Sunderland schools get to grips with the latest technology

Young people from Sunderland discovered the future job prospects in the world of new technology at a special sector event held this week.

Pupils from schools across the city will get the opportunity to try everything from the latest in virtual reality headsets to getting the inside track on how apps are developed, as part of the latest sector day organised by Work Discovery Sunderland.

Working in partnership with Sunderland Software City, the event is being held at the Sunderland Software Centre, Tavistock Place, where students will get the opportunity to talk to experts in the field, take part in hands-on demonstrations and visit a careers fair where they can find out more about the job opportunities on offer.

The Work Discovery Sunderland programme has grown out of the city’s Work Discovery Week, which this year runs from June 29 to July 3 and brings together companies from across the region to work with pupils from schools across Sunderland in an intensive week of activities.

Throughout the year Work Discovery Sunderland also organises a range of inspirational speaker days and sector days, which previously have covered areas such as health, manufacturing, the utilities and hospitality.

Among the organisations taking part on the day will be leading technology services company, Accenture, which will be demonstrating Google Glass and a range of apps.

The event will also feature speakers from global computer company HP, who will talk about job opportunities in the North East while Sunderland-based organisation, Saggezza, will tell the young people about their work in developing bespoke software solutions.

The careers fair will include representatives from a range of education and training organisations along with the University of Sunderland, which will be demonstrating Oculus Rift – the newest virtual reality headsets – on their stand.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for young people in Sunderland to see the variety of job opportunities available in this rapidly growing sector,” said Gary Hutchinson, co-chair of the Sunderland’s Economic Leadership Board Business Schools Task Group, which set up Work Discovery Sunderland.

“There are going to be a range of exciting organisations taking part, from global brands to companies who are making a name for themselves here in the North East.

“This day will give the pupils a chance to get access to a wealth of information and expert advice.”

Amy Porter, Skills Manager for Sunderland Software City said: “Providing young people with the skills and understanding to pursue careers in technology is vital to the long-term growth and success of the industry, not just here in the North East but across the UK.

The IT sector is a major employer in the region so engaging with children while at school, educating them about the different career opportunities within technology and getting them excited about different types of technology through sector days is a great way to open their eyes to the opportunities available to them on their doorstop.”

This Work Discovery sector day forms part of a week of activities at Sunderland Software Centre to mark the launch of the North East and Tees Valley Digital Catapult Centre North East and Tees Valley, which will be based there.

The new centre is one of only three regional Digital Catapult Centre’s to be set up across the UK, and will provide a physical space for start-ups and small businesses in the creative and technology sectors to rapidly develop and showcase their digital ideas and products.

The Digital Catapult Centre North East and Tees Valley will also run a programme of rapid development and research, focussing specifically on the controlled delivery and security of data in a bid to increase information sharing among businesses and organisations and to open up new business models and revenue streams.