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Tech company joins forces with colleges to offer degree apprenticeship programme

tombola has partnered with Gateshead, Sunderland and Newcastle Colleges to identify would be talented technology apprentices, and teamed up with University of Sunderland to deliver the 3-year degree level programme.

Commenting on the launch of their new degree apprenticeship programme, Debra Ballantyne, head of people at tombola, said: “Apprenticeship degrees are a fantastic way for creative tech companies like tombola to identify talented young people and offer them a unique and incredible on the job training opportunity.

“We recently invited ten students each from three leading northeast colleges [Gateshead, Sunderland and Newcastle] to spend a week in tombola as part of an innovative and interactive selection process. Even those students who were unsuccessful on this occasion gained a valuable insight and opportunity of work experience.

“The hopeful applicants were challenged to design a new online game in just 4 days and then present this to tombola’s game developers on the final day. The game development and final pitch process gave all candidates a unique opportunity to be a part of life at tombola.

“The level of game design/development and presentation skills of the students we met was really impressive and wowed everyone at tombola. Given most of the students were just 18-21 years old, they were incredibly confident and the standard of what they produced was very high.

“All applicants had completed a gaming or computing course with one of our partner colleges and already had a basic understanding of gaming and design. But they were selected to take part in our week-long selection process because of behavioural traits – how they think and what makes them different.

tombola is selecting students to begin their new degree apprenticeship programme, which will start in the summer.

Depending on their chosen path of study, the students will spend the equivalent of one day per week at University of Sunderland studying and four days working at tombola. Most degree apprentices will study either Software Development, Security or Animation & Design.

Commenting on working with tombola, Simon Underhill, curriculum operations manager, Gateshead College said: “Our courses are about so much more than what happens in the classroom; we focus on helping students to build a foundation of industry relevant skills and knowledge which are then put to the test with commissions and projects with employers.

“We need to teach them the additional skills employers look for like how to network, how to act in a meeting, how to present; taking them away from college and out of their comfort zone to help them build confidence and grow as individuals.

“This project with tombola is a perfect example of that; allowing our students to put into practice the skills they have learnt whilst also building some valuable contacts and showcasing their talents to a fantastic employer which may lead to an apprenticeship.”

Professor Alastair Irons, academic dean of the University of Sunderland’s Faculty of Technology added: “We are really pleased that our existing partnership with tombola is expanding further. Our degree apprenticeships are designed in collaboration with employers to bridge gaps in skills, this endorsement from tombola demonstrates that we are meeting their needs.

“At the University we are investing in our academics and facilities while our programmes incorporate the advanced skills and innovation required to meet the needs of the tech sector.”

The apprentices will complete their degree studies in 3 years and receive an attractive package from day one, which includes all university fees being paid by tombola, a generous starting salary, private gym and healthcare and free meals at tombola’s state of the art new HQ.

tombola is a high growth, market leading international technology company. Headquartered in Sunderland in the north east of England, it has been operating for 12 years, currently employs more than 500 people, has operations in 4 countries and is rapidly expanding.

The company develops high quality, online entertainment, focussed around affordable bingo and its unique version of casino games, bringing people together to play and chat in a friendly, sociable community.