FIRMS in a Tees Valley town yesterday announced the creation of up to 39 apprenticeships and training opportunities across three different sectors.

The apprenticeships in the construction, engineering and education sectors comes as The Northern Echo aims to increase opportunities for young people through our Foundation for Jobs campaign.

Darlington based Cleveland Systems Engineering yesterday announced it was taking on two further apprentices next month after winning new orders from Cummins, which is also based in the town.

In addition Southdale, which has its regional office in Darlington announced it would create up to 35 new apprenticeships and training opportunities across the North-East and North Yorkshire this year.

Darlington School of Mathematics and Science has also taken two apprentices onto its staff.

Cleveland Systems Engineering, which specialises in the design and installation of control systems used in manufacturing and process industries, initially intended to add one apprentice to the eight it already trains.

But after being unable to pick between Joanne Alden, 18, and Stephen Searle, 17, the company's managing director Tam Ashcroft decided to take on both.

As well as Cummins the Lingfield Way firm's clients include Perkins Engines, United Biscuits and Coca Cola.

Mr Ashcroft, himself a former apprentice, who set up the firm in 1995, said: "Taking on apprentices was about more than just adding to our team.

"It was about giving something back and presenting these young people an opportunity to begin a career in engineering."

Mr Ashcroft worked with South West Durham Training (SWDT) to identify the new recruits, who will start at the firm next month.

Both are currently undertaking training at SWDT's Core facility in Newton Aycliffe.

"Both Joanne and Stephen will, I am sure, play a part in the growth and development of the business as we look to secure further work in the future," Mr Ashcroft added.

Charl Erasmus, operations manager at SWDT said: "Cleveland Systems Engineering is a highly technical company that requires a team with an extremely specific and specialised skill set, combining electrical and engineering as well as software expertise.

"Stephen and Joanne are both very hardworking and enthusiastic young people and I am sure this, combined with the skills they have learned at our centre will equip them."

Construction and development firm Southdale said it aimed to create four apprenticeships at each of its sites following the receipt of more than 300 CVs from young people during the first two months of 2012.

Southdale's regional director Trudie McCormick said: "This volume of interest reflects the levels of enthusiasm for work in the North East, especially at a time when there are growing numbers of young people not in education, employment or training."

Meanwhile Emma Wright and Robyn Smith are getting to grips with working life at Darlington School of Mathematics and Science.

The 19-year-olds are being trained on reception and in the library at the academy, which is one of the fastest improving schools in the country.

Both are working towards a Level 3 diploma in business and administration.

DSMS head teacher Calvin Kipling said: "The quality of candidates for the apprenticeships was astounding and Emma and Robyn have fitted in extremely well with students, staff and parents."

The Northern Echo's Foundation for Jobs, in association with Darlington Partnership, aims to create at least 100 apprenticeship places and 100 internships at firms in the borough, as well as helping 1,000 youngsters establish formal links with local companies. .

For more details on how you can get involved go to northernecho. co. uk/ foundationforjobs