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University of Sunderland

Expo Champions

The first event advisory group was created in December 2023, bringing together more than 30 local businesspeople and educationalists from organisations including Tombola, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Nissan and Vantec and our Expo Champions were born!

The group's current focus is on how Expo Sunderland's Your Future events can showcase the high-quality careers available in the city as well as pathways to opportunities. As Sunderland transforms and in a new way, exploring education and employment challenges and how they can support residents to access new and emerging careers in areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automotive design, animation and graphics, biotechnology, healthcare and science, Esports, and film lighting and production. 

Jo Usher

Corporate Engagement Officer, Expo Sunderland.

“The University is delighted to be a headline sponsor for Expo Sunderland.  It demonstrates our commitment to the future economic, social, environmental, and cultural success of the city, and we’re thrilled to see the level of engagement underway to ensure that we really connect this Expo programme to residents, who will ultimately drive the success of the city in the future. 

“A strong city needs a strong university, and a strong university needs a strong city. That is especially true in Sunderland as we work together to make our great city an even better place to live, work and study.”



Iain Nixon

Vice Principal Partnerships and Commercial

As the top performing college group in the North East for student achievement, we have a strong vision of excellence which inspires the next generation, transforms lives and creates a positive impact on the economy and the local communities that we serve.

Education Partnership North East and Sunderland College are proud to support Expo Sunderland which celebrates innovation and a shared ambition while showcasing the high-quality careers and opportunities available across our city for all.



Sharon Appleby


Sunderland Business Improvement District is a business led, working partnership with one clear vision – to create a vibrant city centre and opportunities for everyone.

The three themes of EXPO – Future City, Future Living and Future Home reflect the three themes of Sunderland BID:-

City Pride: changing perceptions and building civic pride by ensuring our city centre is welcoming, safe, clean and attractive for everyone

City Voice: providing a robust and collective voice for our businesses at the highest level to make good things happen to improve Sunderland City Centre’s trading environment.

City Promotion: continuously raising the profile of Sunderland regionally and nationally and create a year-round programme of City-wide activities, high profile events and promotional campaigns.

Bringing the City Centre to life is a priority for both partners and working together to achieve this.


Paul McEldon


As Chief Executive of the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) Ltd, Paul comes from an accomplished background in finance and auditing with KPMG, having previously studied accountancy and financial analysis at Newcastle University. Since his appointment in 2001 Paul has established the BIC as  a primary regional player in the fields of incubation, innovation and business support.

In addition to his work with the BIC, Paul works with several other organisations, all dedicated to shaping enterprise in the North East. Paul chairs the regional enterprise network group North East Enterprise Agencies Ltd (NEEAL), and was appointed chair of the National Enterprise Network (NEN) in 2012, prior to which he served as deputy chair.

Paul is also a Non-Executive at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and Chair of Community Opportunities in the City .

In 2020, Paul was awarded the Outstanding Contribution award by National Enterprise Network in recognition of his exceptional work. The Awards recognised those in the enterprise support sector who have gone the extra mile in the most challenging year for business.

In 2021 Paul was awarded the OBE for his services to local North East Businesses.





Louise Bradford

Managing Director

Louise is MD of award-winning Sunderland agency Creo Comms. 

Launched in 2014, the company provides strategic marcomms to local, regional, national and international clients, offering everything from PR and social media to graphic design and videography. 

Creo also manages Sunderland Business Limited - a membership organisation that has more than 60 members from and with an interest in Sunderland’s development – as well as Sunderland Creatives Agency – a student-powered agency delivered in collaboration with the University of Sunderland. 



Jamie Pell

Head of Client Relations

AM Recruitment specialise in contract, temporary and permanent positions within a multitude of sectors and are most well known for their involvement in the Engineering and Construction industries globally. We can source and place all positions including administration, management, marketing, sales, labouring, engineers, project management, directors and many more.

AM Training have two departments, one being commercially delivered health & safety and business training, including First Aid, Sales, Customer Service, Working at Heights, IOSH and much more. The other area is completely focussed on supporting unemployed people from all backgrounds into work through innovative and ethical funded training. We work within many sectors including customer service, hospitality, construction, manufacturing, logistics and more.



Chris Nutman

CEO & Founder

Our future is in Our hands. Global Teacher is a Tech for Good organisation focused around creating equitable access to education around the world. Born and Headquartered in Sunderland, we are excited to grow, hire and grow in Our glorious City of Sunderland.



Claire Jones

Head of Skills




Kelly Swinney

Head of Customer Hub

Kelly Swinney, Head of Ocado Retail’s Customer Hub, brings 20 years of unique leadership style and experiences in delivering award winning customer and cultural excellence within contact centres. Exceptionally knowledgeable in best practices & innovation to identify and celebrate outstanding achievements in our dynamic sector.



Kevin Jones


Spitfire and the North East Learning & Enterprise Partnership are committed to supporting the drive to link the education and career pathways of young people to develop the talent that will deliver the exciting projects and opportunities that are coming to the city that will lead to prosperity for generations



Nevil Tynemouth


As the founder of New Results, Nevil is focused on supporting you and your teams’ development journey.

Nevil has been training and developing professionals in both a corporate environment and as a business owner for over 20 years and has a 30-year career in business development (he helped launch both Dyson and BlackBerry in the UK). 


New Results

Kalam Neale

Head of Education

As the national body for esports in the United Kingdom, British Esports are at the forefront of amateur grassroots esports, and represent the national interest on the global stage through Team GB and the Home Nations. From developing nationwide grassroots esports tournaments for schools and colleges to building the world’s first vocational qualifications in esports, British Esports are one of the world’s leading esports authorities, shaping the future of competitive gaming.

Nestled in the vibrant city of Sunderland, the National Esports Performance Campus is the definitive home of British Esports, where innovation, passion and dedication create a haven for amateur esports enthusiasts and aspiring professionals alike. Modern, state of the art performance rooms, offices and contemporary classrooms form the backbone of the campus, which also includes luxurious on-site residential accommodation and a dedicated 5G esports arena next to the Stadium of Light with retractable seating for up to 250 spectators and the very latest in AV and broadcast equipment, positioning the National Esports Performance Campus at the forefront of esports innovation.



Michael Colclough

Head of Skills

I personally believe that anyone can succeed with opportunity and environment, and this is what Your Future Expo will provide.

"Come own your future, come see the jobs and roles that are on our doorstep, stretch yourself and your confidence and start taking the next steps towards your own progression."

At the Foundation of Light we truly believe in our children and young people, they can learn, they can grow, they can succeed. It is our responsibility as a network of employers and providers, to enable children and young people to see and realise their potential, this event will go along way in supporting that mission.



Vicky Happer

Recruitment and Communications Coordinator

Vicky Happer
Vantec logo

Joe Haynes

Director of Client Services

Different Narrative is a marketing, advertising, design and communications agency dedicated to creating change for good.

We exist to help businesses and other organisations to grow and flourish. And we’re also passionate about nurturing new talent and young imaginations, working with our region’s schools, colleges and universities to open minds and horizons to the thrilling opportunities that the North East offers in the creative industries.

As creative marketing partners to EXPO Sunderland, we’re so excited about the events’ potential to further these shared missions – to celebrate the advances made here for the cities and societies of the future. To share the knowledge behind those advances. And to give Sunderland, its innovators, educators and entrepreneurs the global spotlight they deserve.

Narrative logo


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