A DESIGN company has forged links with a local university to offer students practical experience.

Gareth Davies launched Change Design and Development in Sunderland three months ago to provide a range of services, including branding, advertising, logo design, promotional material, packaging and marketing.

The 26-year-old, from Fulwell, has already secured two DIY super stores, nightclubs and record labels from around the world as clients.

After working for a number of leading publishing houses in London, Mr Davies developed his business with help from Social Enterprise Sunderland.

"I saw a gap in the market for a design agency that could deliver modern concepts. Being passionate about pushing Sunderland forward, I felt the time was right for an up-front design agency to support all the new developments in the city," he said.

Change is at the newly-completed St Peters Gate, part of Sunderland University's Science Park, and Mr Davies is working with the university to offer work-based learning opportunities to its students.

"There is a real need for students to get positive work experience, enabling them to find employment within creative industries when they graduate and I hope Change will play a pivotal role in this process," he said.

"In the next five years, I would like the business to be an integral part of the university's course and programs."

For more information, visit www.change-design.co.uk