OVER 300 people applied for just FIVE apprenticeships at Ferguson's in Port Glasgow.

Company chiefs say there is huge demand for jobs at the yard, particularly from young people.

The firm recently took on five additional apprentices as part of the ongoing growth of the business and bosses say they received more than 300 applications, including 80 from female hopefuls.

It comes after the Tele exclusively revealed that Ferguson's is closing in on three new contracts and that management are looking to to take on a minimum of 60 new staff by the end of the year to bolster the current 360-strong workforce.

Chief executive Gerry Marshall said: "We're building for the future and we're giving young people the opportunity for an apprenticeship.

"We took on another five apprentices just a few weeks ago.

"We had over 300 applicants for five positions.

"It's phenomenal."

There are now more than 40 apprentices at the yard, widely regarded as a world-class facility following the recent £25m redevelopment.

John Morgan, head of business development at Ferguson Marine, was impressed by the number of female applicants during the recent recruitment process and says all the trainees are given top-class tuition.

Mr Morgan said: "Eighty of the 300 who applied for the five positions recently were women, which is great.

"Each one of our apprentices has a mentor in the yard so that's 43 people directly involved with them."

Company chief Mr Marshall says the Ferguson Marine is committed to investing in youth to help with the future prosperity of the yard.

He said: "If you look at where we are today, the fact we have all these apprentices coming through - and we have an aggressive apprenticeship programme - it's because we want to retain the skills we've got but we also want to build on those skills, and bring in some modern technology, which we have done.

"We want to keep the growth of the business on a trajectory that's good for everyone - good for the people who work here, providing long-term security for them, good jobs that are well-paid, and jobs for young people to come into and get into shipbuilding.

"It's fantastic."