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Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi praises Newcastle United Foundation's 'incredible' work at NUCASTLE

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has been introduced to young people exploring career opportunities in booming STEM, digital and construction sectors at Newcastle United Foundation's new community facility.

The cabinet minister met with schoolchildren engaging with the Foundation's NU Futures programme - an initiative supporting more than 12,000 young people over the next decade by transforming the way the next generation enter the world of work.

Centrally based in NUCASTLE, powered by Newcastle Building Society - the new home of Newcastle United Foundation - schoolchildren, teenagers and young adults have unique access to connect with a network of up to 300 businesses across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland through the programme.

Mr Zahawi saw first-hand NUCASTLE's inspirational spaces for learning including its dedicated STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) classroom and esports suite where more than 55 secondary schools from Newcastle to Northumberland have been making use of the centre's world-class facilities since opening in March 2022.

Mr Zahawi said: "I have been blown away by the incredible work the Newcastle United Foundation are doing, backing their local community and offering kids the chance to build skills and experience - while giving them those crucially important introductions with local employers in top sectors.

"Through brilliant outreach, NUCASTLE are truly leading the way, levelling up opportunity, opening doors for young people, and delivering Newcastle's next generation of engineers, scientists and athletes.

"I want to thank the staff for their tireless work and look forward to hearing more from the inspirational success stories I know they'll undoubtedly produce."

During his visit to the official charity arm of Newcastle United, Mr Zahawi also met with Newcastle United Foundation Trustee Shola Ameobi, Premier League Head of Corporate Affairs Tim Vine and MP for Hexham Guy Opperman.

Significant investors in NUCASTLE and NU Futures - one of the largest employment support programmes for 11 to 25-year-olds in the region - were also on hand to meet the Education Secretary, including North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll, North East LEP Skills Director Michelle Rainbow and Football Foundation Chair of Trustees Martin Glenn.

Sarah Medcalf, Deputy Head of Newcastle United Foundation, said: "Welcoming Nadhim Zahawi to NUCASTLE is a significant moment for the Foundation and we are thrilled to show him our state-of-the-art facility that is creating genuine, positive impact in our community.

"By better connecting young people with life-changing opportunities in our region, we can close skills gaps in key sectors and provide positive outcomes for not only the next generation, but for the North of Tyne economy and our community.

"Support from the Secretary of State for Education and our stakeholders allows us to tackle wealth inequality issues and low productivity in the North of Tyne economy through NU Futures' inspirational STEM learning, apprenticeships and skilled career opportunities."

"I have been blown away by the incredible work the Newcastle United Foundation are doing, backing their local community and offering kids the chance to build skills and experience - while giving them those crucially important introductions with local employers in top sectors."

Nadhim Zahawi, Education Secretary

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