THE GROUNDBREAKING firm behind an online showcase for student skill is aiming to bridge the gap between the worlds of business and education.

Newcastle-based globalbridge brought together students and regional tech pioneers for a day-long event to highlight the multitude of careers in the digital and software sector.

Partnering with Perfect Image IT Solutions, globalbridge organised a day in the tech industry for students from Thornaby and Freeborough Academies, both based in the Tees Valley.

Young people heard from experienced IT professionals and were given the opportunity to try their hand at design, website development and general troubleshooting when Perfect Image welcomed the students to its North Tyneside headquarters.

Launched in 2016, globalbridge is a pioneering online platform designed to showcase student skills and improve career choices, digitally connecting businesses and higher education institutions with the talent of tomorrow.

Former Durham School director of sport and globalbridge founder, Ben Mason, has already agreed national deals with a number of employers and universities, as well as Middlesbrough Council, which is committed to supporting students by providing the skills to excel in new and emerging industries.

Ben said: “I became increasingly aware of the disconnect between industry and education. I wanted to overcome these obstacles and create mutually beneficial relationships linking firms seeking talent and recently qualified young people facing that first step on the career ladder.

“One of the key issues I keep hearing is how more youngsters are needed in the tech industry and how there is a dearth of young women exploring opportunities in these exciting cutting-edge companies. So, working with Perfect Image, we devised something of a mini-showcase for students to plant a few seeds of what a career in technology might look like and the sort of subjects and qualifications that are desirable in the industry.”

globalbridge is a platform that allows students to showcase their diverse set of skills and engage with business in a safe online environment. Rather than simply list academic achievement, students can upload artwork, musical recitals or create animations to woo potential employers and/or universities.

The firm itself is already engaged with government, education and business groups and leaders as it sets about helping plug both the North East and UK’s skills gap.

Kelly Dillon, CEIAG lead for Teesside Learning Trust, said: “Globalbridge is an exciting opportunity for our students. It provides insight into how they need to present themselves to future employers in an interactive and exciting way.

“It was great for students to hear how globalbridge was born and visit Perfect Image, learning about different roles and how the firm operates. As recent Gatsby research states, employer encounters and experiences are important to ensure young people have the skills and knowledge required to succeed in work. This was an excellent experience that will impact in our students’ futures.”

Perfect Image is proving the perfect partner for the project. The firm delivers applications, data analytics and managed services to businesses.

Sales director, Andy Smith, said: “Like all businesses, we make sure there is a flow of enthusiastic young talent exploring opportunities across the industry. We attend careers events and try to attract the best young people and train them ourselves. This partnership with globalbridge is the perfect way to showcase our sector to young people who will soon be making decisions on their professional futures.

“We have a passionate and experienced team of over 100 people who know how to use technology to make businesses better. The day provided a window on the world of web development and the sort of things that happen in a software development company – hopefully the students enjoyed it.”

As well as traditional information found on a CV, globalbridge provides a platform for students to showcase abilities using a portfolio of videos, images and soundbites, as well as identifying career aspirations and preferred routes into employment, such as apprenticeships and graduate schemes.

Ben added: “Grades alone are not always a key identifier of talent, and globalbridge helps employers match grades with more character-driven attributes, as well as offering opportunities to those who might not have an academic portfolio.

“While firms like Perfect Image who actively engage with students must be applauded, more must be done to help businesses and universities attract the talent they require. That’s why globalbridge works so well – companies can cast their net as wide as they like to search for and engage with talented individuals, in a safe environment, while students and graduates can do the same to hopefully find the career to match their aspirations.”

Sunderland Software City business support specialist, Jeni Banks, said: “Tech is a fantastic way to breach the divide between business and education. globalbridge gives students the opportunity to showcase talents above and beyond their grades and qualifications, while allowing businesses and universities a forum to learn more about potential new recruits.

“We can see nothing but success for this innovative young business, and look forward to seeing the benefits of its ground-breaking software being felt across industry and education for years to come.”

For more information about globalbridge visit www.globalbridge.org.uk