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
Emma Jesson brings you Saturday night's forecast
Feeling much colder later on Saturday. Wintry showers possible on Sunday and Monday
The pressure group Ashley Out has called for demonstrations outside every Sports Direct store within a 20-mile radius of St James' Park.