Three students from Sunderland College have been recruited by a leading technology company after impressing bosses with their digital talent.

Tombola selected three digital and computing students from Sunderland College to join their new degree training programme, following an intense industry experience week.

The talented students were identified during a tombola academy initiative, which involved an industry experience week at tombola’s brand new £7 million headquarters at Wylam Wharf in Sunderland. The week culminated in an interactive selection process where students had to work in teams to create a new online game concept and pitch it to the tombola development team.

Ryan Walker, Jack Levitt and Aidan Alsaadoun were chosen out of 40 hopefuls from four different colleges across the North East. They will start their new degree apprenticeship programme in the summer, spending the equivalent of one day a week at the University of Sunderland studying Software Development, Security or Animation and Design, and four days working at tombola. 17-year-old Digital student Ryan, from Seaham, said:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my week at tombola, the working environment and facilities were fantastic. Everyone was so friendly and approachable, we all felt part of the team straight away! I can’t believe I have been offered a place on the degree apprenticeship programme, it really is a dream come true.”

IT student Jack Levitt, who is 17-years-old and lives in Houghton-le-Spring, said:

“The selection process at their impressive new head office confirmed to me why I want to work for tombola and made me determined to succeed in being recruited.  To work full-time whilst working towards a degree is an amazing opportunity and the right path for me.”

17-year-old IT student Aidan Alsaadoun, from Sunderland, added:

“Studying computing at Sunderland College has given me the skills and knowledge I need to progress to a career in the industry. Going to university isn’t for me but being given the chance to work with an exciting, cutting-edge company such as tombola will set me on a fantastic start with my career.”

The Sunderland College students secured three out of only eight apprenticeship roles on offer at tombola.

Jane Reed, Faculty Director for Digital, Creative and Business at Sunderland College, said:

“We’re delighted that our students were given the invaluable opportunity to experience the digital sector first-hand at tombola and showcase their skills to industry professionals.

“We’re extremely proud of the three students whose talents have been recognised and deservedly rewarded with a degree level apprenticeship. It’s a great example of how a successful education and industry partnership can provide outstanding learning, real work skills and employment opportunities for our students.”

Tombola is a rapidly expanding international technology company with additional offices in Gibraltar, Milan and Madrid. It has been operating for 12 years and currently employs more than 500 people. The company develops high quality, online entertainment, focused around affordable bingo and its unique version of casino games.

Debra Ballantyne, Head of People at tombola, said:

“Sunderland College have been great in preparing the students for the world of work and this really came through in their week with us. The students got involved from the moment they walked through our doors and showed enthusiasm, confidence and professionalism throughout.

“We are delighted to be welcoming three students from Sunderland College in August as part of the tombola academy and look forward to our partnership with the College going forward.”

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