The Great Exhibition of the North celebrates the region’s growing influence as an economic leader and innovation pioneer. It’s a story that Accenture’s proud to be a part of. Accenture is a leading professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. And while we’re a truly global company – our 449,000 employees serve clients in more than 120 countries – we understand the importance of a strong local presence.
That’s why we’ve put down such deep roots in the North East. A key employer in the region, our operations are centred on our UK Advanced Technology Centre, which is based in the city’s Cobalt Business Park. Our 800-strong team at the Centre and an additional 300 employees in Newcastle are working on some of the most innovative technology projects anywhere in the world.
Serving some of the world’s best-known brands, as well as major public-sector departments, our team in Newcastle develop proof of concepts for emerging technologies and demonstrate how they can help customers’ businesses grow, while helping improve the way all of us work and live. To help them do this, we recently opened an Innovation Zone at the Technology Centre, bringing in expertise in advanced technologies such as data engineering, deep analytics and artificial intelligence. Our team here really is at the cutting edge of the industry.
From Allan King, our UK Advanced Technology Centre Lead, downwards we’re committed to helping Newcastle flourish. We’re passionate about reversing the brain drain to London and boosting skilled employment in the North East. As such, we’re fully behind the UK Government’s Northern Powerhouse initiative.
Our results speak for themselves. The North East was home to our first ever Accenture technology apprentices back in 2013 and the programme has now helped more than 150 young people complete a degree in software engineering while getting on-the-job, practical experience with plans to hire another twenty-five apprentices this year. Those who graduate from the Accenture technology apprenticeship programme are offered a job at Accenture. Overall, our focus on driving employment opportunities in the region has led to a doubling of our local workforce.
A key part of our activities in this area centres on attracting more women into the profession. Women remain woefully underrepresented in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (known as STEM) professions, and we want to reverse this trend in the North East. We know that the STEM gender gap starts early in the UK – at A-level only one in six students taking physics are girls, for example – and so we’re pioneering ways to inspire young people in the North to look into these subjects. Our ongoing programme of activities in the North East sees our employees interact with over 19,000 young people and teachers each year, supporting the development of technical and employability skills, hosting regular “STEM in a day” sessions for school pupils at our Technology Centre, and working with local primary schools to run code clubs. We also hold flagship ‘Girls in STEM’ events in Manchester, Edinburgh, London and Newcastle to further inspire girls with the possibilities of a career in technology.
We’re therefore playing an active role in the North East community, offering opportunities where we can do our part to help the region reach its full potential.
Accenture is proud to be a premier partner of the Great Exhibition of the North and celebrate the North of England’s pioneering spirit. We’ll be showcasing some of the latest technologies and innovations at the Get North Family Expo in August and our team in Newcastle have supported North East-based software development agency, Shout, as they designed and developed an engaging and informative ‘wayfinder’ app. The app will allow visitors to navigate the thirty exhibition venues on either side of the Tyne, including world-class music venues, museums, outdoor spaces and iconic landmarks.
The exhibition marks a defining moment for the region, one where we can feel confident to celebrate our past successes but also look forward to how the North of England’s art, culture, design and innovation will continue to shape our lives and help build the economy of tomorrow. It’s an exciting future, and one that we are proud to be a part of.