TALENTED physics students met business leaders from some of the region’s most innovative companies as part of a bid to keep their skills in the North-East.

The event at the North East Technology Park (NETPark), in Sedgefield, was designed to introduce the students to regional science and tech employers interested in recruiting physicists.

Dr Alex Brabbs, North-East and Yorkshire regional officer for the Institute of Physics, said she wanted to raise general awareness of physics-based careers because students often have a low awareness of the opportunities available.

She said: "NETPark is a hive of physics and STEM based high-tech companies and we know some of those companies are looking for physicists. We want students to know that actually there are jobs available for them in the North-East.

"Physicists are employed throughout a huge range of sectors and often students don’t realise that it’s the soft skills they develop during their time at university which are of value to companies.

"They’re highly analytical, numerate and enjoy solving problems for example and many employers are just as interested in these skills as the modules they have taken."

The students from the universities of Durham, Northumbria and York, heard talks from Dr Margaret Harris, reviews and careers editor for the Institute of Physics Publishing, and Dr Emma Banks, CEO of Datatrial and NELEP Skills Board, on the broad range of careers available and the high-tech opportunities available in the North-East.

After lunch, there was a speed networking session where the students met representatives from innovative North-East companies such as PolyPhotonix, Kromek, Ibex Innovations, Tracerco, Peratech Holdco, Waterstons, Hereus Quartz and Teach First.

Catherine Johns, Business Durham’s director of innovation and business growth, compered the event and said: "It’s vital that students at our universities in the North-East understand the vast range of opportunities which are available to them – otherwise they’ll take their talents elsewhere."

Dr Andrew Hirst, project manager of the White Rose Industrial Physics Academy, a partnership between the universities of York and Sheffield, said: "Developing stronger relationships between industries and university physics departments is critical to support the economic growth of businesses, not only through collaborative R&D, but also by encouraging talented physics students to pursue a technical career."

The event at the National Printable Electronics Centre, managed by CPI, was organised by Business Durham, the economic development company for County Durham, the Institute of Physics, White Rose Industrial Physics Academy and the Universities of Durham and Northumbria.