People from across the region turned out in force to The Sill Summer Showcase event at iconic North East venue BALTIC, on Friday, to celebrate the work of young people involved in the project.
The work of architecture students from Northumbria University and creative media BTEC pupils from Queen Elizabeth's High School in Hexham and The Duchess's Community High School in Alnwick was showcased at the event.
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Their achievements have even drawn praise from North East actor and presenter Robson Green who has recognised the students' work alongside the planned £11.7m Sill project at Once Brewed.
His comments came following the event where a series of short films created by the school pupils taking inspiration from The Sill were screened, which was attended by world-renowned polar explorer, Conrad Dickinson.
The work of third year architecture students from Northumbria University was also put in the spotlight at the Northumbrian themed showcase where they displayed their project work which was based on an adapted version of The Sill design brief.
Robson, who is due back on our screens soon in the second series of hit ITV show Tales from Northumberland, said: "Northumberland is very close to my heart and any project that adds to the host of unique experiences on offer within the county can only be a good thing. It is amazing to see The Sill engaging with young people in the region to help educate and develop their breadth of knowledge of the iconic landscapes that make Northumberland so special.
"The sixth form pupils and university students should be very proud of what they have achieved and they fully deserved to be in the spotlight at this event which has showcased the talents of future generations."
The Sill project team and its key partners - Northumberland National Park Authority (NNPA) and YHA (England and Wales) - are fully committed to developing diverse learning opportunities for wide-ranging audiences, young people in particular. The Sill is set to become a leading facility for training and education, helping to support the region's young workforce by offering people training and employment opportunities.
Through its partnership-based delivery model, The Sill will not only initiate and provide activity and engagement opportunities across a range of areas, but also act as a hub to promote easy access to these experiences, from a range of partners and providers.
The project team have already engaged with scores of young people during a number of pilot activities and work placements which aim to transform the way educational groups, families and individuals understand and value the unique cultural and natural heritage at Once Brewed and throughout the National Park.
Project Director Stuart Evans said: "As well as the direct boost to the economy from visitors staying longer and taking part in more activities, The Sill aims to provide training and employment opportunities to better enable our young people to enter the job market. Getting relevant experience and a first rung on the employment ladder is so important for anyone just starting out in their careers. Along with our partners, we are committed to supporting a predicated 23,000 formal learning opportunities through The Sill as well as facilitating real life training experiences and apprenticeships for young people."
The Sill worked in partnership with teachers from The Duchess School and Queen Elizabeth School to develop the creative media project which was celebrated at the BALTIC on Friday. The pupils were challenged to produce a series of short films to raise awareness of The Sill amongst target audiences. As part of the project the teenagers visited Steel Rigg to gather material for their films, which included interviews with members of The Sill project team, Northumberland National Park Authority (NNPA) staff and tourists.
Sam Volpe, an 18-year-old Queen Elizabeth High School student who took part in the project, said: "Being involved in The Sill project has been a great experience because it has given me an insight into the workings of the promotional industry. This has been a really useful link to my BTEC unit on corporate and promotional products."
The Sill project team also continued to strengthen its relationship with Northumbria University by again linking up with third year architecture students who based their project work on The Sill's design brief. The project, which is run in conjunction with NNPA, YHA and award-winning Newcastle based architects Jane Darbyshire and David Kendall (JDDK), saw the students visit the Once Brewed site and a variety of other locations around Northumberland National Park in order to understand the landscape context and researched varying historical, cultural or geological aspects of the park.
Some of the students exhibited their project designs at the BALTIC event where guests were able to see the models up close and gain an insight into the work directly from the students.
Graduating Northumbria Architecture student and NNPA Prize winner Matthew Glover, said: "It was great to work on a live project in such a beautiful and historical location, with JDDK giving an insight to the approach they had taken for The Sill Project. It was a pleasure to be awarded the NNPA Prize."
Conrad Dickinson, a world-renowned polar explorer who has lived in Northumberland all his life, was a guest at the event and spoke during the presentation about his support for The Sill project's work with young people.
Conrad said: "I would like to congratulate all the young people involved in The Sill project on their achievements and what a great opportunity the BALTIC event was to showcase their work.
"I'm fortunate to have experienced exploring many different parts of the world but the stunning landscapes on our doorstep never fail to amaze me. The Sill will become an inspiring location which will engage a wide selection of the population on so many levels. I'm particularly excited by the range of activities The Sill will offer young people, encouraging them to get out into the outdoors, expand their horizons and learn about landscapes and conservation.
"We've seen first-hand here the impact that the project is already having on a high number of young people and the doors its opening for their future careers and training opportunities. I wholly support its ambitions and look forward to watching this once-in-a-generation opportunity take shape."
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