Month April 2016


Newcastle College secure Educate North award

Following on from their success in 2015, Newcastle College has again won big at the Educate North awards. Having won best Further Education provider at last year’s inaugural event in Manchester, the college this time scooped the Further Education Student Experience Award for the great work done by their Learner Support Service team.

Newcastle College beat off competition from three other FE providers to secure the prize, which recognized the College for a number of initiatives designed to help improve the student experience. These included specialist classes to ensure mainstream education is more accessible and planned transitional work – including transition from school and exit transitions into higher education or employment. Newcastle College also offers assistive technology providing bespoke solutions to enable learners to access education. Another key focus for the Learner Support Service is their Autism Team, who currently work with 180 learners, and this year saw the launch of the new ‘Autism Academy’, designed to provide a vital bespoke life skills programme whilst still keeping students within a mainstream environment. The prize also happened to be Learner Support Service’s second Educate North triumph in a row, having won the Access Award in 2015 for their work breaking down barriers to learning.

Tamara Stephenson, head of Learning Support Service, was at the event to collect the award and stated “I am incredibly privileged to work alongside staff who put the student experience at the heart of what they do day in day out, the LSS team absolutely deserve this and I feel very proud.”

Newcastle College supports over 1200 learners with disabilities, striving to help every learner unlock their potential and achieve what others may have thought impossible. That number also makes it one of the largest mainstream FE Colleges providing access to disabled learners.


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Welcome to the new NCG website

Welcome to the new and improved NCG Website.

First of all, thank you for visiting and we hope you’ll make many more trips here in the near future. Our new site has been designed with the user in mind and we’ve made it as easy to navigate as possible, with a number of new features thrown in as well.

The Newsroom section has had the most drastic overhaul and now not only contains a news section, featuring all the latest news from NCG and its divisions but also a views section, where, over the coming months, you’ll be able to find valuable insight on a number of subjects concerning FE from the people who help make NCG what it is today.

We also now have more in-depth features on all of our businesses, including video case studies and photo profiles, as well as lots more information on just who we are and, if you like what you’ve seen, how you too could work for NCG.

So please go and explore the site and let us know what you think by clicking the social links on any page and leaving us a message. Or, if you want to contact NCG or one of its businesses directly, you can find all the information you’ll ever need on our contact us page.

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Carlisle College announces proposal to join NCG

Carlisle College today announced it proposes to join NCG, one of the largest further education and training groups in the country, to strengthen and further develop its provision and meet the needs of the local community.

Carlisle College Chair of Governors, David Carter said ‘We were very clear about what we were looking for. When we approached NCG, we discovered they absolutely share our vision of providing the best possible education and training for Carlisle and the surrounding area and we are delighted to be moving into detailed discussions about the future.”

NCG, which has a nationwide network of colleges and training organisations, will support the continued development of provision in and around Carlisle. This will ensure the greatest security for staff and students and ongoing investment in Carlisle College at a time when small colleges are facing challenges in a difficult funding environment.

Chief Executive of NCG, Joe Docherty, said: “We are delighted that Carlisle College wants to join NCG. We share their focus on providing what employers and students in Carlisle need to develop skills for their local economy, and we are pleased to be able to back that with the expertise and capacity of a major national group.”

The move will ensure the Carlisle College brand remains and is strengthened. The college will retain its local identity and a high degree of autonomy whilst benefiting from the support, expertise, investment and resources of the group.

Carlisle College Principal, Moira Tattersall said “This is a really exciting time for the college and for Carlisle. NCG has a fantastic reputation for innovation and professionalism, and becoming part of the group will enhance Carlisle College’s ability to respond to new skills needs in the area.

“The College will continue to do all the things it is known for and will have the resources and stability to develop new opportunities and address the needs and priorities that we cannot tackle alone. There is an opportunity to learn from NCG’s Aviation Training Centre at Newcastle Airport and their Rail Academy and see how this can help develop the Colleges offer in Carlisle.”

Carlisle College has a long-established tradition of collaborative and partnership working with the other Cumbrian Colleges and the University of Cumbria. The merger with NCG would fully support this approach with Carlisle College continuing to work with local partners on the achievement of the priorities set out in the Cumbria LEP’s Skills Investment Plan.

Carlisle College and NCG has now moved to detailed negotiations and will publish a formal public consultation document with a view to concluding the merger in time for the start of the new academic year this September. The consultation on this plan will coincide with the Government’s Area Based Review of Cumbrian Colleges. The proposals to join NCG will dovetail with that process and take account of any feedback that emerges as a result.

Public consultation is an essential part of the approval process so it is important that everyone in the community has the opportunity to put forward their views and take part.

You can give your views in one of four ways:

Responses should be made no later than 12 noon on Monday, 25 April 2016.

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Kidderminster College wins top award

A Kidderminster College administration apprentice, Kathleen Sandford, from The Community Housing Group (TCHG) in Kidderminster, seized the top award at the National Apprenticeship Service Awards, held in London.

To qualify for the award, she had to win the West Midlands regional award in November 2015 and then beat 11 other regional finalists to achieve National Intermediate Apprentice of the Year.

In addition, for the third year running, TCHG has been recognised as one of the UK’s Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers.  The list is compiled annually by the National Apprenticeship Service and recognises excellence in businesses that employ apprentices.

It’s been an outstanding two weeks for Kathleen who attended a celebration event at 10 Downing Street with Prime Minister, David Cameron, to recognise the value of apprenticeships.

Kathleen commented: “I decided to go down the apprenticeship route because I wanted to start a career where I could learn on the job.  I never thought that eventually it would lead to me winning a national award and visiting No.10.  I feel very fortunate to have had such an opportunity.”

Marina Banner, Executive Director of Vestia Community Trust and TCHG Corporate Services, commented: “We are extremely proud of Kathleen’s achievement. She is an inspiration to our existing apprentices and we hope this will encourage other young people to consider apprenticeships for their future career path.   We really value apprenticeships.  Apprentices bring  ideas, enthusiasm and determination and we believe that they make a positive contribution towards the future growth and development of our organisation”

Jennie Short, Head of Department at Kidderminster College said ‘We were absolutely delighted to hear of Kathleen’s success at the National Apprenticeship Awards. It is fantastic that a Kidderminster College apprentice has been recognised nationally for their talent and commitment, along with the significant contribution that they have made to their workplace. It just goes to show where an Apprenticeship can take you and the opportunities it can open up, alongside proof that apprentices really can make a difference to business.’

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Sixth Form student wins Engineering competition.

Jennifer Olsen was announced as the winner of the Talent 2030 National Engineering Competition for Girls for her project where she sought to develop cost effective ways of producing 3D printed prosthetic limbs.

Jenny, who studies A Level Maths, Biology and Chemistry at Newcastle Sixth Form College, a division of NCG, beat off stiff competition from students at other schools and colleges across the country.

Talent 2030

Run by the National Centre for Universities and Business, Talent 2030 is an ambitious campaign to bring female talent into engineering and manufacturing industries. The competition, which is sponsored by Rolls-Royce, EDF Energy, PepsiCo and Centrica, asks girls to explore engineering solutions to twenty-first century problems.
The 2015 Annual Dashboard of Statistics shows a downward trend in female uptake of engineering education which will lead to a shortage of 10,000 engineering and technology undergraduates by 2030.

Jenny said:

“I feel really happy to have won this award. I’m so grateful for Talent 2030 running the competition as I would never have had this amazing opportunity to exhibit my project at the Big Bang Fair or to have my work judged by Lindsay Dobson, R&D Manager Global Functions at PepsiCo and Carol Monaghan, MP for Glasgow Northwest.

“I felt honoured that they found my project interesting and selected me as the winner.”

Awarding prizes of £1,000 and a mentor for winners and £100 for runners-up, the competition also invites all shortlisted entrants to the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham on 19 March, to exhibit their ideas and receive their certificates and prizes.

As a result of Jenny’s success, Newcastle Sixth Form College will receive £500 towards purchasing new science equipment, an amount which the college is matching to purchase a new 3D digital printer.

Gerard Garvey, Principal of Newcastle Sixth Form College, hopes that Jenny’s success will help inspire other students to follow in her footsteps:

“I want to congratulate Jenny on her fantastic achievement in the in the Talent 2030 National Engineering Competition. To win such a prestigious national award is testament to the hard work Jenny puts into everything she does.

Her teachers and I are thrilled with her success and I hope that our current and future students will be inspired by her achievements.”

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Team 42 enjoy national success

A Prince’s Trust team from West Lancashire College enjoyed well-earned recognition for their efforts in the local area after scooping the community impact award at the Charity’s national ceremony, hosted at the London Palladium.

The group of eight came together for the Prince’s Trust team programme, designed to help young people develop the skills and confidence to find work in the future. The Team took pitches from three local charities and decided that Yewdale Counselling service was most in need of their help and set about transforming a garden at the centre into a tranquil haven, with different areas within the garden, individual seating and even repainted walls within the centre to help create a more relaxed environment for those undertaking counselling.

Such was their commitment to the cause that the group often stayed late into the night and worked weekends to get the job done, with that desire to go the extra mile helping to push them over the edge and secure the national prize.  Ryan, 21, was part of the group and was thrilled to have won the award, noting “Receiving this award has been fantastic; it’s amazing to be recognized for our efforts. We’re ecstatic!”


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