The region's only FTSE 100 company has joined a growing number of firms that are offering apprenticeships to young people.
The software giant Sage has taken on eleven apprentices, in a climate where young people are increasingly choosing either to apply directly for an apprenticeship rather than a university degree - or in some cases are turning down a place at university to sign up for apprenticeships.
The number of people choosing so-called 'white collar' apprenticeships has more than tripled in the last four years, at a time when rising tuition fees are deterring many young people from continuing in higher education.
More top news
The trophy started at Hadrian's Wall before passing through Hexham and Newcastle on its way to Alnwick.
Andrew Pullan's canoe capsized and he was pulled under the water near Barnard Castle in October 2013.
298 people were killed in the atrocity including Newcastle United fans Liam Sweeney & John Alder.