Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has visited Saltburn’s Badger Hill Academy to meet the winners of the Tees Valley Careers Primary Mascot Competition.
In the contest, children in Years 3 – 6 (those aged seven to 11) were asked to show off their skills by designing a fun and creative mascot for Tees Valley Primary Careers, which aims to educate young people about their career choices in the region and demonstrate how they can stay local but go far.
A total of 59 entries were submitted, with the children creating a range of colourful and inventive characters. The winner was Windy Walter – later renamed Windy Wallace – a chilled-out, friendly and hard-working wind turbine, referencing the clean energy aspirations of the region, which was brought to life by Year 6 students Isla, Robyne and Ellie.
Judges praised its catchy, alliterative name and its clear links to the local area, especially the job opportunities coming at Teesworks and thanks to the Teesside Freeport.
The runner-up was Year 4 students Florrie and Sophia’s Nova the Bear, named after the Novavax vaccine which is set to be manufactured by Billingham’s FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies.
The winning team is now working with a professional graphic designer to take their idea from concept to final design, before it is used as the face of the Tees Valley Primary Careers scheme, featuring on its website, social media and resources.
During his trip, Mayor Houchen gave out certificates and trophies to the winners and took part in a Q&A with the pupils. He said: “We’ve all been blown away by Windy Wallace and the creativity, imagination and awareness of what’s happening here shown by the winning students. All the entries demonstrated that ingenuity, teamwork and outside-the-box thinking needed for these young people to become the next generation of innovators, job creators and entrepreneurs.
“Windy Wallace, though, is a really fitting mascot for our Tees Valley Primary Careers initiative as we’re driving hundreds of millions of pounds of investment into the cleaner, safer and healthier jobs of the future.
“With 18,000 jobs set to be created by the Teesside Freeport, the thousands of top civil service posts coming with Government’s Darlington Economic Campus, our region leading the way in net zero, hydrogen, offshore wind and biosciences plus the area’s huge growth in digital and creative sectors, our children will have some truly great careers to choose from in years to come.
“I’m sure primary pupils from right across the Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool will embrace the new mascot as we continue to talk to them about their all-important careers options to highlight how they can secure a well-paid, good-quality job without having to leave the region they call home.”
Sara McCallum, Principal at Badger Hill Academy, said: “I am so proud of our winners and runners up for their creative and innovative ideas. At Badger Hill Academy, we pride ourselves on delivering careers education through our quality curriculum to all of our primary aged children: to inspire and excite them to set aspirational goals for their future from an early age. Therefore, I was so pleased to discover that our children’s designs will be used as a mascot by the Tees Valley Primary Careers who educate young people about their career choices across the region.”