Sunderland students take first steps in digital industry

From left, student Daniel Carrick, Leighton Group account manager Jordan Hind, student Daniel Elstob, Sunderland College principal Anne Isherwood and student Joe Ditchburn.
From left, student Daniel Carrick, Leighton Group account manager Jordan Hind, student Daniel Elstob, Sunderland College principal Anne Isherwood and student Joe Ditchburn.
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Computing students in Sunderland are being given a head-start in the digital industry.

Sunderland College has joined forces with digital delivery company Leighton, to offer students high-quality work-experience placements at its Rainton Bridge headquarters.

Leighton has been working in the digital arena for more than 18 years and supports businesses such as Asda, Sage and British Airways.

Students, Daniel Carrick, Joe Ditchburn and Daniel Elstob, have been on placement at Leighton throughout the summer, working on the recently-developed Footy.com, an e-commerce website for football fans.

Joe, who is studying a Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in IT at the college, said: “Footy.com has given me the unique experience and opportunity to discover what it is like to work in the IT industry.

“Working with the team at Footy.com has helped me expand my skills and has been a valuable experience which will help me progress with my course and career goals.”

As well as work experience for students, the new agreement will see experts from Leighton advising on the college’s curriculum to ensure it meets the region’s skills needs.

Students will also benefit from masterclasses and guest speakers delivered by the company, as well as live projects set by Leighton incorporated into lessons, with students then presenting their ideas to its employees.

Jane Thompson, director of enterprise and commercial development at Sunderland College, said: “Demand for employment in the digital and IT sector in the North East is expected to grow over the coming years, and we believe it is vital to work closely with businesses in this sector to make sure we are giving our students relevant training.”

Lyle McCalmont, chief executive of Leighton, said: “We’re really pleased to announce our partnership with Sunderland College. It’s a great opportunity for us to be working with students in the local area and helping them to develop their skills for their chosen career path.”