Impact Report 2021

Page 1



THANK YOU Your donations enable us to enhance the experience and potential of our students, improve our state-of-the-art facilities and further our world-leading research. This year, your support has been more valuable than ever. Thanks to you, we have been able to support our students during extremely challenging times and to continue to ensure that all students, regardless of background, are able to excel. That is why we are so pleased to share this report with you. It showcases the incredible difference your support has made. You’ll read about our Tough Times Appeal, which provided a lifeline to students experiencing hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic and you will find out about how Northumbria alumni have been supporting the University since they graduated. None of this would have been possible without supporters like you. Your generosity and belief in our potential has been transformational and has meant that, even in the most challenging times, our students can face the future with confidence and optimism. 3

Dan B aird, F ounde Gradu r of In ate of finity North 27 for Enterp umbria med in rise Pro with t 2017. gramm he bac e king th eir

Emm “Eng agin anue l Mek week g during owul th end h u elped e enterp r m e busin to ac ise experie q ess e xperie uire skills ntial and nce”

17. in 20 med r ir o e f g th ty 27 ackin nfini b I f e o h er ht ound ia wit mbr ird, F u a h B t r o Dan of N me uate gram o r Grad P e is r p r Ente

ert Nigel Gilb idual to be as an indiv g lin e fe g in s every d d ar e rew body ne “It’s a very ople. Every e p lp t” e e h g able to they can advantage

Louise “We’ve Liddon ha d pa st st some fanta s tic u d e nt s who are lectures fro a s h ea m now lth psy cholog working ists.”


gg Samuel Cle ther at the ts come toge en ud st of ns s and literally ze do am g te in “See rm effective e.” fo s, nd ke ee uly awesom ur eyes is tr Enterprise W yo re fo be s right develop idea


GREAT WORK AT NORTHUMBRIA We believe that every person with the potential to excel should be given a chance to study at Northumbria Your gifts have enabled so many of our talented students to thrive at Northumbria. Attending university has a significant impact upon someone’s life – not just intellectually but socially, culturally, and economically. Our students are the people who will push boundaries. They are the ones who will question everything and look at the world in a different way. They are also the people who will save lives and transform communities. Our students can only achieve this through the generosity of people like you. We would like to share some of the inspirational stories about how your support has made a real difference.

y f are Cowle g staf Nicola the teachin e” v re, to lea osphe really want m t a e th n’t “I love ing and I do amaz 5


CALLING OUR ALUMNI COMMUNITY During our three-week telecentre alumni campaign, our student callers contacted 900 alumni, raising over £40,000. The funds have been used to provide scholarships and hardship support to students and expand the reach of our student support and wellbeing services. Phoebe Smith, BA (Hons) Business Management, decided to join the telethon team after completing a placement year with the University’s Advancement Office.

Why did you apply to be a caller? During my internship, I learnt all about the fundraising carried out by Northumbria and why it’s needed. I was surprised to learn that school leavers from the poorest backgrounds are the least likely to come to university, despite their potential. I wanted to help raise money for the Alumni Fund, but it’s also a great opportunity to develop my own skills and meet fellow students from other courses.

There are over 217,000 Northumbria alumni in 171 countries across the world What is the Alumni Fund? The Alumni Fund supports talented students in the form of scholarships and hardship funding. It’s amazing to think past students value their own experience here so highly they want to give back and help others follow in their footsteps.

ted Our alumni dona udents st t £42,000 to curren


How would you describe a typical call? A friendly chat with a current student and an opportunity to stay up-to-date with the University. Asking for donations is just one part of the call. There are lots of other reasons we get in touch – such as hearing about what Northumbria alumni are doing now and telling them about upcoming events.


Every student has the opportunity to reach their full potential, regardless of the challenges they may be facing. 7


GIVING THE BRIGHTEST NEW TALENT A CHANCE TO SHINE Our students are empowered with the skills and experience they need to prepare for the future, but for many getting to university is still a struggle. Through the Alumni Fund we help ensure that ability not affordability is the determining factor when deciding to enter higher education. Alumnus, Carl Steele, regularly gives to our Alumni Fund. He works as a consultant for French based company, Orano, which specialises in nuclear waste management. Carl studied Applied Chemistry at Northumbria and graduated in 1992. Carl was inspired to give to Northumbria University because he was the first person in his family to study for a degree. Ultimately, Carl wants other young adults to have the opportunity to be able to study at university and achieve success, and of course, improve their career prospects regardless of their family income.

“I can appreciate having little income and the feeling of not being good enough to be at university. I had to overcome these feelings to develop my self-worth and recognise I was capable of being successful in education and work.”



SUPPORTING DISABILITY SPORT A university event celebrating the achievements of four students who brought home six medals from the Rio Paralympic Games raised over £90,000 for disability sport. The funding enabled future student athletes to study and train at Northumbria through the provision of specialist equipment and technology. Taka Suzuki MBE

Taka Suzuki graduated from Northumbria with a 2:1 followed by a Master’s merit. Taka later became the Pan Pacific Champion in the Men’s SB3 50m Breaststroke. Since training and living in Newcastle, Taka has broken two world records. Whilst studying his Master’s, he was ranked number one in the world and he won five world championship medals. He continues to work towards his goal of achieving a gold medal at the rescheduled Tokyo Paralympic Games this year. Supported by funds raised at the event, Taka will continue to train at Northumbria, receiving world-class coaching to support his sporting aspirations. He will carry out weekly strength and conditioning, weekly sport massage, bi-weekly physiotherapy and additional monthly support services such as sports psychology, nutrition support and lifestyle support. Taka is now studying his PhD and has been supported throughout his time studying in the UK as an international student. Another recipient of the fund is Paralympic swimmer Josef Craig MBE. Josef will graduate from BSc Sport Management in 2021 and has benefitted from support both academically and as an athlete.

“It’s been really helpful to have the funding during my undergraduate studies. The funding has supplemented my training and invaluable support services throughout my time as a student athlete.” Josef Craig MBE 9

EXCITED ABOUT THE FUTURE “I study law at Northumbria University and have dreams

financially or they didn’t receive the support they needed at

university is just the beginning. There are costs associated with studying that can make completing a degree seem out of reach for people from low income families. Fortunately, I have received support to help with my living costs during my time at Northumbria. This has enabled me to focus on my studies and fully participate in all the fantastic opportunities university has to offer. I feel so excited about my future, knowing that I’ll be leaving university having developed valuable skills that will help me secure a job when I graduate.“

school to achieve their full potential. Of course, coming to

Habeeba Haque

of becoming a solicitor after I graduate. I’m also secretary of two university societies and I do voluntary work in the local community. But there was a time when it looked like I might not make it to university at all. I went to school in an area of Newcastle with high levels of poverty and deprivation. At my school, not many students went on to higher education. For some, no matter how bright they were, it just wasn’t an option



WITHOUT BARRIERS PAUL WINTERS SCHOLARSHIP A university degree enriches life and opens-up a world of opportunities. Scholarships enable high achieving students from all backgrounds to access the life-changing benefits that higher education brings. Scholarship donor, Paul Winters, who graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Sociology in 1974, has supported a Northumbria student since 2015. Explaining his motivations he said:

“Donating to Northumbria is a personal choice and I’ve got to say, I’m so glad I did.”

“I really enjoyed my time at Northumbria (Newcastle Polytechnic as it was then) and made lots of friends for life. It was all very different in the 1970s. My wife and I are both from working class backgrounds and were the first generation to benefit from the expansion of higher education in the 1960s. Tuition fees and maintenance grants were covered, so there were no big debts when graduating. We were so lucky compared to those in higher education today. I decided to set up a scholarship to give someone a chance to do something that would have been otherwise more financially challenging. It’s been so pleasing to see the mature student I funded do so well. She’s a single parent who achieved a First Class degree then progressed to a Master’s. I’m very proud of her.

Paul Winters

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with both the University and the city. As a result of becoming a donor, I’ve visited Newcastle twice in the last couple of years, including giving a lecture to one of the University’s undergraduate classes. Previously, I hadn’t visited at all in 30 years. Knowing how much the scholarship has meant to the recipient based on her emails to me is very gratifying.”

A recent recipient of the Paul Winters Scholarship explains the value of the support she received. “The financial support has been invaluable during my three years at Northumbria and has allowed me to fully immerse myself in my studies without having to worry about the financial strain. For example, I could afford the childcare I needed to attend lectures and events and I’ve never had to worry about travel costs. I’ve been in the position to buy books I couldn’t source in the library and supplies for projects, as well as easily replace my laptop at a critical time in my second year. I can’t stress enough how much Paul’s truly generous scholarship has supported my progression.” 11


DELIVERING BETTER OUTCOMES FOR WOMEN LADY EDWINA GROSVENOR STUDENTSHIP Philanthropic donations make a significant difference to the learning experience of our postgraduate students, enabling them to drive forward ground-breaking research that has a positive and sustainable impact on society. Alumna, Lady Edwina Grosvenor, has supported the establishment of a PhD studentship. She said: “I studied Criminology and Sociology at Northumbria and have gone on to have a long career in the prison service. Funding a PhD studentship is my way of giving back and saying thank you, by helping someone who might not have had the opportunity otherwise. I like to think I’m inspiring others in the area of prison and prison reform.” The recipient of the Lady Edwina Grosvenor Studentship, Sophie Mitchell said: “Receiving the PhD Studentship has been a great opportunity for me. Without it, it would have been very difficult for me financially to undertake a PhD and thanks to support from Lady Edwina Grosvenor, I’ve been able to gain new skills and experience in an area I’m extremely passionate about.


Lady Edwina Grosvenor and I share an interest in prison reform and my work is focused on intergenerational trauma, imprisonment and parenting. I’ve worked with women on probation in the past and taking on the PhD has given me a valuable opportunity to step back and consider the reasons why some of the women I was working with were in the situation they were. My ambition is that my work will eventually help to bring about better outcomes for women.”

Philanthropic funding enables more students to work with our leading academics, giving them the potential to transform lives in the future.


“As an alumna I can bring back to the University my professional experience. After 18 years working in prisons, it’s nice to be able to talk to the students about the things I’ve experienced, the things that I’ve seen and maybe share some things that students wouldn’t learn from books.” 13

COVID-19 prevented more than 500 of our international students from returning home to their families, with many facing living costs that they had not budgeted for.



CHALLENGING TIMES SHOULDN’T BE TOUGH TIMES COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact upon all aspects of student life, including the ability to undertake uninterrupted study, maintain part-time jobs and experience campus and city life. In response to the pandemic, the University launched a COVID-19 Hardship Fund, which raised over £92,000 for unforeseen student expenses, including living costs, rent and IT equipment. The support that was given provided a vital learning lifeline, ensuring that no student was left behind.

GIVING A STUDENT HIS FUTURE BACK When his laptop crashed, Konark Karna feared he wouldn’t be able to graduate. Konark, from New Delhi in Northern India, had been working two days a week to supplement his income whilst studying for an MSc in Advanced Computer Science. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, he was unable to continue his part-time work, leaving him with little money to spare. Living in student accommodation in the city centre meant he found himself alone as many of his friends had returned home to be with their families. When his laptop crashed, he struggled to access online learning and felt cut off from his family and friends back home. Konark knew that he needed a new laptop to continue his studies. However, as he had lost his part-time jobs, he was unable to afford one. Fortunately, he received support from the University’s COVID-19 Hardship Fund to enable him to purchase a replacement. As a result of this support, he completed his online courses and submitted his dissertation. He is now looking to progress to a PhD.

“Last year, I thought I’d move back to India after my MSc but I’m getting used to life here now. I’m looking forward to graduating and taking on tomorrow.” 15


A LIFE-CHANGING GIFT IN A WILL Northumbria academic leaves lasting legacy to support students. Members of our alumni community from the late 1980s and early 1990s may recall Dr Robert McCrone Laird, a researcher and teacher of Physical Chemistry. Sadly, Robert passed away in December 2019. However, he enjoyed his time so much at Newcastle Polytechnic and later Northumbria University, that he made plans during his lifetime to make a gift in his Will. This transformational gift will be used to support the University’s passionate commitment to widening participation and fair access for students, regardless of background. It will support outreach activities to encourage students to aspire to higher education and it will benefit current students through the provision of scholarships, hardship funds and mental health and well-being services.


You will leave a lasting legacy of opportunity. By making a gift in your Will, you will help others to follow in your footsteps and study at Northumbria, when they might otherwise not have the chance to do so.


Legacy gifts give your loved ones something very special to remember you by. They will find comfort knowing that your legacy will continue to help others for years to come.


Legacy gifts are exempt from UK inheritance tax. Leaving a gift to Northumbria in your Will could reduce the tax liability on your estate.*

4 5

Your gift would support Northumbria’s commitment to improving access to Higher Education and enable us to ensure that every student fulfils their potential. Making a gift in your Will is a very straightforward process as small amendments can be made through a codicil, which confirms your original Will but also adds to it.

*Always consult a solicitor or legal advisor before making changes to your Will.



ACKNOWLEDGING ACHIEVEMENT Northumbria offers academic prizes that reward student achievement and celebrate success. Prizes are supported by organisations and businesses, as well as individuals including alumni and friends of the University. Prizes are also awarded as legacies. Prizes provide students with valued recognition. They celebrate their academic achievement and provide individual accolade to enhance an early career profile and employability. The Linda Sykes Memorial Award is a student prize set up by Ken Sykes in memory of his wife Linda who passed away in the final year of her Law degree. The 2019 recipient of the award, Hannah Turner, wrote this letter to Ken: Dear Mr Sykes,

Hannah Turner

I am writing to thank you for awarding me the Linda Sykes Memo Prize. I wanted to let you rial know a little bit about myself and how honoured I was to rec eive this in memory of your late wife. I obtained First Class Honours in both my und ergraduate degree and my master’s. I was cal led to the bar by Inner Temple this summer wish to pursue a career and at the bar. My call cer emony was an amazi experience and I felt so ng proud to be a part of such a prestigious eve It is a day that I will nev nt. er forget! I found the course ver y challenging but invigo rating. I worked part-ti alongside my studies me to fund my course. I als o volunteered weekly The People’s Kitchen, at which is a homeless she lter in Newcastle. Throughout the course I discovered I had a kee n interest and aptitud for criminal law. I wro e te my dissertation on consent within the Sex Offences Act 2003 and ual received one of the hig hest grades in the yea It is an area I feel very r. passionate about and I thoroughly enjoyed the process of learning and writing about it. I will be applying for pup illage later this year but am currently taking a well-earned break. I am still working at Starbu cks until I am successfu in securing a pupillage. l This will take time, but I will keep on pursuing it to achieve my dream career! Once again thank you Hannah Turner

so much for your gen

erosity. 17


WHERE GREAT MINDS MEET Northumbria University delivers first-class teaching in a world-class environment. Over recent years, the University has won numerous awards for the quality and design of its buildings, including the North East Landmark of the Year, the Lord Mayor’s Design Award and the Royal Institute of British Architects North East Award.

ome lass h orld-c w gship a w fl e An bria’s m u h t ees r r for No ecture deg it h c r A

t Building’ A £7m ‘Smar d omputer an C r fo y exclusivel es nc ie Sc n Informatio


Within each of our buildings is a thriving learning and research environment, where great minds come together to make things happen. Our Law Court and Clinical Skills Centre are just two examples of campus facilities that enable students to gain real-life exposure to workplace environments. Our specially designed courtroom enables students to gain exposure to what they can expect to experience once they graduate. Similarly, the Clinical Skills Centre is the focal point for our health students’ educational journey, enabling them to develop experience of real hospital situations in simulated situations.

Authen tic c to deve ourtroom for s lop the ir advoc tudents and sta ge moc acy skills k trials

, mpus ne Ca -the-ar t a L h -of Coac r state to ou ills Centre e m o h al Sk Clinic


TO INFINITY AND BEYOND The University has developed a business incubator as a pre-accelerator for inspiring entrepreneurs, with a focus upon long-term business success. Graduate business Infinity 27 formed with the backing of Northumbria’s Enterprise Programme and is currently being supported by the University’s Incubator. Founder Dan Baird runs the successful creative media business he launched after completing a work placement year in the Northumbria University Incubator as part of his BSc in Computer Game Design and Production. Dan graduated with experience in developing a new business. He said: “I found the Incubator extremely useful. My placement gave me a safe environment in which to test my ideas and explore different opportunities. It gave me time, support and mentorship as well as a space to operate my business from and to meet clients. The ongoing help from the staff at Northumbria is invaluable. Access to the new Incubator space is incredibly useful for having a place to operate from while keeping my costs down, which gives me a competitive advantage by letting me keep the business lean. This adds to the professional presence of my company. Being so close to campus and the city centre is key for meeting clients.”

“The Enterprise Weekend helped me understand what a start-up really was and that it’s best to focus on solving problems for customers, rather than just what you feel is an interesting product. Understanding big ideas is great, but you must build a skateboard before attempting to build an aeroplane!” 19


WHERE CONVERSATIONS START Northumbria is consistently ranked as one of the UK’s top universities for graduate business start-ups, with financial support from Santander Universities UK, Sir James Knott Trust and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership. Lucy Winskell OBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Employability and Partnerships at Northumbria, said: ‘The success of Northumbria’s student and graduate businesses reflects the focus we have as a university on entrepreneurship. Our new incubator is a purpose-built workspace that will take our sector-leading work in this area to a new level and grow the next generation of student and graduate entrepreneurs. To tie in with the opening of the Incubator, Northumbria has established an Enterprise Club, which involves members providing pro-bono advice and expertise. We have also set up an Enterprise Fund in which members pledge financial support to help fledgling start-ups develop proof-of-concept and feasibility business plans.

Darren Richardson, alumnus, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Gardiner Richardson, added: “As an established creative business founded by Northumbria University, based in the North East, we understand what it takes to develop and grow a successful company. From our beginnings in a small start-up space, we’ve grown a national and international client base. Today, nearly 60% of our clients trade outside the North East, many of them internationally. “Our company is living proof that with the right environment, support and collaboration – plus plenty of great people and innovative ideas – the North East can lead from the front. That’s why we are supporting Innovation Northumbria: Incubator, to help entrepreneurs grow, scale and succeed.”

Graduate start-ups from Northumbria have a collective annual turnover of £84m 20


Northumbria has supported the development of over 395 graduate companies which have created over 1000 jobs in the North East

Lucy Winskell OBE

Darren Richardson, Graphic Design BA (Hons) 1987 21


ILLUMINATING THE MINDS OF STUDENTS Thanks to the generosity of philanthropist and Northumbria alumnus, Wee Teng Woon and the Woon Brothers Foundation, Northumbria University is now home to the Woon Gallery of Asian Art. Housing a rare collection of art, the gallery represents one of the most important collections of Buddhist and Asian art in the UK and includes contemporary pieces by Pablo Picasso, Damien Hirst and Andy Warhol. In addition, the Woon Brothers Foundation has recently generously provided support towards Northumbria’s first Professor of Asian Art. Named the Woon Tai Jee Professor of Asian Art this leading research role will further increase our academic expertise and global reputation in this area. Wee Teng is a graduate of Northumbria Law School and retired lawyer, and also provides prizes for law students to celebrate their achievements and inspire success. He lives in Singapore but has retained strong connections with the North East. Wee Teng remembers his time in Newcastle with fondness and gratitude.


The Woon Painting and Sculpture Prize, created in 2013 and supported by the Woon Brothers Foundation provides the winner with the Woon Tai Jee Fellowship, which is awarded to an Undergraduate UK final year art student. There are additional prizes of £9,000 and £6,000 for the two runners-up. The winner of the Fellowship has access to a dedicated studio space and dedicated academic mentoring support at Northumbria University for the duration of the Fellowship as they work toward a solo exhibition. It provides critical time and space for an emerging artist to develop their work without the financial worries that can stifle creativity and enables them to follow their artistic dreams.

“Kindness must not be forgotten and should be returned with more kindness.” Mr Wee Teng Woon, Hon DCL

PUTTING A NEW FELLOW IN THE FRAME The Lim Ai Fang Fellowship supported by The Woon Brothers Foundation enables the creation of a unique, sector-leading research role for a Northumbria student that contributes to a better understanding of the provenance of the Asian works of art held by The Woon Brothers Foundation. Lauren Barnes is the Lim Ai Fang Fellow, based in the Woon Gallery of Asian Art. Lauren has worked in local museums and galleries for the last nine years. Her curatorial career has focused on researching and curating South Asian and East Asian collections, as well as non-Christian world faiths. She has particular research interests in Korean material culture and history, contemporary Korean culture, Buddhism, and curating Asian art. Lauren said: “I hope to make a positive impact on people’s lives, be they students at uni, academics, members of the community, members of faith communities, school children or visitors to the region. I want to create opportunities to access the collections, understand them and be inspired.”

“I am currently working on Museum Accreditation for The University Gallery, including scoping for a new collections management system which will aid research and teaching. I’m also widening communication by developing a Wordpress site Lauren Barn es, Lim Ai Fa which will include information on The Woon ng Fellow Collection of Asian Art. My ambition for the future is to clear copyright permissions in order to publicise the gallery and collections more widely, especially to schools and local communities.”

“I see so many opportunities for this collection and for the galleries, and I’d like to say a huge thank you for this opportunity through the creation of this post.” 23


IDEAS THAT CHANGE THE WORLD The world around us is constantly changing. At Northumbria, we empower innovators, visionaries and changemakers, giving them the confidence to tackle challenges and become tomorrow’s leaders. By investing in inspiring programmes for our students, you help us to develop minds and enrich lives. Our graduates are critical, challenging thinkers who find answers to significant issues that society faces, including healthcare, climate change and poverty. We encourage our students to discover and nurture their talents and passions and to develop the vision and skills to make a lasting difference in the world.

r reta Defeyte Professor G Psychology l ta en m op Devel ll Party Professor of ic Advisor, A . and Academ School Food ry Group on Parliamenta


Jack helpe son “Coll abo dm in the e gain sp rating wit h e field of no cialist kno industry ise an wled g d vib ration e .”


fe projects, lenging real-li Work on chal le experience ents invaluab s. gives our stud pl by em oyer sought after

Le c t u r been w er Dr Richa rd M o orking r to n h wit groun as d-brea h NASA to a king s olar im nalyse agery.


EMPOWERING YOUNG PEOPLE IN ZAMBIA Volunteer Zambia is an international volunteering programme run by several leading UK universities and the Zambian sports NGO, Sport in Action. As part of the Wallace Group partnership, Volunteer Zambia has continued to grow as a leader in UK University volunteering initiatives. Over the past 16 years, students and staff from across the University have delivered sport and health education to local young people in Lusaka. The philanthropic income that was kindly donated by organisations and individuals enabled more students to take part as volunteers and student mentors, through the provision of sport leadership qualifications, health-related training, and living and travel expenses.

70 students and 16 members of staff have been part of the project 25


BREAKING THROUGH THE WOMEN’S WORKFORCE BARRIER The Catherine Cookson Foundation has awarded scholarships to 25 female Northumbria University students in memory of Emily Wilding Davison, an English suffragette who fought for votes for women in Britain in the early twentieth century. The scholarships have enabled the students to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, without finance being a barrier.

In 2020, the Government reached its target of one million women employed in STEM occupations. However, despite this important milestone, a demographic deficit remains. Although the number of women graduating in STEM subjects is increasing, there has been a more rapid growth in the number of men graduating in these subject areas. More work needs to be done to encourage young women to pursue STEM in higher education and ensure that employers recognise the benefits of a gender diverse workforce.


Women bring new ideas, insights and perspectives to the table, fostering problem-solving, innovation and creativity. This, in turn, challenges the long-standing gender stereotypes entrenched in the industry. The Emily Wilding Davison Scholarships have played a key role in enabling innovative and talented women to consider and pursue STEM subjects at Northumbria University.

As well as benefitting the students themselves, the funding will have a positive impact upon their future employers, particularly when considering the extent of the current skills shortage within the sector, along with the myriad of benefits that a diverse workforce can offer.


“This award has made a real difference to me personally. I can focus solely on my studies rather than the pressure of a part-time job. I’m extremely grateful and it’s given me the motivation to work 110% harder towards my goals, so I can give back one day too. I honestly cannot thank you enough.” Abbie Cavanagh

“Thank you for this scholarship. The money is greatly appreciated and will be used appropriately for travel to and from university as well as towards university supplies such as books. I’m so grateful for this opportunity; it will really help me do better in my degree.”

“Your donation will make an enormous difference to me. It means I’m able to reduce my working hours in my part-time jobs during my final year and just focus on my work, which I appreciate massively. This has taken a huge weight off my shoulders and allowed me to be more financially independent.”

Olivia Broadbent-Clark

Erin Dix 27


THE NEXT GENERATION OF INNOVATORS “The Reece Foundation is passionate about inspiring school children into STEM careers so we were delighted to support Northumbria University in its unique outreach activity. The longterm approach of the NUSTEM project allows for real change and measurable impact.” Anne Reece, Chair of the Reece Foundation


Northumbria’s NUSTEM group works with local schools to provide educational sessions to young people in STEM, with the aim of encouraging them to study the subject at university. More than £300,000 has been awarded to NUSTEM in the past two years, enabling it to more than double the number of primary and secondary schools engaged in the region. The Reece Foundation provided a donation to enable the University to continue its current work in 15 partner primary schools until December 2020. A further award from the Science and Technology Facilities Council means NUSTEM can work with eight new primary schools over the next three years. Alongside the educational sessions, the University runs a professional development training programme for teachers to help them become more confident in delivering STEM-focused sessions in the classroom.

“Our project was designed to raise aspirations of young children in the North East in STEM subjects, and to help them make informed choices about future careers. We work closely with schools and parents on careers-focused, curriculum inspired workshops” Dr Carol Davenport, Director of NUSTEM


Since its launch five years ago, almost 40,000 school children, teachers and family members have participated in NUSTEM-led activity sessions in schools and at community events. 29


PARTNERING ACROSS THE GLOBE In 2015 Santander Universities UK and Northumbria University formed a partnership, benefitting students through projects and programmes in education, employability and entrepreneurship.


donated to the University, including £25,000 emergency funding to support students experiencing hardship due to the pandemic

251 45

SME internships sponsored since 2015

students received mobility scholarships to date

19 20 30

students on virtual internships students completed online self-development programme

Santander Universities UK works to encourage international mobility, facilitate access to university and promote specialist research and education through scholarships and grants. Their aim is to encourage collaborations with institutions in the Santander Universities Network. Students can get involved in a range of projects including exchange, lab placements, research and summer school. Every year, Santander Universities UK fund 15 mobility scholarships, allowing students to study abroad for a semester or academic year or take up internships.

“Northumbria allowed me to go abroad as part of my placement year. Through a Santander scholarship, I went to Chile and found an international internship and I then achieved a role with the company after graduation.” Rick Cross, Global Partnerships Associate, The Intern Group

In 2020, the model was adapted to be a virtual internship, so our students could still develop and grow. “Virtual internships have demonstrated that students don’t need to travel to develop global skills. Through this fantastic programme, we’ve been able to support their employability despite the challenges that COVID-19 has presented. We’re confident we will continue to encourage our students to take on a virtual internship and break down some barriers to physical mobility so students from disadvantaged backgrounds can also have access to the global workplace”. Alejandra Vicencio, International Mobility Manager, Northumbria University

Alejandra Vicencio


SELF-DEVELOPMENT WITH AN EDGE Santander Universities UK joined forces with Sporting Edge to deliver a new learning experience. A total of 20 Northumbria students were successful in applying to the initiative and were given the opportunity to access online courses designed to boost skills and develop resilience during the pandemic. The students completed eight hours of online learning focusing on performance themes including Personal Drive, Learning Mindset and Confidence. The four students with the highest scores across all modules, and from all participating universities, consequently won a Santander Development grant of £10,000 each, supporting the recipients with their professional and personal development. “This is a further example of the continued support Santander Universities UK provides Northumbria University which we and our students are grateful for.” James Wilkinson, Development Executive, Northumbria University

A GROUND-BREAKING EMPLOYABILITY PROGRAMME In 2020, Northumbria University was invited to join the Employ Autism Higher Education Network, established by Santander Universities UK and the charity Ambitious about Autism. As well as having individual strengths and talents, autistic employees often demonstrate exceptional skills in many areas, enabling them to add diversity to the workplace. However, autistic people are often disadvantaged when it comes to seeking employment due to a lack of understanding and support. Nationally, only 22% of autistic adults are in any kind of employment. This new programme aims to address this by ensuring more autistic students and graduates have access to meaningful employment experiences. It will also ensure local businesses can benefit from neurodiverse talent within their workforces. Working with professionals who understand their needs, students will receive support to identify roles that match their skills and are provided help with the recruitment process.

The University will work with local employers to create opportunities for students to take part in internships with autism-confident businesses, providing them with valuable ‘on the job’ experience in a supportive environment. “We’re delighted to be joining The Employ Autism Higher Education Network and playing our part in helping more autistic students and graduates achieve their potential and access full-time employment.” Julia Bennett, Business Development Adviser, Northumbria University “Autistic students and graduates are among our brightest talents. By joining our programme, Northumbria University will be at the forefront of the drive to increase the neurodiversity of the UK workforce and will also be helping to change the lives of autistic people.” Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive, Ambitious about Autism 31


UNLOCKING BARRIERS TO HIGHER EDUCATION Santander Universities UK’s mission is to support students from diverse backgrounds into university, work and self-employment. They have joined forces with Finance Unlocked to deliver a new online learning programme exclusively for 3,000 Black and Black Mixed university students and 2019-20 graduates. The successful participants have exclusive access to eight hours of online content, focused on a range of trending financial topics, including green finance, blockchain, and private equity. Upon completion of the course, students who score 80% or more have the opportunity to win a


£1,500 Santander Scholarship. Additionally, all participants that opt in to receiving Santander Emerging Talent opportunities will be kept informed of potential opportunities within the Bank.


THINKING CREATIVELY FROM THE START The Enterprise Weekend, supported by Santander Universities UK, provides students from different subject areas with the opportunity to work together and collaborate on a challenge. It equips students with the skills and knowledge to think creatively and develop an entrepreneurial mindset. Now in its seventh year, the Enterprise Weekend has supported 850 students through its free workshops on business start-up, freelance working and being an enterprising employee. The Enterprise Weekends are open to students from all subject disciplines. They work best with cross-faculty collaboration to create teams of different thinkers with varied skill sets. Students participate in interactive workshops designed and delivered by four expert industry professionals to help gain a unique insight into how to generate new ideas and take them from concept to creation. They meet, collaborate and compete with like-minded students from different programmes and share their skills whilst learning from others.

“Enterprise weekends are a fantastic way of developing skills in seeking employment as an entrepreneurial employee, or looking to create your own means of employment through freelancing or business start-up.” Graham Baty, Head of Student and Graduate Enterprise, Northumbria University 33

THANK YOU We hope that you have enjoyed reading about the difference our supporters have made to our students and graduates. We are committed to developing philanthropic partnerships locally, nationally and internationally and we are always open to exploring new collaborative ideas. If you are interested in supporting us or getting involved in our work, please get in touch.


CONTACT US: Advancement Office, 1st Floor, Pandon Building, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST E: 35