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Sunderland University graduate Caitline Ward lights creative fuse at estate agency

A Media Production graduate is helping a thriving North-East estate agency transform its online house buying experience using the latest 360 degree virtual technology.

Caitlin’s Ward's three-month placement opportunity to support Paul Airey Estate Agents’ reinvention of its digital strategy has been made possible thanks to the University of Sunderland’s partnership with Creative Fuse North East, a project unlocking the potential of the creative, digital and tech sectors to drive growth of the region’s economy.

Cailtin, of Durham, is the first student in the region this year to secure a placement through Creative Fuse and is already making a significant contribution to the Sunderland-based business, as it adapts its digital platforms following the impact of Covid-19 on its operations and the customer experience.

Paul Airey said: “We have a long-established relationship with the University of Sunderland and have welcomed the opportunity to work with the excellent David Puttnam Media Centre team, who are providing professional assistance with high-calibre students.

"The prospect of working alongside the university is very exciting and we look forward to providing commercial opportunities for students whilst also benefiting from their knowledge and enthusiasm.”

Caitlin graduated this summer with a first-class degree in media production, after developing digital skills employers are looking to tap into.

She said: “Through my role as videographer and brand development specialist at Paul Airey Estate Agents I have not only been able to put the skills I learned on my media production course at Sunderland into practice, I have also gained new skills and experiences too, which I can carry through my career.

"The role allows me lots of creative freedom which has helped my transition from student to professional feel seamless.”

Paul Airey has a high street city centre office but has embraced a strong online presence and is concentrating on taking the business into the digital marketplace.

This involves the creation of videos for the live streaming of property viewings, the development of CGI technology to accompany the Matterport 360 scans for new housing schemes, along with a number of other market leading projects that the business’s in-house media department are currently working on.

Sue Perryman, Programme Leader for Media Studies and Caitlin’s Creative Fuse Mentor, said: “Our programmes keep pace with new knowledge and commercial requirements of businesses. It is very rewarding to witness our graduates utilising the knowledge and skills acquired on our programmes to make a real impact. The experience provided with the Creative Fuse has been invaluable as a gateway to employability.”

Caitlin’s experience highlights the impact Sunderland graduates have in the commercial sector as well as shining a light on the role of Creative Fuse, which is delivered through a unique partnership between the North East’s five universities – Newcastle, Durham, Northumbria, Teesside and Sunderland. Academics work alongside industry, cultural organisations, charities and the public sector, to explore how creative, digital and IT firms can have a sustainable future in the region adding value to the region’s broader employment base.