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50 of the best!

8th July 2016

Northumbria’s students have been hailed for their ‘talent, passion and professionalism’ by a company about to employ its 50th placement from the University.

Students from Northumbria’s department of Architecture and Built Environment have been impressing staff at property development company, Adderstone Group, for more than 10 years. Based in Newcastle, the group has a property development portfolio of £100 million, and has been working with Northumbria for more than 10 years to help develop students and give them invaluable industry experience.

One of the company’s success stories is James Atkinson who graduated from Northumbria in 2008. James, who studied Planning and Development Surveying, had a work placement at Adderstone Group in 2005 and was kept on; rising through the ranks to become their Development Director last year.

James said: “Undoubtedly my work placement back in 2005 initially enabled me to secure invaluable training and experience and gave me the opportunity to prove myself within Adderstone Group. At the end of the placement I was asked to stay on and develop my career further and from there I gained experience working across the company’s residential lettings, management, and development sectors.

“After progressing through the business over the last few years, in 2015 I became Development Director and now lead a team of in-house architects and surveyors as well as managing relationships with external partners working on our nation-wide development portfolio.”

Thanks to Northumbria’s outstanding reputation amongst employers, the University’s Architecture and Built Environment courses have an incredibly strong international industry network. Students have benefited from working with household names such as Sir Robert McAlpine, Faulkner Brown, Network Rail, Faithful & Gould, Barratt, Turner & Townsend, Laing O’Rourke and many more. 

James added: “I would certainly recommend the opportunities that a work placement brings to any student that is considering their options for the future. It enables you to gain practical experience that can set you apart from other candidates. In the last 10 years it’s been very satisfying to see our new cohort of students come into Adderstone Group and see them contribute to the company’s success. At a company like Adderstone Group work placements are genuinely able to contribute and see their efforts make a difference around the business. Their input is highly valued.” 

Allison Harrison, Adderstone Group Operations Director said: “In the years that we have been running this joint venture with Northumbria University we been able to work with a number of talented and passionate students, each bringing fantastic qualities to our portfolio of companies.

“The students consistently bring fresh ideas, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn and, as a result, many have been able to make a significant impression during their placements. The work they have done has been of great benefit to Adderstone Group which has developed and grown hugely over the last few years, as well as to their overall experience and career development.

“The scheme has been a success both for the students we recruit and for the vibrancy they add around the business. Many of the students we have welcomed have remained with us or returned to us long after their placements have ended which provides evidence that the scheme works and delivers great people into industry.”

Northumbria works closely with hundreds of companies to provide work placements across a range of courses. Placements help to enhance career prospects and create a more-rounded student experience, while positively contributing to a business’s needs. This has helped build Northumbria’s outstanding track record of graduate employability, with 94% of graduates in work or further study within six months. To find out more about placements in Engineering and Environment visit the Placements Team in The Link, D Block, Ellison Building or email

Northumbria’s Architecture and Built Environment department is one of the most well-established and respected in the UK. It encompasses architecture, interior architecture, building surveying, quantity surveying, real estate, and housing programmes. To find out more about studying at Northumbria go to:

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