Sunderland students’ River Wear boat trip plan wins praise from business leaders

Coun Mel Speding with (far right) Gary Hutchinson and some of the winning team from Portland Academy
Coun Mel Speding with (far right) Gary Hutchinson and some of the winning team from Portland Academy
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A PROPOSAL to run boat trips along the Wear helped students scoop an award in Sunderland’s first Work Discovery Week.

Youngsters presented their answers to a range of problems posed by business leaders on how to boost tourism and business in the city.

The winner of the morning session was Portland Academy’s team, which created a video to show how boat tours could highlight the area’s tourist attractions.

The afternoon session was won by Southmoor School, with its detailed suggestions for a food and drink festival, computer gaming festival and a young people’s international football tournament.

“Their presentations were fantastic,” said Gary Hutchinson, co-chairman of the group which organised the week.

“The young people came up with some incredibly imaginative ideas and had really put in an amazing amount of thought and effort.”

Gary was one of a panel of 10 business experts who watched the presentations, joined by representatives from companies including Sunderland Software City, Nissan, Calsonic Kansei, Sunderland City Council and Grundfos.

Work Discovery Week – Sunderland 2013 saw 1,500 pupils and 40 businesses in a range of activities.

The event has been such a success that a repeat is already being planned, kicking off on June 30 next year. “We are delighted with the way that so many companies and schools got behind the very first Work Discovery Week and we’ve had nothing but positive feedback,” said Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson.

“It’s fantastic that we’ve been able to announce so early that we will be doing it all again next year.”

Many organisations supported the week, including Sunderland College, Grundfos, Gentoo, Sunderland University, The National Apprentice Service, Arriva, SAFC and the North East Chamber of Commerce.