Lord Adonis has thrown his weight behind The Journal’s Proud to Back Apprenticeships campaign, calling it a blueprint for other regions to follow.
The Government minister who spearheaded the creation of academies said the campaign will go a long way towards tackling the current youth unemployment crisis facing the North East.
He said mass youth unemployment is caused in large part by the weakness of technical education and the shortage of youth apprentices.
Lord Adonis urged North East companies, both large and small, to tackle this crisis with bold action.
“I strongly support The Journal’s campaign for more young apprentices,” he said. “The biggest challenge we face as a country is overcoming youth unemployment.
“Apprentices are vital to providing young people with a decent living. But we need every company to be offering apprenticeships.
“Many leading employers in the North East are offering brilliant opportunities for apprentices but we now this to become the norm.
“I applaud The Journal for encouraging companies to take on apprentices and I think a campaign like this should be adopted by the other UK regions.”
The former transport secretary, who headed up a report into the future spending priorities of the North East, believes action must be taken at a local level.
“It cannot all be done by Government ministers in London,” he said. “The private sector needs to help itself and play its part in shaping the country’s future.
“It’s important to work with the private and voluntary sectors in innovative ways, to reform the quality and quantity of apprenticeships.”
The Labour peer has previously accused the Tory-led government of standing idly by and presiding over a reduction in the number of youth apprenticeships.
He said the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills – responsible for apprenticeships – had revealed that four of its largest agencies; the Ordnance Survey, the Met Office, Companies House and the Land Registry have no apprentices and only four staff under the age of 21 between them.
However, Hexham’s Conservative MP Guy Opperman has taken on a business administration apprentice in his constituency office.
Jade Scott, from Prudhoe, was handed a year-long contract after her successful office apprenticeship.
Prime Minister David Cameron last month unveiled a new generation of apprenticeships designed to drive down youth unemployment and boost vocational training for thousands of young people.
More than 60 companies - including Mini owners BMW, BAE Systems, Microsoft and Barclays - have signed up to be “trailblazers” for the new-style apprenticeships. The schemes have been developed in response to last November’s report by entrepreneur Doug Richard, which called for the status and quality of apprenticeships to be more clearly defined.