Career horizons broaden for local children

Young people in Gateshead are learning new skills linked to the region’s growing industries thanks to a new business and education partnership.

Gateshead College, Gateshead Council and key local employers have teamed up to develop Work Inspiration Gateshead, a programme of careers activities which inspire, inform and prepare young people in Gateshead for further study and work.

The partnership was created to address recent statistics which show that the North East region has the highest rate of youths who are not in employment, education or training. It was also reported that only 5% of young people found out about the career they were interested in by visiting a local organisation with their school or college.

In its first event, children from Cardinal Hume Catholic School, Thomas Hepburn Community Academy and Lingey House Primary School were invited to the Work Inspiration Gateshead Get Into Tech day. The event, held at Speigeltent near the BALTIC, allowed children to gain advice from industry professionals and try new tech activities to encourage possible future careers in the technology sector.

Activities included VR demonstrations, 3D modelling, robotics and a green screen workshop, while students were also given advice and guidance from three leading local employers, digital construction specialists NBS, digital business network Digital Union and digital animation studio Kuro Dragon.

Gateshead College’s principal and chief executive, Judith Doyle, said: “Our aim is to provide opportunities for young people to be educated, informed and ambitious. We want them to be inspired by the wide range of career opportunities available to them and be clear on the different paths into those careers.

“By teaming up with Gateshead Council, local schools and employers, we can show young people that there are so many career choices within the North East which they may have never been aware of. Through events and partnerships like this we can encourage the next generation to be confident about making the right decisions for their future.

“We want to expand the horizons of the region’s young people while also retaining the talent in the North East, addressing skills gaps and helping the region to prosper.”

The event was also supported by Go North East, who provided transport for the schoolchildren.

Councillor Gary Haley, Gateshead Council Cabinet Member for Economy said: “We want Gateshead to lead the way in the UK for brilliant careers advice and work inspiration.

“By working with Gateshead College and the region’s leading employers we can provide inspirational and engaging events which will encourage young people to experience and explore different and exciting career options first hand.

“Events like this also benefit local employers and business. Through developing knowledge and encouraging interest in jobs and sectors which children know little about, we can also protect local businesses against the risk of future skills shortages.”

To introduce more opportunities for young people who are interested in the technology sector, Gateshead College recently launched a Level 3 programme in Virtual and Augmented Reality – the first of its kind in the UK.

To find out more about Gateshead College and the courses on offer, visit www.gateshead.ac.uk/employer