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The Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds was in the North East to see how Gateshead College is using digital technology to prepare students for work.

The college demonstrated how they are using Virtual Reality (VR) across all areas of the curriculum including Early Years, Sport and Performing Arts to enhance learning and get their students career ready.

Gateshead College is working with businesses to shape its curriculum and using digital technology in innovative ways to ensure young people have the skills they need now and in the future.

During the visit, students working towards a career in nursey education gave Mr Hinds a demonstration of how they are learning about the development of a foetus using their mobile phones and a VR app.

They explained that, by using the technology, they are more engaged with the subject and will retain the information due to the visual nature of the experience.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

“Gateshead College offers fantastic vocational opportunities to young people in the area and I was delighted to meet some of the students who are excelling in their courses.

“The use of digital technology at the college was fascinating to see, they really are leading the way when it comes to the digital learning experience in all subjects, using it to tap into the talent that clearly exists across the North East.

“From what I have seen today, it is more clear than ever before just how valuable our £24 million Opportunity North East programme will be in building on the work the region is already doing to boost prospects of so many bright young people.”

He also saw a new digital project commissioned by Northumbrian Water where Games students are using VR skills to develop a new tool for application in the water industry.

During the visit Mr Hinds was taken on a tour of the nearby PROTO building, Europe’s first dedicated centre for emerging technology and saw first-hand how the college’s students benefit from the cutting edge facilities on their doorstep.

Judith Doyle CBE, Principal and CEO said:

“I’m really honoured that Mr Hinds has come to Gateshead College to spend time with us and see how we are working differently to ensure our students are the most highly prized in the jobs market.

“We understand how important it is that young people are exposed to lots of different experiences and by working with PROTO, our students are learning from leading organisations in the tech sector and working with new technology as it emerges.”

Mr Hinds was also keen to hear from Gateshead College and local employers about their experiences on trialling the new T Levels. The college has been among a small national group of high-performing providers testing how the new qualifications will work.

The Secretary of State was introduced to managers from Sunderland Software City, Adient and Tombola who are currently working in partnership with the college to support the introduction of T Levels.

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