Sunderland College’s NextGen Skills Academy has been named a finalist at the prestigious AIM 2023 Empowering Futures Awards.

One of only 18 providers who deliver the NextGen AIM Animation, Games Design and VFX courses across the country, the college has been shortlisted in the Impact category at the event, which recognises the hard work and commitment of AIM recognised centres, employers and partners within the to empower futures.

Written and overseen by world-leading industry experts, Sunderland College students have access to state-of-the-art facilities and software at the college’s Bede Campus, and are inspired through masterclasses with professionals, real-world projects and tasks, work experience and special events. Students also regularly feature in NextGen’s annual showcase, as well as the BAFTA Young Games Designers Awards.

Sheree Rymer, Faculty Director (Creative, Digital & Computing) at the College, commented: “As a college we know the impact NextGen has had on our students at Sunderland College, the industry opportunities and next steps into their career.

“When we saw this category, we felt we needed to share that impact to a wider audience. Because we’ve been shortlisted, it means the judges saw the level of impact also.”

Empowering Futures provides individuals with the tools, resources, knowledge, and opportunities they need to shape and improve their own future outcomes.

In addition to the inaugural awards evening, AIM will also host a conference which will include talks from inspiring speakers about initiatives, policies, and actions that foster sustainable development, social progress, and economic growth.

AIM Qualifications and Assessment Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Kevern Kerswell, said:

“We’re delighted that for these inaugural awards we have received so many entries dedicated to celebrating the achievements of AIM’s centres and partners. All the entries are of a really high standard and demonstrate great commitment to supporting and empowering individuals to go on to do amazing things.

“Congratulations to all finalists. We look forward to celebrating their success as an industry on 9 November.”

Sunderland College and British eSports will be hosting a launch event Tuesday 28 November 4.30-6.30pm where prospective students can find out more about the courses on offer and tour the amazing facilities.

To book a place, for further information, or to book onto upcoming open events, please visit

Why Education Partnership North East (EPNE)?

Highly commended - Employer of the Year, Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards 2019

Engagement with Employers - Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award 2017

(Sunderland College On-programme Survey 2017)

Selected by DfE for 2021 T Level pilot to deliver the new high-quality technical qualifications.

98% overall employer satisfaction - Employer Survey 2018/19