Six young people have been awarded degrees from the University of Sunderland as they approach the end of their apprenticeships at Northumbrian Water, having worked on projects including international festivals and new communications platforms.

The group embarked on their Degree Apprenticeships in Information Services, run by the water company and the university, in 2016 and have spent the last three years working on a range of projects as they combined earning and learning.

Work carried out by the team has ranged from helping to organise Northumbrian Water’s annual Innovation Festivals which attract thousands of people to the North East from around the world, to leading on the development of the company’s first Alexa Skill, to helping deliver information security services.

The five apprentices are Amber Swift, from Quarrington Hill, Emily Tomlinson, from Durham, Erin Bryden, from Whitley Bay, Josh Laddie, from Chester le Street, Mark Ireland, from Sunderland, and Olivia Dale, from Redcar.

Tracey Greener, Northumbrian Water’s Workforce Development Manager, said: “A lot of people don’t realise that apprenticeships are available at a number of different levels, including those for people who want to work towards a degree.

“It’s been fantastic to see our Degree Apprentices really thrive within the business, working alongside colleagues at all levels of the company, including Directors, to do some really important and often groundbreaking and innovative work.

“Not only have they had three years working with our people, they’ve earned good passes in their degrees and have this great mix of experience and qualifications to take forward with them for the rest of their careers.”