Numbers up? Sunderland bingo giant teams up with college to train apprentice game developers

L-R Phil Cronin (Tombola), Anne Isherwood (Sunderland College) with Ian Walshaw (Tombola) at Tombola HQ
L-R Phil Cronin (Tombola), Anne Isherwood (Sunderland College) with Ian Walshaw (Tombola) at Tombola HQ
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SUNDERLAND College is to team up with the biggest online Bingo Company in Europe to train the next generation of hi-tech talent.

The tombola Academy will be based at the company’s Sunderland head office in Wylam Wharf, which employs more than 200 people in Sunderland.

The company, one of the largest employers of game and web developers in the North East, develops all of its market-leading online games and will recruit apprentices and graduates.

Phil Cronin, tombola Ltd chief executive, said: “Tombola is the market leader in Europe and we believe much of our success is down to our unique IP, which is all designed and developed in the North East.

“Finding the next generation of imaginative developers and inventive thinkers is a priority and a challenge for the company.

“We want to attract and develop the best talent from the region to work with tombola to originate new games and develop our overall online proposition.”

Anne Isherwood, principal of Sunderland College, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering such an important Sunderland company in this new, exciting venture.

“Software development and the digital industries are areas of specialism in the region and it’s important that companies like tombola know that there is a steady stream of well-trained students with the right skills and attitude ready to fill their vacancies.

“As a college, it’s important that local companies know we have the flexibility to create bespoke solutions to their training and employment needs.”

Ian Walshaw, head of IT for tombola, described the culture of tombola as “perfect” for technology specialists and enthusiasts.

He said: “Tombola is all about people and we want to develop university and college leavers who are smart and enthusiastic about we do.

“We already work with the region’s Universities to recruit graduates but we’re opening doors to apprentices for the first time to give us the next generation of game and web developers.”

“All of our developers and designers enjoy a lot of autonomy and access to leading-edge technology.”

Apprentice game developers at the tombola Academy will learn about the phases of game creation from the early design to the release date. Apprentice web developers will learn all the aspects of creating a website.

Mr Walshaw added: “The 12-month apprenticeship at the tombola Academy is aimed at those who are really passionate about software development - particularly games and web applications.”

“The tombola Academy will provide an alternative to university; training will take place at our head office, it will be online-oriented and very interactive.

“With some initiative and determination, apprentices will over time be able to move into senior development roles within the team and one day hopefully into a project leading role.

“We have partnered with Sunderland College to ensure the chosen applicants can align a first class College education with our hands on training.”