From Btec To Boardroom: Studying Holds The Key To Success

Issue 53

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 he’s 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 college’s recreational areas; raising awareness of its Northern Stars enterprise society, which is focused on developing the region’s future entrepreneurs.

Becoming involved in the college’s 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.

We’re now four years old, employing 12 people including a former Gateshead College student, have a growing turnover and we’re 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 President’s 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 College’s support and direction from the very beginning, NewGen Creative wouldn’t 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, they’ll 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.

What’s so great about the placements is not just the real-world experience the students receive, but also the digital badges they’re 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 student’s T-levels, complement their work experience, but it’s 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 I’m able to help teach and train the future talent of the sector. I know exactly what it’s 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 can’t wait to get it up and running.”

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