One of the North East’s major strengths is our workforce.
Over 32,500 people are employed in the region’s ICT sector and we have a well-established market of loyal, skilled employees. This is a huge draw for companies looking to expand their operations with people at the top of their game.
The North East digital workforce is loyal, with companies reporting fewer staff shortages than in other parts of the UK. This, linked to a high percentage of graduates staying in the region after their studies, ensures companies locating here can appoint the right talent from junior level to senior management.
Our tech ecosystem is enhanced by our five universities and their world-leading research excellence in computer science and informatics. There are 67,000 Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students across our five universities and the region has the highest proportion of students studying computer science in England.
All our universities offer specialist courses in gaming and/or immersive technology at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Programmes such as Sunderland University’s Digital Incubator also support the skills pipeline by connecting students and graduates with local studios to work on live projects and research and development.
Our further education facilities are equally focused on developing the next generation of tech pioneers. For example, Gateshead College’s Level 3 Emerging Technologies course provides students with access to PROTO’s specialist kit, such as motion capture and 3D character capture, to work on live projects and connects games students for immersive games jams. Students at Sunderland University are also provided access as part of their courses to create immersive games and content using the specialist kit.
Teesside University also has expertise in immersive technologies and have a student digital production studio – TUCan. TUCan is the university’s innovative in-house digital production studio where their experienced academic staff work with graduates to create R&D solutions and products in animation, immersive technologies, film production, app development, 360, AI and data analytics.
Other colleges and universities, such as Sunderland College, Northumbria University and Teesside University, have built their own studios, providing students with hands-on experience of equipment and projects. The North East Futures University Technical College provides IT, computing and healthcare sciences courses for 14-19-year-olds and is backed by North East-based Accenture, Hewlett-Packard, Sage and Ubisoft.
Employment and skills organisations are also embarking immersive technologies and using the regions expertise to support careers – Newcastle United Foundation are opening an Immersive Hub and will offer interactive careers advice using virtual reality and augmented reality, supplemented with one-to-one careers mentoring.