Are these Sunderland graduates the future leaders of our country?

Students who took part in the Frontrunner events in Sunderland.
Students who took part in the Frontrunner events in Sunderland.
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LORD Sugar may have found his apprentice but Sunderland University hopes to root out many more.

The university has been working hard to find the business leaders of the future as part of a new course.

The four-day Frontrunner leadership scheme took place across Sunderland, teaching students skills about what it means to lead, tested their leadership abilities and taught them how to work effectively with others.

Andy Leadbitter, who graduated from the university with a business management degree in 2010, has spent the last year learning the ins and outs of leadership as Students’ Union president.

Andy, 24, said: “The programme helped me enhance my coaching and team working skills, as I was able to help others understand different points of view and also encourage them to get out of their comfort zone to become a leader.

“I am hoping I’ll soon be in a role where I can use the leadership skills and develop them further.”

Fellow student Tobias Barker, 23, has taken the reins from Andy as the university’s new Students’ Union president.

He said: “The Students’ Union Exec team is keen to take advantage of the life-changing opportunities the university provides.

“Hearing from senior level leaders across the region makes you realise what a great community Sunderland really has.

“Hopefully, I can build upon what I’ve learnt and make more students’ voices heard.”

More than 30 students took part in the course which offered views, opinions and advice from high-level executives working in organisations including Barclays bank, the BBC, John Lewis, Nissan, British Airways, Nexus, the police and fire service and Sunderland Football Club.

Professor Julie Mennell, deputy vice-chancellor at the university, said: “We are committed to providing our students with the best possible opportunities to succeed.

“This programme is a fantastic example of our commitment to students, equipping them with the skills and confidence to achieve their own goals, while encouraging and enabling them to play an increasing role in working with us to deliver a first class student experience for all.”

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