The Duke of York has been in Sunderland today to officially launch new higher and degree apprenticeships at the city's university.
Attended by key regional employers, existing degree apprentices and civic leaders, the event shared the benefits of the new model designed to build higher level skills and support business growth.
Vice-Chancellor Shirley Atkinson welcomed the Duke to the university and asked him to say a few words.
She said: “We were honoured to welcome HRH The Duke of York to our university.
"He is a great advocate of raising aspirations and understands the importance of education, skills and entrepreneurship in supporting, particularly young people, to have successful and rewarding careers.
"His work to ensure Britain has the workforce and entrepreneurial culture to remain a global economic leader very much chimes with our own focus and impact at the university, and it’s very positive to receive his support and endorsement of our work.”
Guests were told how higher and degree apprenticeships enable both large and small organisations to transform their performance by enhancing the skills of existing employees, as well as attracting fresh talent, using the apprenticeship levy and government funding.
The Duke was also given a tour of the university’s new Living Lab in the recently-completed Sciences Complex.
The pioneering facility is designed to change how healthcare professionals are trained, and how health partners collaborate, to improve patient care in the North East region.
The Vice-Chancellor thanked The Duke for visiting the university and invited him to unveil a plaque commemorating his visit.
He was then presented him with a piece of glass created at the National Glass Centre, which is now part of the university.