New man at the helm of Work Discovery Sunderland

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The Wearside initiative aimed at giving school pupils a taste of the workplace has a new man at the helm.

Work Discovery Sunderland is a year-long programme which involves more than 20 of the city’s secondary schools and includes guest speaker days, sector days which focus on specific growth industries for the city, and Work Discovery Week.

pupils from school's across Sunderland attend Work Discovery Week event held at the Stadium of Light - Nissan's Les Thurlow with Oxclose Community Academy pupils Lewis Robinson, Liam Hind and James O'Donnell

pupils from school's across Sunderland attend Work Discovery Week event held at the Stadium of Light - Nissan's Les Thurlow with Oxclose Community Academy pupils Lewis Robinson, Liam Hind and James O'Donnell

Now North East Business and Innovation Centre chairman Paul McEldon has taken over as co-chairman and will be using his expertise to help the programme grow.

Mr McEldon’s work at the BIC has seen the organisation help create more than 6000 jobs and he believes working with Work Discovery Sunderland can help prepare the workforce of the next generation.

Work Discovery Week 2016, which will take place from June 27 to July 1, will be an intensive five days of activities which includes workshops and practical demonstrations, a careers fair, Dragons’ Den style business challenges and visits to companies.

“Work Discovery Sunderland is a fantastic initiative which is now held up nationwide as a blueprint for bringing businesses and schools together,” said Mr McEldon.

Sunderland Football Club Commercial Director Gary Hutchinson.

Sunderland Football Club Commercial Director Gary Hutchinson.

“From the initial event in 2013 of a week of activities, it has grown into a year-long programme with more than 60 North East businesses of all sizes now involved in some way.”

“I am looking forward to becoming involved and helping Work Discovery Sunderland go from strength to strength.”

He will share the chairmanship with Howard Kemp, head teacher of Sunderland’s Farringdon Community Academy.

“We are delighted to have Paul on board and his expertise in working with businesses will be invaluable,” said Mr Kemp.

Paul replaces Gary Hutchinson, Commercial Director of SAFC, as co-chairman, although the football club will continue to be a key partner in the programme and host the opening and closing days of Work Discovery Week 2016.

“Gary has done a fantastic job in helping Work Discovery Sunderland get to where it is,” said Paul.

“Under his leadership this has become an initiative that has been held up as an example of best practice nationwide.”

Work Discovery Sunderland was set up by Sunderland’s Economic Leadership Board Business Schools Task Group three years ago.

Anyone wanting to get involved should contact Steph Rose at stephanie.rose@sunderland.gov.uk