People from across the region’s software and science sectors are throwing their weight behind North East Futures UTC, a new super-school which is set to open next September.
Principal designate Dan Sydes has called for support to provide a mentor for every child, with the aim of ensuring the UTC will be the best start for students in its specialist areas of digital technology and health science.
The UTC team is calling on the industry to volunteer in the run-up to the school’s next open evening on January 17.
Each will work with a UTC student to help them better understand the sector, and to prepare them for the world of work. Among the mentors is Sally Blake, an associate producer for games giant Ubisoft. The company employs more than 400 people in Newcastle, and Sally believes the UTC will create a unique opportunity for young people to follow their passion - and pursue a similar career to her own - as early as possible.
She said: “I always loved gaming and I knew when I was at school that it was what I wanted to do. To have the opportunity to follow that path from an earlier age is amazing and I think I would have done it if I had the chance.
“I’m really excited about being a mentor to a student at North East Futures UTC. As a woman working in the gaming industry, it’s great to have the chance to inspire other young females to follow their interests. I feel really lucky to have a job that allows me to do something I love and hopefully I can help someone else to achieve that.”
The school, located adjacent to Newcastle Central Station, will deliver education that is grounded in hands-on experience, with opportunities for students to work closely with industry and to undertake placements with the big-name employers such as Sage, Accenture, Ubisoft, NHS and the University of Sunderland.
Director of corporate affairs at Ubisoft, Giselle Stewart OBE, is on the trustee board of North East Futures and will be acting as a mentor to one of the UTC’s students.
She said: “The whole team behind the UTC absolutely believes in it. The passion is palpable and we know that this can genuinely transform the way that education is delivered in this region.
“The North East tech sector is seeing incredible growth and it is vital we nurture talent and equip the next generation with the right skills to succeed in industry and to continue to drive the development of this important field. The UTC will do that.”
The school welcomes students who are about to enter their Year 10 and Year 12 studies, giving young teenagers the chance to make a fresh start and embark on their GCSEs at a specialist school, as well as providing an alternative to college or sixth form.