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Business & Economy

Apprentice star backs UTC

A North East super-school backed by industry giants has added The Apprentice winner, Michelle Dewberry, to its long list of supporters.

North East Futures UTC will play host to Michelle – who will share her passion for specialist education – at its second open day on Monday, February 19.

The star of the BBC One series, who claimed the winner’s title in 2006 and is currently starring in Sky’s The Pledge, is a huge supporter of UTCs and will explain why, to young people and their parents at the Centre for Life showcase.

Michelle has been vocal in her backing of UTCs which deliver specialist education aligned to the needs of industry. NEF UTC will open its doors in September, delivering education focused on health sciences and digital technology to 14-19 year olds from across the North East. Over seventy percent of initial places at the school have been offered.

Michelle said: “I absolutely believe that choice is critical in raising aspirations and helping young people to realise their potential.

“UTCs offer that choice to young people.  This is a school where young people who have found a passion for digital technology and health sciences can come and learn the skills they will need to succeed in industry.  I think that’s fantastic and I am thrilled to be able to speak about why I am 100 per cent behind this school at the open day on February 19.”

Michelle is one of a number of speakers, who will explain why she is supporting the UTC, which counts the NHS, Ubisoft and Sage among the organisations that support it. Business representatives from the University of Sunderland, NRG, Glythera and RTC will also be throwing their weight behind NEF UTC by attending on the day, to talk to would-be students about the career opportunities that await them – particularly in science.

Dan Sydes, principal at NEF, joined from Ofsted-Outstanding Reading UTC, and said he is excited to see so much support building for the school.

He said: “The backing this school has attracted really is unprecedented. We have some of the largest and most successful businesses in this region rallying behind us, business brains like Michelle Dewberry supporting us, and a team of trustees that really does read like a ‘who’s who’ of science and tech leaders in this part of the world. It’s incredible.

“This enthusiasm is matched by significant investment and an absolute determination to deliver the best possible education for the young people who choose to study with us.

“All of this together creates a compelling offer and one that, I think, young people are grasping with both hands.  To be more than six months from opening and to have attracted the level of interest we have is excellent and we are looking forward to another fantastic open day on February 19, which we expect to – once again – attract hundreds of people.”

The school welcomes students who are about to enter their Year 10 and Year 12 studies, giving young teenagers the chance to make a fresh start and embark on their GCSEs at a specialist school, as well as providing an alternative to college or sixth form. Parents and students are urged to register for up-coming open evenings.

To find out more about North East Futures UTC and its mentors, visit follow @NEF_UTC on Twitter or Instagram, like NorthEastFuturesUTC on Facebook, or sign up to visit the next open evening on February 19 at