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BUSINESSES from across the region had the chance to find out more about how they can throw their weight behind a new super-school at an event this week.

North East Futures UTC, which is due to open in September, hosted its first Partner Breakfast at NBS’s Old Post Office building yesterday.  The event was a chance for companies to learn about how they can engage with the UTC and support the next generation of skilled people in the worlds of digital tech and health sciences.

The brand new 14-19 school, which is opening in the Stephenson Quarter, Central Newcastle, has been backed by leaders of industry from across the region, many of whom were in attendance on Thursday.  The UTC’s principal Dan Sydes shared with attendees how the school hopes to supply the skills that the sectors will need to thrive in the future.

NBS is just one of the business supporters of the school to commit to providing mentors, to guide UTC students through their studies.

Helen Whitfield, chief operating officer at NBS, said the organisation was delighted to lend its support to the school.

She said: “As a business, NBS is fully supportive of, and indeed incredibly excited by the opening of UTC. We are acutely aware that we need a skilled workforce in the future and this is one way we can ensure the next generation coming through are getting the best experience possible.

“The ambition of the UTC is to offer every pupil a mentor, and we are delighted to be able to help them achieve this. There has already been a keen interest from NBS colleagues who want to get involved and we are expecting to be able to supply at least 10-15 mentors for this excellent programme. There is so much value to be gained by this two-way learning and supportive relationship, the mentors have as much to learn from the mentees and I look forward to this value coming back into our business.”

Leading talent from digital tech and health sciences have pledged support for the school including Ubisoft, the NHS and Sage.  Each mentor will work with a UTC student to help them better understand the sector, and to prepare them for the world of work and Thursday’s event was a chance for businesses not currently working with the school to find out more about how they can build a relationship and tap into the skills pool the school will offer when it takes in its first cohort of young people.

Principal Dan Sydes said: “We have had some incredible support so far from businesses in the region, and this event was an opportunity to talk to many more about how they can support a school that – ultimately – will support them with skilled people in the future.

“Health sciences and digital technology are two buoyant sectors in the North East and there is a huge opportunity for this region to continue its rapid growth in these areas by developing more skilled people.  North East Futures UTC is about just that, so it’s in the interests of businesses in these sectors to support us, and of course, that will be a mutually beneficial relationship for the UTC and its students.”

The new school – 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, that are behind the initiative.

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.

To find out more about North East Futures UTC and its mentors, visit www.nefuturesutc.co.uk follow @NEF_UTC on Twitter or Instagram, like NorthEastFuturesUTC on Facebook.

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