David Milstead turned down a place at university to join the software giant Sage, which has become the latest big firm in the North East to hire apprentices.
The number of people choosing apprenticeships in business and administration has increased in the last four years, at a time when university tuition fees are rising.
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Research has revealed that Sunderland is ranked the fourth best place to be a sports fan in the UK, and the best in the North East.
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NFU Mutual has found the cost of rural crime in our region rose by a fifth last year, despite a decrease nationally.