Celebrating Sunderland digital arts and media students

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DIGITAL learners are to be celebrated at an exhibition tonight.

Sunderland-based social enterprise Media Savvy Training, which aims to get hard-to-reach people into jobs, is showcasing the talents of students who have completed digital arts and media projects.

Called SHINE, the award-winning company’s first-ever exhibition takes place at the University of Sunderland’s Design Centre, between 7pm and 9pm and is supported by the city council, the university and housing company Gentoo.

Director Dan Makaveli, 32, a Sunderland university graduate, said: “We have toyed with the idea of having an end-of-year exhibition since we started the company and we are delighted that it is finally happening.

“It is moments and events like this that truly reinforce our belief in what we do and why we are doing it. Over the last year, some learners have really shone and achieved great things, both as part of and outside of the course.

“Some of the guys have never been given a real chance and the right encouragement to succeed.

“We feel it is our duty to give them this rare opportunity to be celebrated and be the centre of attention and we are delighted and we are delighted to finally be able to realise our vision for SHINE.”

The exhibition, which will remain open to the public until August 15, is dedicated to Dan’s friend Gavin Hardy, who died in a motorbike accident near Bishop Auckland last month.

Lisa Miller, who organised the exhibition, said: “It has been a privilege to get to know our learners, working with them not only to achieve educational goals.”

Established in 2010, Media Savvy holds workshops for disadvantaged people, including offenders, the mentally ill, refugees and young people excluded from mainstream education.

The not-for-profit firm was named Best Start Up Business in the North East in the Lloyds TSB Enterprise Awards in 2012.