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College aims to put city on cultural map

Neil Paterson, owner of Digitalcrush, Jane Reed, the college’s head of visual and performing arts, Jane Thompson, the college’s director of enterprise and commercial development, and Declan Unsworth, Digitalcrush apprentice

Sunderland College has announced plans to boost apprenticeships in the creative industries as part of the city’s ongoing drive to be recognised as a cultural destination.

The college is launching a range of apprenticeship programmes within this sector following extensive consultation with organisations and businesses related to the creative industries.

It will be offering seven new frameworks to support the training of apprentices in costume and wardrobe, technical theatre, design, community arts, live events and promotion, photo imaging, and sound recording, engineering and studio facilities.

To celebrate the move, Sunderland College is holding a launch event on Wednesday 8 July where employers in the industry can find out more about the programmes and how it can benefit them.

Jane Reed, the college’s head of visual and performing arts, said: “It is an exciting time for the creative industries in the region and particularly in Sunderland, which is taking great strides to promote and increase its cultural prowess.

“The Sunderland Cultural Partnership, which aims for the city to be recognised regionally and nationally for the quality and range of its creative industries, is a driving force behind the cultural renaissance. We are expecting to see significant growth in the creative, IT and digital sectors over the next few years and, as a college, we believe it is crucial to support organisations by offering relevant high-quality skills training that will meet demand.”

Sunderland College has already been working in partnership with North East-based visualisation studio, Digitalcrush, to train an apprentice in 3D modelling.

Declan Unsworth, aged 17, began his apprenticeship last September, and following the success of this programme, the college has decided to grow its creative apprenticeship provision.

Neil Paterson, owner of Digitalcrush, said: “We were in a strong enough position to offer an apprentice post to a young, fresh-minded individual with the willingness to learn and at the same time, bring new ideas to the company. As a result of taking on Declan, we have been able to expand our services and obtain new business, as well as being able to turn projects around at a quicker rate.

“Sunderland College has been very professional every step of the way. Initially, we were a little unsure of the apprentice journey, but with the help of the college we are now up to speed. I would advise all employers in creative industries to certainly consider the option of taking on an apprentice – there are lots of young individuals who are prepared to learn and work hard. It’s a direct route into industry that is coupled with the experience of college life, a win win from my point of view.”

The Creative Careers Apprenticeships Launch will feature guest speaker Rob Lawson, board member of The Customs House, who will outline the changing cultural landscape of the region, his work with Sunderland Cultural Partnership and how apprenticeships could play a vital role in this sector.

Employers who attend the event will also be given an overview of apprenticeships, how they work, financial incentives, individual frameworks, the expertise of college staff and the support Sunderland College can offer.

There will be the opportunity to meet the college’s Apprenticeship Team and industry professionals who will help to deliver the programmes, and take part in guided tours of the state-of-the-art visual and performing arts facilities.

Organisations interested in attending the Creative Careers Apprenticeships Launch should register by Monday 22 June. To find out more or to book a place at the event, click here.



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