Just four years since completing a TV and film production course at Gateshead College, Alex Henderson is now Managing Director of NewGen Creative, an award-winning digital creative start up that provides a range of services to businesses and organisations across Europe.
Here, he discusses the continued growth of NewGen Creative, his long-lasting relationship with Gateshead College, and how hes working with them to develop the digital media talent of the future through NewGen Academy. I remember my first day at Gateshead College. After being introduced to my tutor and the key modules of my studies, I just knew digital creative design was the path for me.
The game changing moment arrived during a study break one afternoon when the question: Want to be your own boss? popped up on the screen in one of the colleges recreational areas; raising awareness of its Northern Stars enterprise society, which is focused on developing the regions future entrepreneurs.
Becoming involved in the colleges enterprise society really turned my head in understanding what it takes to start your own business. I gained valuable knowledge and experience in how to turn an idea into a business reality. It was through the society that an incubator scheme with Gateshead Council was organised and this is where NewGen Creative got off the ground.
Were now four years old, employing 12 people including a former Gateshead College student, have a growing turnover and were going from strength to strength.
More importantly, my relationship with Gateshead College continues; their help and contacts within the business community has provided some amazing opportunities, which included speaking at a North East England Chamber of Commerce Presidents Club lunch. The college has also directly helped to build our portfolio through employing us as a creative partner, developing a 3D virtual tour for all of their campuses.
Without Gateshead Colleges support and direction from the very beginning, NewGen Creative wouldnt be as successful as it is today. Since I finished my course, those tutors I worked closely with have been massively helpful in assisting me to realise my dream and are genuinely interested in the progression of the business.
When we first set up NewGen Creative, a key aim was to help get young people into the creative and digital sector. We wanted to create bigger and better opportunities for them to pursue digital media careers. To my absolute delight, this has now been made possible through a private six figure investment sum to establish NewGen Academy. NewGen Academy offers a 90-day work placement programme at NewGen Creative, where T-level (a new technical based qualification that will be rolled out next year) students from Gateshead College work on real life campaigns and jobs.
Through it, theyll gain exposure to various learning environments from video production and animation to virtual reality and web and app development, shadowing the team in delivering high quality creatives for our clients, day in day out.
Whats so great about the placements is not just the real-world experience the students receive, but also the digital badges theyre able to attain, in specific creative and digital skills and software, from professional production practices to games engines and even business admin.
Accredited by Gateshead College, these badges will enhance students T-levels, complement their work experience, but its also an extra digital qualification for those entering the workplace, giving them that competitive advantage when applying for their first job.
We welcome the first students in November and I feel so proud that Im able to help teach and train the future talent of the sector. I know exactly what its like to be in their shoes and understand their starting point.
Working in partnership with Gateshead College, the NewGen Academy will give young people the best possible platform to succeed in the industry, filling them with the confidence to reach their full potential. I cant wait to get it up and running.