Former graduates return to help today’s Sunderland students

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WEARSIDE graduates who have forged successful careers in design will be giving current students a helping hand.

A Question Time-style session, organised by the University of Sunderland’s Faculty of Arts, Design and Media as part of the annual Design Employability Day tomorrow, will offer final-year students a chance to liaise with industry professionals, make contacts and improve their portfolios.  

Students will be able to put their questions to the panel of alumni, who include Alex Hedworth, a freelance illustrator who has worked for The Guardian newspaper, Annie Charnley, a graphic designer, Ryan Lewis Daives, director of GospelWare, Jardine Sage, who works for CITV in Manchester, Gill Biddle, who works for the BBC (CBeebies), Alice Rowan, director of Pink Boutique Fashion Brand, Johan Berg, the creative director El-roboto, Michael Turner, a software developer and Lisa Miller, teacher training.

Dozens of students are expected to go along to the Employability Day armed with their individual portfolios of work, to showcase them to the industry experts, who will offer constructive advice.

Shirley Wheeler, head of design at the university, said: “Our first Employability Day last year was such a great success that we wanted to go ahead and make this an annual event.

“This event is just one of the many activities the university offers to ensure our students have the right skills to meet the emerging needs of employers in a competitive jobs market.

“The Employability Day is a great opportunity for our students to find out how those graduates who were once in their shoes managed to get their first steps on the employment ladder.”