After gaining insight into creative areas, exploring career possibilities and creating extraordinary work, our final 122 students faced the highly anticipated final show – an event which continues to inspire and influence the creative sphere in the North East region. This year we were fortunate enough to host the event at the Great North Museum, with special thanks to Newcastle University. Who could possibly complain about having a gallery decorated with dinosaurs!?

Students arrived in the early afternoon to prep and polish projects. Not only were they going to be showcasing their work in the evening but they had a full and very hectic day ahead. In some ways this gave them a taste of reality, by allowing them to be independent and assertive in organising their own work. Most significantly, this was the perfect opportunity for young people to reflect on their TICE experience.First up (after a very rainy photoshoot), TICE alumni Joseph O’Donnell, Laurel Outterside, Lana Skye Caven and Megan Savage joined us for a quick panel/Q&A session. Current students were informed on their own experience of the TICE Programme and why it has become such an important part of their lives, both reflected in personal and creative contexts. All four talked about their current career/education (all still heavily involved in the creative sector) and why they are still involved with TICE in some capacity. The universal piece of advice throughout the session was to stay in contact.Soon after, we welcomed industry elites from all creative areas to give constructive feedback to the students. The room was full of energy – our students were fully engaged, communicating effectively and hearing wonderful words of praise left, right and centre. It was the ideal ‘pre-final show test run’ to give students felt that extra boost of confidence for the main event…

Fast forward to 6pm…hair gelled, dresses fitted and drinks poured. The venue was filled with proud parents, teachers and employers. As they settled in the presentation room, the evening began with a brief introduction from managing director, Jennifer Barrett. She left the audience in awe with her story of building TICE to what it is today and exactly how the company has exposed creative opportunities in the North East. Many were shocked to find that blending Fashion with Ecology, creatively encouraging healthy hearts to children and getting young adults on their career ladder were among the list of projects alongside the TICE Programme.

We were delighted to invite Newcastle University’s Director of Newcastle University Institute for Creative Arts Practice, Dr Venda Pollock to the stage to give a brief insight into the changes in creative education. This was only the beginning of eye opening statements and statistics for the audience, most of whom were unaware of exactly what was happening in the creative world we live in today. Generator’s Jim Mawdsley followed and of course, he did not disappoint with his bold character and wit. We were fortunate enough to hear his words of wisdom on the creative sector, specifically in the North East. Parents were visibly stunned by the vast opportunities on their children’s doorstep.To kick off the showcase, two bands from TICE Music took to the stage. More on their journeys here. With a pop anthem and a rock classic to get the audience moving, the audience were growing more eager to see more work.

The audience were guided downstairs as they wandered around the gallery which beautifully showcased the Fashion, Photography, Graphics, Creative Enterprise and Computer Science projects. After many photos being taken, hundreds of proud faces strolled back to hear two more bands from the Music team. Never has there been so much pride in one room.

Jenny then welcome Joseph O’Donnell back onto the stage – ex-TICE student, Fashion Communication student at Northumbria University and Head of U.K and International Agency Communications at Tyne Tees Models. At 20 years of age, with that level of experience, Joseph fondly talked about how the TICE Programme shaped his success and kept him grounded in the process.

One particular student from TICE Graphics, Lauren Hallewell, stood on the podium and gave an wonderful and empowering speech on her own experience. To face the stage and talk to hundreds was an astronomical achievement for not only Lauren but for her peers who were cheering her on. This put a cherry on the cake and perfectly encapsulated what the TICE Programme is all about.

The evening was of course a step on the professional ladder for young people and a chance to reflect on their projects but above all, it was a night of smiles and fulfilment. Congratulations to TICE Class of 2017 for completing the programme to a standard beyond our imagination and thank you to our collaborating schools, companies and venues for making TICE Programme 2016/17 a year to remember.

Check out our annual Final Show montage here!