A Cramlington company has been highlighting the value of apprentices.
Figures released last week showed a fall in employment and a small increase in unemployment.
The North East England Chamber of Commerce is campaigning for the region’s employers to be supported to recruit, train and retain talented staff.
And the Government has launched a Fire It Up campaign to encourage more young people to realise the benefits of apprenticeships.
One company doing this is pharmaceutical business Sterling Pharma Solutions (SPSL).
It has used apprentices as a key part of its long-term strategy to develop a multi-skilled workforce, which has helped to deliver growth from £23m in four years to £60m.
Chris Wiper, of SPSL, said: “SPSL, like many organisations in the sector, has an ageing workforce. We are investing now to ensure the experience and expert knowledge gained by our staff over many years of service is passed on to the next generation. This will ensure the long-term success of our business.
“Apprenticeships are the most sustainable and cost-effective way for us to succession plan whilst growing a committed and engaged workforce, opening up pathways for future new talent.”
Ben Moffatt, hazard evaluation scientist and young apprentice ambassador with SPSL, said: “I highly rate and value the opportunity I have received and would greatly recommend an apprenticeship offered by the company.”
Paul Carbert, policy adviser at the North East England Chamber of Commerce, said: “In our recent Quarterly Economic Survey results, chamber members reported a positive outlook on future recruitment plans and noted concerns about the difficulty of recruiting for skilled technical roles.
“We are campaigning to create a working north east where all our region’s employers are supported to recruit, train and retain talented staff. In particular, we want flexible funding to enable businesses and providers to work together to address skill needs.”