FIVE students are looking forward to brighter career prospects after graduating with Certificates in Regeneration from Northumbria University.
Sam Walker, Kath Nisbet, Les Smith, all from Blyth, and Lenny Szrama and Naj Khanom from Newcastle, were sponsored through five months’ intensive studies by IGNITE, the Regional Centre for Excellence in Sustainable Communities.
The qualifications will allow the five to use their new skills to lead the regeneration of urban areas and local neighbourhoods.
Sam Walker, said: “When I went on this course I was the chairman of Improving Croft and Cowpen Quay neighbourhood regeneration, Blyth – now I am a Blyth Valley Borough councillor and I am hoping to continue learning more about regeneration, making the area where I live a safe and vibrant place.
“If community activists are given a wonderful opportunity to take part in this course, they should take it – it’s a great course.
“There were so many good things achieved from this course for me and I thank IGNITE for giving me the opportunity to enrol on it.”
Kirsteen Thomson, sustainable development manager at One NorthEast, said: “Regeneration requires the efforts and understanding of a broad range of practitioners.
“IGNITE has embarked on a path to raise awareness of the diversity of occupations that are involved. There is a career there for all sorts of people with different skills; this course in particular focuses on how this diversity is harnessed.”
Les Smith, also a Blyth Valley Borough councillor, said: “I found the course stimulating and the encouragement of a self-analytical process meant I was able to link past experience with recognised case studies.
“I learnt that we do not need to continually re-invent the wheel and that each of us has a skill or experience which can facilitate regeneration work.
“It will enable me to play a fuller part in activities locally and be able to understand and pass on that understanding to residents in the area.”
Professor Keith Shaw, programme leader at Northumbria University, said: “The Certificate in Regeneration is an essential requirement for anyone getting involved in regeneration. Even those part-way along the path will leave more capable and with more knowledge than before.
“It is focused on the training needs of both regeneration professionals at an early stage in their career and active citizens who, while developing considerable ‘first-hand’ knowledge of regeneration would also wish to add a wider dimension to their understanding.
“The university is grateful to IGNITE for providing bursaries for community and voluntary sector representatives and we congratulate all those who successfully completed the programme this year.”