get the message out there that our beaches and oceans are not bins, and this is an excellent way to do that.”

Mr Jenkinson was initially inspired to set up the challenge after reading about ‘Yoshi’ and ‘Goby’, two mesh bins fashioned in the shape of fish, the idea being that people ‘feed’ them their plastic waste.

The MP has previously raised the issue of plastic pollution in the House of Commons.

This was prompted by the discovery of a Finn whale known as Driggsby which washed up on the Cumbrian coast and is thought to have died from ingesting plastic.

Allerdale Council has identified two sites for the containers so far: Harrington Marina for the Ship, and Maryport Lighthouse for the Lighthouse.

The best places to site the remaining two designs are now under consideration.

Jim Lister, Allerdale Borough Council’s Executive member for environmental services, said: “We’re really keen to promote recycling across the borough.

“These new sculptures will not only look great, but will give people another way to get rid of plastic rubbish they find on or near our beaches and will hopefully help keep our beautiful area clean