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£1m project brings interactive experiences to life in Abu Dhabi

A Newcastle University graduate is helping showcase the wonders of engineering to people of all ages across the Emirates through a £1m interactive visitor attraction.

Newcastle-based Engineering Creatives delivered 18 interactive exhibits for My Works – a theme park in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall. Designed to provide a platform for creative engagement, wonder and learning, the project includes an interactive train simulator, a catapult game, a recycling machine and environmental simulations.

All the exhibits and interactive games were designed at the company’s office base in St Thomas Street, Newcastle. All the systems have been manufactured in the UK, mostly in the North East, and assembled at the Engineering Creatives workshops in South Shields, before being shipped out to the Middle-East.

Among the Engineering Creatives team who delivered the Middle-East project was Kevin Vayro, from Chester-le-Street, who graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in mechanical engineering. He worked on several installations, including developing a design for the automated catapult, where groups of up to three visitors collaborate to achieve a high score using small medieval siege catapults to launch projectiles at targets of varying difficulty.

Kevin said: “The work that I have been involved in both here in the UK and in the Middle East has been very interesting, and challenging.  I never believed that I would be designing and making complex systems for interactive entertainment, but here I am!”

Clive Mockford, Managing Director of Engineering Creatives, said: “The support that the company has received from Newcastle University has been excellent.  The staff in Mechanical Engineering and the Careers Service have been very supportive.  Kevin has been a fantastic addition to the company and he continues to develop his knowledge and skills as we take on new and innovative projects.”

Kevin completed a work placement at the company, before securing a permanent position. He is one of the 220 graduates to be successfully into North East based SMEs since 2012. This is part of a Newcastle University Careers Service scheme called ‘Improving SME Performance through Graduate Apprentices’ which helps to support the growth and development of businesses in the region whilst working to retain graduate talent in the North East. The success of the scheme has resulted in over 80% of graduates placed retained in further employment.

Marc Lintern, Director of the Careers Service at Newcastle University said: “Working on high-profile projects, such as My Works in Abu Dhabi, will go a long way towards helping Kevin build a successful career in engineering.

“Kevin’s success shows the value that work placements and work experience can have and it is something that the University is very proactive in developing.  We collaborate with regional and national employers to ensure that we are equipping our students with appropriate skills and encouraging engagement to their mutual benefit.

“The support from our award-winning Careers Service aims to boost our graduates’ employability prospects, including application advice, advertising paid work experience and graduate vacancies. We also organise careers fairs, employer presentations and skill development sessions to help our students into the job market.”

Newcastle University students are among the most employable in the country. The most recent graduate destination data, from those graduating in 2013/14, shows that 94.1% of leavers were in employment six months after graduating.

Newcastle University Careers Service has been recognised with multiple awards from industry bodies for the support it offers to students and graduates. These include the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services and National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education.

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