To launch the scheme, several employees at the waste management company gave a presentation at Derby College in front of 100 business students. The aim was to raise the profile of the recycling industry and the career opportunities available to them.
The students heard that the company has an annual turnover of £110 million and recycles 5,000 tonnes of waste each week, some of which is exported to India and China. It also has a machine that can recycle ten cars every six seconds.
In the meantime, Ward - which employs 250 staff across four sites in Ilkeston, Chesterfield and Swadlincote - is looking for apprentices in I.T, accounts, customer services and general business administration.
Ward, which has worked with major companies including Rolls-Royce plc, Toyota and Tesco will take on three apprentices at a time, with the first ones due to start within months.
James Balfour, a director at Ward, said: "As well as looking to recruit apprentices through Derby College in the short term, we will be selecting business students from the Roundhouse to join the Employer Academy.
"We already take people for work experience so this is the next step. The students will gain a wide range of experience at Ward and we will also be setting special projects for them to complete as part of their study programme.
"By giving them an insight into our industry and experience in the workplace, we hope that they will be better placed to apply for apprenticeships at the company at the end of their study programmes.
"We are a local family business and would really like to invest in local people. Partnering with Derby College is a great move for us and being able to offer apprenticeships can only be a good thing."
April Hayhurst, Derby College Deputy Principal – Employer and Economic Affairs – added: "We are delighted to be working with Ward both on their apprenticeship provision now and through our Employer Academy programme.
"This two-pronged approach will enable the company to invest in their future workforce and give them the talent pipeline to further grow their business in the medium and longer term.
"The Employer Academy is a great opportunity for our business students to gain valuable work experience and to demonstrate to them how the skills they are learning at college are valued and flexible in a wide range of industries that perhaps they had not previously considered."
More information about the apprenticeship opportunities at Ward can be found at ward.com. More information about the Employer Academy programme can be found at www.derby-college.ac.uk