The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has been visiting two companies in County Durham where almost 300 jobs have been created or safeguarded with money from the Regional Growth Fund.
He met young apprentices at CAV Aerospace in Consett and launched a Liberal Democrat campaign to create a million new jobs nationwide.
Mr Clegg said he wanted to see the number of companies offering apprenticeships doubling to 200,000.
More top news
Emma Jesson brings you Saturday night's forecast
Christmas Eve could be rather frosty and at present, Christmas Day looks like being cold and clear with one or two wintry showers
Police are appealing for the public's help to trace a missing Sunderland man.