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Business & Economy

UK-first creative and digital degree apprenticeship launched in the region

Newcastle College University Centre is launching the UK’s first Creative Digital Design Degree Apprenticeship this September, allowing young people to learn and practice the creative and technical skills that are in high demand by the region’s employers.

Getting into the creative and digital world is a competitive game but now, thanks to the College’s collaboration with the North East’s top digital leaders, a brand-new degree apprenticeship will open up opportunities for even more young people to be part of these exciting industries.

Consulting with leading digital businesses and organisations including Digital Union, Sunderland Software City, Hedgehog Lab, Cargo Creative, Pebble and Helena Hill Consulting, the University Centre has created the three-year apprenticeship to combine interrelated areas of study in typography and graphic design, branding and advertising, fine art and visual communication information and interaction design, photography, data visualisation and moving image.

Thanks to its “day release” model, students will attend Newcastle College University Centre for one day a week across 36 weeks of the year whilst gaining practical skills working in industry. While at college, students will learn how to create impactful and eye-catching creative designs related to digital art, digital graphic design, video, online services and installations, and will work with the latest immersive technologies.

Hannah Matterson, CEO at Digital Union said: “We are thrilled to have come together with Newcastle College University Centre and several of our region’s heads of industry to offer an employer-led course to gain the technical skills we know are in high demand by the digital creative industries in the region.

“This new course also opens up the creative and digital sector to a wider cohort, meaning not just university graduates can get a foot in the door of the industry, but you can also gain a degree-level qualification whilst working in the industry.”

The course will benefit from a hybrid teaching model, using technology which will enable students to study both in-person at Newcastle College University Centre and online. The blend of learning will make the course accessible to young people in the North East and right across the country, something that has attracted interest from employers across the UK, including Amazon, DHL, Land Registry and the NHS.

In addition to the day release model, within each academic year learners will attend a single residential block week to meet and learn from each other and throughout the programme they will receive one-to-one personal tutorials.

Alongside developing technical digital design skills, students will also gain transferable skills and wider knowledge around teamwork, communication, portfolio building and presentation skills.

Nicky Turnbull, director of higher education at Newcastle College, said: “We are excited to offer this new course and help develop the next generation of talent for our booming creative and digital sector. The North East has over 29,000 people working in digital and 15,000 in creative which combined contributes over £2bn to our region’s economy* and the sector keeps growing. The high demand for digital design skills using the latest technologies means this innovative, creative course should help these employers meet their growth potential and provide exciting career opportunities for many more young people.”

Following Government incentives announced in 2020, employers that hire new apprentices not only benefit from their skills and fresh perspective but also from a payment up to £3,000.

Where the apprenticeship salary or employer business size may differ, Newcastle College’s Business Partnership team will offer bespoke end-to-end support for all apprenticeship employers, including apprenticeship funding expertise and onboarding support.

Applications for the Creative Digital Design Degree Apprenticeship are now open for enrolment in September 2021. Find out more and apply via