An Ilford teenager has won a place on an apprenticeship programme designed to support talented individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Sachin Mahtani, 19, saw off competition from scores of applicants to be chosen to take part in an exclusive month-long bootcamp.

The bootcamp, developed in partnership with social mobility charity Leadership Through Sport & Business (LTSB), helped young people from all over London develop their decision making, communication and digital skills.

The best ten participants were then selected for NatWest's new digital and innovation degree apprenticeship programme.

The chosen candidates, who began working at NatWest on November 1, will undertake a four-year paid apprenticeship in NatWest Ventures, while simultaneously completing a fully funded degree.

Sachin, who studied BTEC level 3 IT at New City college in Hackney, said: "Before LTSB I was pretty lost in my life but doing this bootcamp has given me direction, pride and a will to pursue happiness.

"The path that LTSB has shown me has allowed me to build a future which I didn't think possible.

Plans are now in place for the programme to be rolled out nationwide and Sachin believes that other young people like him with no social capital could benefit from degree based apprenticeships:

"Before LTSB I wasn't aware of any agency, let alone a charity, that were so committed to helping socioeconomically disadvantaged youths a chance to gain employment at major firms.

"At first my family were quite sceptical about the programme as I have had some bad experiences with apprenticeships in the past, but as I continued to pass assessments they started to take more of an interest.

"Once they found out more about the programme and they saw all the work I had done they were pretty blown away.

"I would 100 per cent undoubtedly recommend LTSB and I do. I know how much LTSB has helped me in such a short period of time, it's a wonderful feeling, and I feel confident knowing that they can help others too."

Caroline Adair, CEO of LTSB, added: “Social mobility is one of the biggest problems we face, and the leadership that NatWest has shown here is essential to addressing it.

"Bright young people from under-represented backgrounds should have access to roles equal to their ambition and ability - it’s good for society, and it’s good for the bottom line too.

"Everyone at LTSB is so proud to have been part of this programme, and we’re really looking forward to continuing to support these fantastic new recruits as they start their careers!"