TODAY the Echo launches its Options campaign to help give school and college leavers the best possible start in life.
Wearside has one of the worst problems with youth unemployment in the country with 8.4 per cent of all under-25s not in education, employment or training (NEET).
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) found Sunderland had the second-worst rate of youth unemployment in the country during a study in 2009, though figures have improved slightly since then.
In our week-long campaign, the Echo will profile all the options available to those finishing school and college.
Derek Freeman, from Sunderland’s Milltech Training Ltd, has been working with the Echo on the campaign.
He said: “We do have a big problem with youth unemployment and one of the best ways of beating that is to stop them being unemployed in the first place.
“We need to reach youngsters at an early stage and get them into employment and training.”