Youth unemployment is still a major concern here on Wearside. We know that the longer young people are out of work, the harder it becomes to find a job.
The long term social and economic consequences are devastating for the wider community, as well as for the young person.
I was delighted to visit Barclays at Doxford International Business Park where 100 apprentices are being recruited. The scheme offers a year's training as well as a full salary and a job at the end.
Many of the young people had been out of work for some time and have overcome big challenges in their lives.
Apprenticeships offer a bright future for our young people and I hope other employers can follow suit.
This article was originally published in the Sunderland Echo on 21st November 2012.