A campaign by the National Apprenticeship Service to create apprenticeship places in the North East of England is being hailed as a huge success after surpassing its original target of 100 apprentices in 100 days to finish with 1,355 apprenticeship starts.

The ‘100 in 100 campaign’, launched in January in association with the Journal and Evening Gazette newspapers and many of the region’s colleges and learning providers, was so successful initially that it was renamed the ‘500 in 100 campaign’. That revised figure was passed with five weeks to go.

John Wayman, regional director of the National Apprenticeship Service said: “Achieving 1,355 Apprenticeships in 100 days is an absolutely outstanding achievement and I am totally overwhelmed but extremely delighted.

“We never doubted the campaign would be successful, but it has continually surpassed all our aspirations. We are proud to have played a part in helping to launch the careers of hundreds of young people in the North East, and supplying local businesses with first class committed employees who can contribute to their organisation’s future growth and success.”

Skills minister, John Hayes said: “I congratulate the Journal and Evening Gazette, the North East’s colleges and training providers and the National Apprenticeship Service for working together to create 1,355 apprenticeships in the North East region over the last three months.

“This is a remarkable achievement that will help change the way this country values vocational skills.