Generation NE puts designs in place for North Shields-based Vreo to grow

The emerging technical design consultancy is expanding with help from the partnership, which is part of the North East LEP's Growth Deal

The Vreo team: Ross Embleton, Lorreen Butler and the firm's founder Mark Vernon
The Vreo team: Ross Embleton, Lorreen Butler and the firm's founder Mark Vernon

A technical design consultancy has expanded with support from the North East’s new landmark youth employment programme.

Vreo, which is based at Cobalt Business, designs electronics and optoelectronic circuits and also develops imaging systems using cameras as well as lighting and optics – products that can be used across a range of sectors including healthcare, fire and security, biometrics, night vision and intelligent transport systems.

Established by Mark Vernon, the firm reached international markets within months of setting up, putting the firm on target to reach first year turnover of £210,000, a figure predicted to more than double in its second year.

Now Generation NE, a £4.5m partnership between five North East local authorities including North Tyneside Council, has enabled Vreo to access the funding and training needed to recruit Ross Embleton from North Shields.

Mr Embleton, 23, joins the North Tyneside-based firm as a full-time engineer, responsible for printed circuit board design, programming and network management within Vreo’s research and development team.

His appointment forms part of Vreo’s expansion plans, which follows the firm become a finalist in the Journal’s North East Business Awards, in the Innovation Award category.

Mark Vernon, Vreo’s founder and managing director, said: “Since establishing Vreo we have seen a great deal of success and Ross is the first of a number of new recruits that we will be looking to welcome to the team over the coming months.

“Generation NE played a pivotal role in enabling us to grow and securing Ross’ appointment. We worked closely with our business advisor Barbara Clark and employment advisor Lorreen Butler from the programme throughout the entire process.

“They both took the time to understand what the business required to support a new recruit and provided a tailor-made service to match our needs.”

Mr Embleton, who is currently studying Video Game Design in his spare time, added: “I’ve always been passionate about programming and design.

“Prior to joining Vreo I was working as a freelance engineer, however thanks to the support which Generation NE has provided I have been able to secure a full-time position. This has not only given me increased security, it has put me on the path to an exciting new career with a truly innovative firm.”

Generation NE forms part of the North East LEP’s Growth Deal, a partnership which aims to empower North East SMEs to future-proof their workforces, while also supporting young people into sustainable employment.

Generation NE’s Mark Stamper said: “Our team of business advisors and employment advisors are committed to helping the region’s SME community to thrive.

“By working closely with local businesses we are able to provide a simplified, responsive and coordinated service, which ensures a quality-assured support package that meets the requirements of both the business and its new recruit is delivered.

“Over the next three years we will be supporting 2,000 young people aged between 17 and 24 years, like Ross, into sustainable employment by working with small to medium-sized businesses across the region.”

Elected Mayor for North Tyneside, Norma Redfearn added: “It’s great news that Generation NE is already having a very positive impact in North Tyneside, creating real and sustainable opportunities for our young people and supporting our local firms. Employing young people in this way is a great way for a business to grow, and I wish Ross every success in his new role.”

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