September 1, 2018
Nurturing and developing the next generation of industry talent is a vital step towards creating a strong, successful economy. Here in the North East, Gateshead College is teaming up with employers across a wide range of sectors to ensure that businesses have access to the skills they need both now and in the future.
The college works in partnership with hundreds of employers to create valuable opportunities for students to give them that all-important employment edge, enabling them to get ahead in the jobs market. Nowhere is this more evident than in the partnership with Newcastle Eagles, one of the top championship basketball clubs in the country.
For several years, the two organisations have been helping talented athletes get their foot on the career ladder and providing work experience opportunities for students who want to pursue a career in other sectors.
Take, for example, Themba Yabantu, who was called up to the Eagles’ senior squad earlier this year after completing a Level 3 BTEC in Sport at Gateshead College.
Themba – who is currently studying a Level 2 in Health and Fitness at the college’s Academy of Sport – caught the attention of the Eagles’ head coach Fab Flournoy after putting in some strong performances for the Academy’s basketball team and the Eagles School of Excellence under-23 side in Division 4 of the National Basketball League.
Gateshead College and Newcastle Eagles are also helping aspiring industry professionals to gain vital employability skills and work experience through a dedicated enterprise programme. Students from the college spend time at the Eagles’ premises, working on a range of projects designed to test their business acumen, adaptability and communication and teamwork skills.
The initiative saw 15 level three business students take control of the club ahead of a recent match to showcase and develop their sales and marketing skills. They were tasked with increasing ticket sales, boosting the team’s social media following and growing the number of sign-ups to the club’s database. To achieve this, they worked together to devise an intensive seven-day marketing plan which included activities such as managing the club’s social media channels, sourcing and selling club merchandise and organising photo opportunities with club mascot Swoop.
The tasks were designed to give students a realistic view of the how a business is run, an insight into the type of job they could take on in the future, and the chance to gain and develop valuable skills sought by employers.
Paul Blake, managing director of Newcastle Eagles, says: “The students became a vital part of our workforce on match day and the productivity of our operations increased as a result.
To work in our business, you need good organisational and admin skills, as well as sharp sales and marketing acumen.
“We have a longstanding relationship with Gateshead College and we’ve benefited from the skills of students from a wide range of disciplines, including business management and leisure and tourism. It’s vital that organisations work closely with top education providers – as Gateshead College is – to help prepare students for the world of work.
“Several of the students have returned to the club to gain additional work experience and as we expand the business, there may be scope to turn these volunteering opportunities into full-time apprenticeships.”
Chris Toon, deputy principal of Gateshead College, adds: “We work with the Eagles and many other organisations to create valuable experiences for students to build on their knowledge gleaned from their lessons. It’s a great addition to their CVs and helps to give them the employment edge when it comes to finding a job.”
Companies interested in working with the college to help shape their curriculum and develop business talent through a range of opportunities, including work experience and mentoring, visit www.gateshead.ac.uk/employer.