Young people should be able to stay and keep their talent in the North East and not have to move down south for work, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor has said.

Speaking on a visit to an innovative construction factory in Cramlington, Northumberland Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves and Labour’s mayoral hopeful Kim McGuinness vowed to help keep young people and their talent from moving elsewhere to follow their career passions.

A survey of 2,000 16- to 18-year-olds by the Social Mobility Foundation for the Guardian last September found 85% of youngsters across the North East, Yorkshire, and East of England felt they needed to leave their home towns for better opportunities.

Rachel Reeves told the Echo: “Whether you leave school or college at 18 or go on to do a university degree you should be able to use your skills in the place where you want to live and work.

The Northern Echo: Rachel Reeves (second from left) on a visit to the Merit factory in Cramlington, Northumberland.Rachel Reeves (second from left) on a visit to the Merit factory in Cramlington, Northumberland. (Image: LABOUR)

“People who chose to come to [the region’s] universities, we want them to stay here as well because often they have a great time here at uni but might feel the need to move down south to work. We want people with talent to be able to stay and work in this region.”

Kim McGuinness, who is standing to be the North East’s first elected mayor, added: “I am one of those people, a stubborn stayer who didn’t want to leave the region, and that’s an aspiration a lot of young people who live here have. We need to make that a reality.

“This is the best place in the world, it’s a great place to live.”

“Having a plan as a Labour Mayor working with a Labour government to bring the right industries to the region, to invest in green energy, advanced manufacturing, to invest in our foundation economy our high streets, in our cultural creative industries and the skills that go along with them, I think we’ll be able to attract a huge no of jobs to our region so we can retain talent, and attract it from elsewhere in the country as well.”

The Northern Echo: Kim McGuinness.Kim McGuinness. (Image: LABOUR)

The pair, alongside the party’s candidate for the new Cramlington and Killingworth constituency, spoke to trainees and apprentices at the Merit factory, a firm flipping construction on its head using manufacturing processes to assemble buildings off-site before piecing them together in location.

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Ms Reeves added: “We met some graduate trainees who had come to university, one at Newcastle and two at Northumbria, because of the great degree courses in construction and automation and in engineering and then had seen these jobs and wanted to stay in the North East to take up those opportunities.

“But it was also really good to see three young people who are all from the much more local area doing apprenticeships in welding and mechanical engineering as well, one of whom won the Apprentice of the Year award last year.”