One of the North East’s leading businesswomen has joined the North East LEP’s Enterprise Advisor programme to support better quality careers education in the region’s secondary schools.

Giselle Stewart, Director of Corporate Affairs at video game company Ubisoft, is the latest North East business leader to join the programme, which sees business people from some of the North East’s most successful industries work strategically with senior leaders in secondary schools to shape the quality of careers provision.

The programme is designed to ensure school leavers are prepared for the world of work and have a good understanding of the employment opportunities available to them in the North East.

Giselle Stewart said: “The games industry, and the creative and digital sector as a whole, is a huge growth area for the North East and it’s vital that we’re making young people aware of the opportunities available to them.

“The business community must play an active role in supporting careers education in schools if we want to recruit staff with the right kind of skills. The North East LEP’s Enterprise Advisor programme is all about ensuring teachers and schools can support students to make informed and educated choices about their future.

“I’m delighted to be involved as I’ve been a long time supporter of creating opportunities for young people to enter the industry. This is a great way for me, on behalf of the wider creative and digital sector, to make teachers, schools and students aware of the amazing career avenues available to them.”

The volunteer role will see Gisele partnered with Ponteland Community Middle School in Newcastle. A total of 43 secondary schools have signed up to take part in the programme, reaching from Berwick to South Durham.

Awarded an OBE for services to the game industry in the 2015 New Year’s Honours list, Giselle has been a long time supporter of creating rewarding pathways for young people to enter the sector. In her role as Advisory Board member with the Next Gen Skills Academy, Giselle helped design a qualification for students aged 16+ looking to enter the games, VFX and animation industry. Delivered at Sunderland College, the course is now in its second year.

As well as being the current Chair of the Skills Council for Video Games at Creative Skillset, Giselle has recently been appointed Trustee for NE Futures, a new University Technical College (UTC) in Newcastle. Scheduled to open in 2018, the new UTC will focus on STEM subjects to feed the digital, tech and health sciences sector in the North East.

Giselle also sits on the Board of the new Creative Fuse NE project, which is run by all five of the North East’s universities, and the External Advisory Board of Durham University’s Computer Science Department.

Denis Heaney, Enterprise Coordinator at the North East LEP said: “Giselle is one of the most respected people working in the digital and technology sector today, not just here in the North East, but across the UK.

“She has a wealth of experience as well as a personal interest in supporting development opportunities for young people. She’s exactly the type of person we want as an Enterprise Advisor.

“The role demands someone with a good network and an excellent understanding of the local labour market, something Giselle has in spades.”

The North East LEP’s Enterprise Advisor programme has been running since December 2015. Part of a national initiative developed by The Career and Enterprise Company, Enterprise Advisors work in partnership with Enterprise Co-ordinators to support schools and colleges to navigate the range of possible employer interactions and to help them create a whole school strategy for careers, enterprise and employer engagement.

For more information visit www.nelep.co.uk