Online bingo firm Tombola sets up talent academy in Sunderland

The Tombola Academy's first set of students (L-R) Jake Artley, Matthew Gilmore,''Emma Hollingsworth, Sam Tague, Jake Rowe, Matthew Hurst, Adam Dixon, Declan Taylor, Reece Scott, ''Hayley Barnes, Andrew Welsh and Lewis Gardner.
The Tombola Academy's first set of students (L-R) Jake Artley, Matthew Gilmore,''Emma Hollingsworth, Sam Tague, Jake Rowe, Matthew Hurst, Adam Dixon, Declan Taylor, Reece Scott, ''Hayley Barnes, Andrew Welsh and Lewis Gardner.
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THE UK’s biggest bingo firm has recruited the first students to its top talent academy.

The Tombola Academy, based at the company’s Sunderland headquarters, was launched in July.

Now it has recruited its first 19 apprentices and graduates to become the next generation of hi-tech talent.

Phil Cronin, chief executive of Tombola Ltd, said: “Tombola is one of the largest employers of game and web developers in the North East so it’s vital for us to make sure we attract and develop the best young talent.

“We launched the Tombola Academy to nurture local talent and provide graduates and apprentices with the foundation for a career in the software industry at Tombola. We’re eager to find technology specialists and enthusiasts alike to work with us to originate new games and develop our overall online proposition.”

Ian Walshaw, head of IT for Tombola, added: “We’re thrilled that the first intake of students have passed through the doors of the Tombola Academy and have started on a programme of training that will help them to build a long-term career with us.

“The academy is a strategic, long term approach to help resolve our future recruitment needs and we have high hopes of its success.

“Tombola is a people company and the culture is perfect for those who are enthusiastic about what we do.

“All of our developers and designers are empowered in their day to day activities and are able to work freely with access to leading-edge technology.

“Just recently we invested £1m refreshing our Sunderland head office to create a modern and enjoyable working environment.”

Twelve university graduates have joined the academy after completing degrees including Character Animation, Games Programming and Computer Science from regional universities.

Graduate Kris Deacon, 21, said: “I’m really enjoying being part of the Tombola Academy as we’re receiving brilliant on-the-job training in a really friendly work environment.

“As a recent graduate, it’s brilliant to already be getting the experience I need to help advance my career.”

Tombola has also welcomed seven apprentices to the academy after partnering with Sunderland College.

The 12-month apprenticeships are designed to provide work-based learning while the apprentices also work towards a NVQ qualification.

Reece Scott, 18, said: “The Tombola Academy is a fantastic opportunity for me to advance my skills in web development and I’m really enjoying working for such a successful company.”

Tombola is one of the leading employers in the North East, employing more than 200 people in the region.