Creative students at a college in Gateshead are helping attract the next generation of university applicants after winning a competition to inspire young men to access higher education.

A team of four Year 9 boys from Grace College were announced as winners of the NUFC Foundation FutureMe enterprise challenge.

Their brief for the team, which comprised Cole Egdell, Bobby Kelly, Awet Dessye and Kieran Jones, was to design a storyboard for an advert to encourage young men to think about going to university.

Their idea, which showed a young man seeing his future at university through a virtual reality headset, impressed the judges and has now been brought to life in a filmed advert.

Jamie Arkle, design and reprographics manager at Grace College, explained: “The students designed the storyboard for the film with a brief description of how they wanted it to be portrayed, as though the viewer is seeing it through the eyes of the director, or, in this case, through the eyes of a student.

“Their ideas were absolutely brilliant, but they were nervous about presenting it at St James’s Park in front of the panel of three judges. In the end, they delivered it really well and won their local heat against teams from Newcastle and Gateshead.”

Students involved in the challenge were invited to a launch event at Newcastle University and were coached by Olympian and Commonwealth champion swimmer Chris Cook, who ran a workshop on presentation skills, self-belief and confidence.

Winning the local heat qualified the Grace College boys for the regional finals for schools across the North East, at which they went on to be crowned regional winners.

Head of Upper School at Grace College, Chris Bland, said: “We are delighted for the boys that they not only achieved a place in the regional final but then went on to win it, showing great character to overcome their nerves and give an excellent presentation.”

The team’s prize was to be involved in the process of their storyboard being made into a film, spending a day in a production studio and contributing further ideas.