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Newcastle United Foundation Trustee Shola Ameobi launches NU Futures outreach programme for young people

Newcastle United Foundation's ambitious outreach programme for schoolchildren, teenagers and young adults has this week launched across the North East with the support of Newcastle United Foundation Trustee Shola Ameobi.

Centrally-based in NUCASTLE, powered by Newcastle Building Society, NU Futures will support 12,000 young people annually over the next decade and transform the way the next generation enter the world of work.

By better connecting young people with life-changing opportunities in the North of Tyne economy through inspirational STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) learning, apprenticeships and career paths, NU Futures will tackle wealth inequalities issues, low productivity and exclusion for the next generation.

Ameobi saw first-hand where NU Futures will be delivered by Newcastle United Foundation with support from the North of Tyne Combined Authority through their £2.6m investment into the careers and education programme.

At an exclusive launch event at NUCASTLE - a stone's throw from where Ameobi grew up - the Foundation trustee met with teenagers and young adults already receiving employment support from the charity to improve their confidence, interviewing skills and job prospects.

Standing on top of the three-storey facility in Newcastle's West End, Ameobi, Foundation participants and trustees became some of the first people to visit the 4G rooftop pitch at NUCASTLE, which provides views across the area where communities will benefit from NU Futures.

Ameobi said: "Building this incredible facility has been years in the making, so to be standing here alongside participants and the team who have made this possible is amazing.

"It's a pleasure to chat to the young people, Foundation staff and the wider community who will be using this space for years to come. It really will help to improve the lives of so many more people already supported to achieve their potential through the Foundation.

"NU Futures is going to be so important to the region and making sure everyone has opportunities to succeed and to be the best they can be. Anyone looking for that support or for guidance on their options for the future will be able to get it through the Foundation and the NU Futures programme."

The visit comes as teenagers across the North of Tyne area also gain experience and insight into NU Futures, with ten youngsters meeting with staff at Port of Blyth to tour the site and learn more about the energy industry, while Marden High School students joined classroom-based learning with Foundation staff and regional employers in STEM sectors.

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: "This project is all about inspiring kids.

"There's help to get fit, get active, and to find jobs. There's teaching in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and outreach work all across the region.

"Up to Berwick, across North Tyneside and right the way out across the Tyne Valley, it's wonderful to see what's been achieved using our £2.6 million investment, one of my first acts as mayor of the North of Tyne.

"When people find their inspiration, they do well in life. NU Futures will really make a difference."

NU Futures will be one of the largest employment support programmes for 11 to 25-year-olds in the region, with outreach work across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland through a network of up to 300 North East businesses.

A total of 56 secondary schools from Newcastle to Northumberland will also access the programme and make use of world-class facilities available at NUCASTLE - particularly through a specialist STEM learning room and digital suites.

Steve Beharall, Head of Newcastle United Foundation, said: "We are incredibly proud to launch NU Futures and to share our ambitions for the region's young people who deserve meaningful opportunities to live, work and thrive in their home communities and in the economy of the future.

"NU Futures is a powerful collaboration, connecting our charity to the region's businesses, schools, colleges and high-quality education and training partners.

"Together, we can position the North of Tyne area as a UK leader and innovator in preparing the next generation for future careers by equipping every individual we support with the ambition, confidence and skills they need to succeed."

All employability, schools, and learning projects now fall under the NU Futures umbrella at the Foundation - with 26 members of staff dedicated to the programme. The region's schools, employers and businesses are invited to get involved with the NU Futures programme.

Construction work at NUCASTLE is expected to be fully complete in November 2021. Once open in Spring 2022, the innovative three-storey hub will become a landmark venue attracting more than 100,000 visitors annually, with children, young people, adults and elderly residents able to access a range of world-class facilities.

Beharall added: "Establishing NU Futures at NUCASTLE is an incredibly significant moment for our Foundation and one only made possible by a number of key investors, supporters and stakeholders.

"I would personally like to thank Newcastle United for their continued support and to highlight key contributions from North of Tyne Combined Authority, Newcastle Building Society, Newcastle College, North East LEP and Reece Foundation towards our state-of-the-art facility and flagship careers programme."

Schools, employers and training partners across the region are invited to get involved with the NU Futures programme to expand opportunities for young people in the North East. For more information email andrew.foster@nufc.co.uk.

"NU Futures is going to be so important to the region and making sure everyone has opportunities to succeed and to be the best they can be. Anyone looking for that support or for guidance on their options for the future will be able to get it through the Foundation and the NU Futures programme."

Shola Ameobi

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