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NCL in Action: Launch Day

Friday 1 March 2024

Join us at St James' Park, Newcastle to officially kickstart NCL in Action 2024.

Highlights of the day include:

  • Keynote address from Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness

  • Showcase debate "This house believes that education is the most powerful tool to achieve your potential"

  • Fireside Chat with actor, musician, songwriter, author, producer and honorary graduate, Jimmy Nail


Please see below our full schedule for the day.

Don't worry if you are unable to join us in-person, you can still register to join us virtually for the fireside chat 'Nailing it: From Benton to Broadway' with Jimmy Nail by completing the following form.


Time: 12:00 - 13:00 (GMT)

Location: St James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne


Tours of St James Park


Time: 12:00 - 13:00 (GMT)

Please note that there are limited places available and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Welcome from Professor Ruth Valentine, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Education at Newcastle University

Time: 13:00 - 13:10 (GMT)

Keynote address

A keynote address by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner and Newcastle alumna Kim McGuinness.

Time: 13:10 - 13:40 (GMT)

Location: St James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne

The North East of England has the highest proportion of deprived households in the country, with 34% of children in our region living in poverty.

For these young people, breaking out of the cycle of poverty and achieving their potential can feel like an impossible task. It is vital that those with influence in the North East get behind our region’s young people and nurture their untapped potential by ensuring a future full of opportunities.

In this keynote lecture, we’re excited to be welcoming Newcastle University graduate Kim McGuinness to explore the positive impact she has made on the communities she serves as the current Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, and her hopes for the future of our region.

Showcase debate

Motion: "This house believes that education is the most powerful tool to achieve your potential"

Time: 14:00 - 15:30 (GMT)

Location: St James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne

Join your university community for an exciting showcase debate on the motion "This house believes that education is the most powerful tool to achieve your potential", where insightful discussions will connect the power of education to address personal development and career progression. Let's come together for an uplifting exploration of how education can be the catalyst for positive societal and personal transformation!

Hosted by Debate Mate and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Education at Newcastle University, Ruth Valentine, we will be welcoming an expert panel of alumni, staff and students from a range of sectors to voice their opinions on whether higher education is the be-all-and-end-all to individual and societal development in 2024. You can also have your say by contributing your thoughts on:

  • Is education the most important tool to reach your personal and professional goals?
  • Can you fulfil your potential and influence positive change without education?
  • What other factors are important to broadening your horizons, achieving success and changing society for the better?

Meet the panel

About Debate Mate

Debate Mate is a globally-renowned skills provider, that partners with the world’s leading companies to empower their people to communicate, lead, collaborate and create with confidence.

Debate Mate Schools is an educational charity that uses the brightest university students to run after-school debate clubs in areas of high child poverty across the world. Over the last nine years, they have successfully taught over 25,000 young people to debate in the UK, USA, Jamaica, Nepal, Dubai, Doha, Mexico, Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, China, Japan, Korea and Israel.

Fireside chat with Jimmy Nail

Nailing it: From Benton to Broadway

In conversation with actor, musician, songwriter, author, producer and honorary graduate Jimmy Nail.

Time: 16:00 - 16:45 (GMT)

Location: St James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne

Join us for an intimate chat with Jimmy Nail to discover how a boy from Benton, who was expelled from school and apprenticed at C. A. Parsons, ended up contributing to film, television and music projects which earned BAFTA (“Auf Wiedersehen, Pet”, “Spender”, “Crocodile Shoes”), Oscar (“Evita”), Golden Globe (“Still Crazy”), Ivor Novello (“Ain’t No Doubt”) and Tony (“The Last Ship”) awards and nominations. Jimmy is also a multi-platinum-selling recording artist.

Jimmy will talk about a childhood growing up in Newcastle as the son of a shipyard worker and share the dreams, aims and aspirations he had as a youngster; he’ll talk about the big influences that helped shape his life and career and we’ll hear how Jimmy is paying it forward for future generations in the region.

Hosted by Newcastle alumna and renowned broadcaster, Dianne Nelmes. 

Please note that this fireside chat will be live-streamed. If you would like to attend virtually, please register by completing the following form.

Image credit: Tony Mac


Time: 16:45 - 17:30

Find out more about how to get involved in NCL in Action 2024