Student swaps North East for Far East in unique work placement

A project linking cities from around the world which share the name ‘Newcastle’ has led to a dream work placement for a Northumbria University student.

For the next year Mechanical Engineering BEng (Hons) student Christopher Brownhill will be swapping Newcastle upon Tyne for the city of Shinshiro – which translates as ‘New Castle’ – in Japan.

His placement has come about thanks to the Newcastles of the World initiative, which aims to create opportunities for education, tourism, business and culture by bringing together people from 17 towns and cities around the world whose name translates as ‘Newcastle’ or ‘New Castle’.

Among them are Neuburg-an-der-donau, in Germany; Neuchâtel, in Switzerland; New Castle, Indiana, in the USA; Nyborg, in Denmark; Nové Hrady, in Czech Republic; and of course, Newcastle upon Tyne in England.

The first student to secure a placement through Newcastles of the World, Christopher will undertake a year-long work placement at the Japanese cutting tool manufacturing company OSG, based in Shinshiro – one of the cities which founded the Newcastles of the World initiative.

He said: “I’ve always wanted to visit Japan so when I heard there was a placement opportunity through the Newcastles of the World scheme I jumped at the opportunity.”

Zélie Guérin, Newcastles of the World Project Director, said: “It is tremendous that Christopher has been given this opportunity as a result of our alliance with other Newcastles around the world.

“One of the aims of the project has always been to enable connections through business and education so this placement brings those two together.”

Caroline Theobald CBE, Chair of Northumbria University’s Newcastle Business School Advisory Board and a Trustee of Newcastles of the World, helped establish the relationship with OSG: “Forging international links is very important, especially at the moment with Brexit approaching.

“I met the team from OSG at a business seminar and they were very interested in forging links with Northumbria through Newcastles of the World.

“They are a global manufacturer and recruit some of the best graduates from around the world, so making this link with Northumbria University will benefit both organisations.”

Find out more about the Newcastles of the World project by visiting Find out more about Northumbria’s Department of Mechanical and Construction Engineering, and other departments and courses, by visiting