Due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, the FutureMe team are now working from home. We remain available online to support you during this time. Visit our resources section to find information and activities that can be accessed at home. Click here for more information.

Festival Acts

Andrea Naylor
Tees Valley Combined Authority

Andrea is the Careers Hub Lead at Tees Valley Combined Authority and currently works with and supports 72 secondary schools and colleges across the Tees Valley region to support career leaders to improve their careers programmes for their students.  The role of the Careers Hub is to also link schools and colleges with employers to build networks, so young people are aware of the fantastic career opportunities in the region and therefore are able to make more informed decisions about their future. 

Andy Sixsmith

Andy is a freelance sports broadcaster from the North East of England.  

Having cut his teeth as a sports presenter for local television, he went freelance 5 years ago and is now best known as a reporter for Premier League Productions worldwide and for covering matches in all weathers up and down the UK for BBC's 'Final Score' programme and 5Live Sport. 

A huge sports fan, elsewhere, Andy is also a live matchday host for Durham Cricket and the Newcastle Thunder and is hoping to host Newcastle's Rugby League World Cup games later this year. 

He's also a regular presenter for the RFL's 'OurLeague' streaming service and runs his own media production company, 6Media, providing a range of video and editing services to clients across the UK and worldwide. 

Becky
Northumbria University

Hi, my name is Becky and I am one of the Student Recruitment Coordinators at Northumbria University. I have worked for the University for just over 2 years and have worked in the HE sector for 5 years. Please feel free to ask me any questions you have regarding university and what it is like being a student. 

Charlie Smith
UCAS

Charlie began working at UCAS in September 2014 and has extensive experience working directly with applicants, teachers, advisers, university outreach and admissions staff. Charlie is a digital learning developer which involves creating digital learning collateral for all of UCAS’s customer groups in the form of online learning modules, interactive webinars, presentations and much more. Charlie possess a strong working knowledge of UCAS’s processes and systems and uses this to develop engaging, relevant and timely content to support informed decision making across all customer groups.  

Chris Cook

After competing for Great Britain for nearly 10 years Chris hung up the trunks and retired from international swimming and now works with businesses, performance teams, schools and organisations to assist them in pursuit of their goals, inspiring a world class mind-set and encouraging people to follow their passion. Chris has built an impressive reputation on word of mouth as a motivational speaker and regularly receives testimonials that reflect passion to inspire.

David Coe
North East Local Enterprise Partnership

David is an Enterprise Coordinator at the North East LEP, supporting schools & colleges across the region with their careers education programmes and facilitating meaningful engagement between business & education 

Dr Nabil El-Nayal
The Northern School of Art on behalf of FutureMe

Dr. Nabil El-Nayal runs his own successful fashion label 'NABIL NAYAL'. He has been nominated for the LVMH Prize in 2015 and 2017, he has also been the winner of the British Fashion Council's Fashion Trust for two years running. His garments have been worn by many celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Victoria Beckham, Lorde. The highly-renowned designer Karl Lagerfeld has previously commissioned Nabil to make a shirt for his muse and collaborator Amanda Harlech.

Durham University Student Ambassadors
Durham University

Eleanor- I am a second-year student at Collingwood College, Durham University. I study Modern Languages and Cultures (post A-Level Spanish and ab initio Russian). Outside of my course I am involved with student theatre here at Durham, as well as being on the ENTs committee in my college, which means organising events such as formals and balls!

Hollie- Hi my name is Hollie, I’m a first year psychology student at Josephine Butler College and I hope to join college netball in my second year.

Jennifer- Hi everyone! I’m Jennifer, a second year psychology student at Durham University Trevelyan college. I’m part of College Musical, Student Welfare and College Junior Common Room. Please feel free to send any questions and we’ll be more than happy to reply!

Hannah
Oxford North East

Hannah is the Senior Outreach Officer at St Anne’s College, which is one of the colleges that works in the North East of England. Before joining St Anne’s, Hannah was a Deputy Director of Sixth Form at an academy in Southwark and has spent a lot of hours (and late nights!) supporting applicants through UCAS, and into a wide range of careers and universities. When she’s not hosting school groups or talking about fair access to university, Hannah enjoys hiking, baking, board games and attempting to write the novel she will never finish.

Helen
ASK Apprenticeship/BL Training

The Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge for Schools and Colleges (ASK) programme is funded by the Department for Education.

The programme is designed to give schools, colleges and other educational establishments across England free support to develop and transform how your students, teachers and parents think about apprenticeships.

Jade
Teesside University

Check back soon for more infomation.

Jonny Bussell
The Northern School of Art

Jonny studied Philosophy at Newcastle University and then went on to study MA Acting at Arts Educational Schools London. After graduating Jonny has worked as an actor and director predominately in the North East performing in productions such as ‘Revenger’s Tragedy’ and ‘The Duchess of Malfi’. Jonny recently directed ACE funded ‘Bankers’ at Alphabetti Theatre in Newcastle. The play looked at the links between the 2008 banking crisis and the rise of foodbank usage. As a writer Jonny’s first full length play ‘The Centre’ was produced at Arc in Stockton, his play ‘The Bag’ toured the North East and Scotland with Northumberland Theatre Company and his short plays have been performed at venues such as Live Theatre, The Cockpit Theatre and Theatre 503. He was the writer of ‘Just Checking’ and ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ two plays looking at OCD in conjunction with Vivid Theatre Company and Newcastle University that were performed at Northern Stage and Arc. Jonny is currently Programme Leader at The Northern School of Art for the BA Hons Acting for Stage and Screen. His research interests are collaborative practices and working with students from under-represented groups.  

Kevin McMullan
Student Loans Company

Kevin McMullan has worked for the Student Loans Company since 2006, and in his current role as Northern Region Account Manager for the ‘Funding Information Team’ since 2013. 

Leanne
University of Sunderland

Hi, my name is Leanne and my role includes planning and delivering student recruitment activity for schools and colleges outside of the North East Region. Having studied at the University myself I am keen to share my experience with others.  This is also my hometown University and I am very proud to be part of a team that spreads the word about University and City of Sunderland.

Liam
Education Partnership North East

Liam is a new Higher Education Transitions Officer within Education Partnership North East, primarily Sunderland College Bede Campus. His role surrounds effective transition from further to higher education and hopes to inspire under-represented learners to make the leap to higher education and display what this could offer them regarding employment in the near future.

Louise Harrison
North East Raising Aspiration Partnership

Louise is the Project Manager for the North East Raising Aspiration Partnership and joined the team in April 2021. Louise has worked in Widening Participation for over 11 years and is passionate about supporting young people to make informed decisions about their future through collaboration with the five universities in the North East of England. Louise’s main role is to lead on collaborative activity across the region, including school-based provision and specialist work with care experienced students and young carers.

Marie Jobson
Careers and Enterprise Company

Marie Jobson joined the Careers and Enterprise Company in June 2019 to join the Education Team, a dynamic team committed to delivering on the government Career Strategy. As Practice and Development Manager, Marie oversees effective delivery of Careers Leader focussed practice and development. Before joining the Careers and Enterprise Company, Marie worked within the senior leadership team at Churchill Community College, an 11-18 school in the North East of England, where she was responsible for pastoral systems, safeguarding and careers leadership. Marie took Churchill Community College through the Gatsby pilot and under her leadership the school was one of the first in the country to meet all 8 Gatsby Benchmarks of good careers guidance. 

Mark Fox
North East Local Enterprise Partnership

Mark is a Careers Adviser by training and is currently working with 40 secondary schools across the North East region to improve their careers programmes for their students. Much of his work also involves working with employers to find out what they need from the young people they recruit and trying to promote some of the amazing career opportunities in our region.

Mollie
Newcastle University

Hi I'm Mollie, one of the outreach ambassadors from Newcastle. I graduated from Newcastle last summer and studied French and Psychology as part of the Combined Honours programme. I also took a year abroad and spent a year teaching English at a high school in France. I'm originally from Cumbria, so moved away for university and lived in halls of residence for 1st year and then rented a house with some friends for the rest of my degree! 

Olivia Burton
The Northern School of Art on behalf of FutureMe

Olivia joined The Northern School of Art at the beginning of 2017, after working in industry for over ten years. Olivia's career began with her working with a number of leading graphic design and advertising agencies. Olivia’s most recent role in the industry focused on internationalising a design and fit out company. Olivia led the brand campaign in the Middle East, managing a design team and leading international design projects for the hospitality industry. Operating freelance, Olivia developed an online design business to promote local and emerging design practitioners, winning a number of national and entrepreneurial awards. She is a regular guest speaker at Digital Leaders and Woman in Digital and had worked as an enterprise mentor. Olivia’s own practice has a digital focus. She is interested in digital and motion graphics and Olivia’s expertise is in research-driven, commercially orientated design. Her keen interest is in the area where design meets business. Olivia’s skills lie in developing the student’s ability to design commercially aware graphic and digital solutions. 

Paul
University of Sunderland

Hi, I’m Paul and I coordinate student recruitment activity for schools and colleges outside of the North East region. I am passionate about providing guidance to adults as well as younger sixth form and college students about their options in higher education. I have over 14 years' experience of working in education and enjoy building links with local schools and colleges to help support and raise the aspirations of students.

Phoebe
Newcastle University

Hi I’m Phoebe, I graduated from Newcastle University in Summer 2020 with a 2:1 in Linguistics! I also completed Newcastle’s PARTNERs supported entry route programme in 2017. I now work as an outreach ambassador for the university.

Rachel Morrison
FutureMe and Outreach North East

Rachel is the Senior Project Coordinator for FutureMe and Outreach North East. Her passion for widening participation and supporting under-represented groups stems from personal experiences in various higher education initiatives as the first in her family to attend. As a Level 7 qualified career development professional, her focus is to support practitioners to understand how higher education outreach aligns with national priorities and support teachers and advisers to evidence towards their statutory responsibilities. 

Richard
Oxford North East

Richard is part of the Access & Outreach Team at Trinity College, which is one of the three colleges on the Oxford for North East Consortium.  Richard was born and brought up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and is based in the region, working exclusively with state schools and colleges in the North East.  Before working for the university, Richard enjoyed a 20-year career in teaching, latterly as a Headteacher, and as Head of Sixth enjoyed the challenge of supporting students to reach the very best destinations after school for them as individuals.  Richard enjoys being a Dad to four-year-old twin boys, Fell Running, and trying to sustain the resilience to support Newcastle United.

Sam Emerson
North East Raising Aspiration Partnership

Sam is the Project Coordinator for the North East Raising Aspiration Partnership, having joined the team in 2017. The Partnership aims to support young people in making decisions for the future and is something that Sam works hard to achieve. Having come from a widening participation background in the West Country, he seeks to ensure all young people are supported in making the decisions which are right for them. Sam’s main role is supporting schools in delivering regional outreach, as well as creating bespoke events for Care Experienced Young People, and Young Carers.

Sarah
Queen Elizabeth 6th Form College

My name is Sarah; a former coffee shop owner, landscape gardener, Workskills Tutor, Progress Tutor, music producer and recording/performing artiste, teaching assistant, shop assistant, primary school teacher and archaeologist. I currently work at Queen Elizabeth 6th Form College as the FutureMe Co-ordinator and I am a huge believer in the importance of gaining lots and lots of different life experiences…as you can tell from my previous job roles. I genuinely think that the more you get out of life, the more you have to give - to your career, your community and your friends and family. In my free time I like to; read, play guitar, walk up mountains, garden, swim, train in Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu and spend time with my 6 year old daughter. If I could host a dinner party of guests, dead or alive, I would really like to invite Benjamin Franklin (just see what he got up to!!!), my Dad ( he can talk to anyone!), Kit Harrington (Jon Snow -GoT), Carol King (how many songs has she written?!), Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer.  I would also need my sister on hand as she cooks far better than I do! As part of HE Fest 21 I will be sharing with you some thoughts on work experience and why it matters as you plan for your next steps

Sasha Quigg
FutureMe and Outreach North East

Sasha is the Project Coordinator for FutureMe and Outreach North East, having joined the team in 2017. She is passionate about widening participation, helping young people make the right choice for them and supporting teachers and advisers in the region access the information they need to best support their students. Her work within the team is primarily focussed on the marketing and engagement of the programme, including the digital presence and creating exciting new resources. She moved to the region to study Biomedical Science and has been here since!  

Stephen Isherwood
Institute for Student Employers

Stephen Isherwood was appointed Chief Executive of the ISE in June 2013 following seven years as Head of Graduate Recruitment UK & Ireland at Ernst & Young, one of the largest recruiters of graduates in the UK. 

Prior to EY, Stephen managed graduate recruitment and development programmes in both the private and public sectors. Stephen has extensive experience in the recruitment and development of students, both graduates and school leavers. He has worked closely with Higher Education throughout his career and is focused on the career development and employment of students. 

In addition to his current role, Stephen sits on several steering groups related to higher education and employment and was recently a special advisor to Dame Shirley Pearce’s TEF review. He is a member of the Jisc Student Services Advisory Board, a trustee of Ashorne Hill Management College. Stephen also works with the charity Speakers for Schools and has also recently teamed up with Roding Valley High School as an Enterprise Advisor through the Careers and Enterprise Company. He has presented to various committees in the Houses of Parliament and often appears in national and local media. 

Tanya Harrison
FutureMe and Outreach North East

Tanya has worked in the field of widening participation and has developed and managed a number of progressive and sustained programmes of interventions.  She currently manages the FutureMe Schools’ Programme for the North East Collaborative Outreach Partnership, part of the national Uni Connect Programme. 

Teesside University Student Ambassadors
Teesside University

Lauren is in her 1st year of BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies (Mental Health) at Teesside University. If you are thinking about or have applied to a health course, our student panel Q&A session will be the perfect opportunity to have all of your questions answered.  

Shabeena is studying BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy at Teesside University. If you are thinking about or have applied to a health course, our student panel Q&A session will be the perfect opportunity to have all of your questions answered. 

Anna is a 1st year BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy student at Teesside University. If you are thinking about or have applied to a health course, our student panel Q&A session will be the perfect opportunity to have all of your questions answered. 

James is a 2nd year BSc (Hons) Social Work student. If you are thinking about or have applied to a health course, our student panel Q&A session will be the perfect opportunity to have all of your questions answered.

Tom
Medical Mavericks

Tom is the Head Honcho of Inspiration at Medical Mavericks. Tom and his team inspire the next generation of medical professionals with school workshops, shows, live streams and virtual work experience. Tom is also a Physiologist and Toxicologist and previously taught Nurses, Paramedics & Biomedical Scientists at Birmingham City University. He is also a keen runner, husband to Davina and Dad to Beatrice & George!