Month June 2016


NCG first in FE to be granted full degree awarding powers

NCG becomes country’s first FE provider to be allowed to award own Degrees in historic decision

We are delighted to announce that we are the first FE institution in the UK ever to be able to develop and award its own Honours and Masters degrees.

Granted by the Privy Council, NCG has been awarded Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP). This represents a great opportunity for our students to benefit from a wider range of degree level provision and puts NCG on an equal footing to universities in the degree awarding market.

We will use these new powers to build on our strengths as a vocational HE provider, developing degrees which are more responsive and meet the skills needs of employers. It will also allow us to support the Government’s increased focus on higher level apprenticeships and offer more opportunities for students from all backgrounds to progress into higher education.

This ground-breaking development follows on from an intensive scrutiny process by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, who recognised that HE provision at our Colleges – Newcastle College, West Lancashire College and Kidderminster College – provide a high quality offer to students equivalent to that of a university and that we are a mature organisation capable of setting and regulating its own quality standards.

NCG, which has a nationwide network of colleges and training providers including Newcastle College, West Lancashire College and Kidderminster College already offer more than 85 Foundation Degrees and Honours Degrees in a wide range of subjects. We were also one of the first to be awarded Foundation Degree Awarding Powers in 2011 and have a well-established, successful track record of providing learners with fantastic learning experience. Since 2014 over 1,000 graduates each year have had their degrees accredited solely by NCG and not a partner university.

NCG Chief Executive, Joe Docherty said: “Gaining Taught Degree Awarding powers is a landmark development for the sector. It’s a real breakthrough nationally and we are extremely proud to be leading the way for the whole of the further education sector.”

“Our colleges already work closely with employers to develop provision that addresses local and national skills gaps. Degree Awarding powers will enable us to be more responsive to the demand for higher level skills as well as supporting the local economy and more people into jobs.

“We look forward to seeing other colleges following this path and would be happy to share our experiences with others in the sector.”

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “This is a significant step forward for NCG and opens up more opportunities for young people in the local community to enjoy the benefits that higher education can bring.”

Commenting on colleges being able to award taught degrees, Martin Doel, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “The ability to award taught degrees is a big step forward in demonstrating the quality of higher education (HE) provision delivered in the sector. Hopefully the Government’s Higher Education and Research Bill will reduce any unnecessary bureaucracy to benefit colleges currently in the application process.

“We predict that more colleges will follow the example set by NCG in the next few years and will provide a distinctive HE service that meets the needs of local employers and communities.”

Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central said : “This is a fantastic achievement for NCG and Newcastle College. Promoting fair access to higher education and giving local people more choice on where they want to study is vitally important. Our Colleges sit at the heart of our communities providing many opportunities for people of all ages to progress into higher education and employment, as well as supporting local businesses through higher level skills and training.

“As Chair of the APPG on Adult Education and a Newcastle MP I’ve seen first-hand how local colleges can vastly improve lives and support our thriving business community and regional economy.”

Jamie Martin, Chair of Governors, NCG said : “This award is a huge vote of confidence for NCG and its Colleges, and I am delighted at this tremendous achievement. NCG is once again leading the way for the FE sector and breaking new ground. Taught Degree Awarding Powers will enable our Colleges to be more responsive to the regional and national skills agenda through the development of higher level skills and training.

“This is something that the team at NCG have worked towards for many years and will set the bar for the sector as a whole. I very much hope that it will encourage other FE providers to continue the development of vocational higher level skills and training for the benefit of our regional and national economy.”


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West Lancashire college opens new Graduate Salon

West Lancashire College celebrated the Grand Opening of their new Francesco Graduate Salon in June. Working in partnership with Francesco Group, an award winning Hairdressing company, the new salon will offer learners a chance to refine their technique while studying qualifications which include Hairdressing, Barbering and Beauty Therapy.

The evening itself was a huge success, with guests having the opportunity to view the fantastic facilities, including the hair salon, sauna and steam room, as well as speak to the Salon’s Wella Colour Masters. Visitors also had the opportunity to view the latest techniques and technologies in the hair and beauty industry and find out more about emerging fashion techniques.

The salon will provide a new top of the range practical environment for college learners to perfect their craft, and working with real customers will help bridge the gap between education and full-time employment. Trained to meet commercial and industry standards with real life experience under their belt, students training at the salon will be able to develop skills that will help them to progress into employment or further training.

The opening offered a chance to showcase the venue and its potential, with a number of local employers, clients, salon owners and learners enjoying free mini beauty treatments, viewing demonstrations and also receiving free gift bags. College Principal Maria Gilling was at the events and said “It has been a fantastic opening and we at WLC are delighted with our partnership with Francesco. The Francesco partnership has enabled us to develop this Graduate Salon which enables our learners to develop higher level skills in cutting, colouring and styling and provide high quality commercial services to the public. We look forward to the Graduate Salon going from strength to strength.”

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Shadow Transport Secretary visits Rail Academy

Shadow Transport Secretary, Lilian Greenwood, visited Newcastle College’s Rail Academy today to highlight the importance of the growth of the rail engineering in the North East.

The Shadow Minister travelled to the region with Labour MP, Alan Johnson and Paul Brannen, MEP as part of the campaign to encourage voters to remain in the EU; but took time out to visit the Rail Academy to see how it is supporting growth in the rail industry through skills and training.

During the visit, Ms Greenwood met with students looking to develop careers in rail engineering and toured the £5 million facility which features indoor and outdoor track, overhead line and signalling and telecommunications equipment.

Newcastle College, a division of national training and colleges group, NCG, developed the Academy in response to ambitious plans to create a ‘truly world class rail network’.

Developed with support from the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) and Network Rail, the national hub for training and development for rail engineering will help the industry address regional and national skills gaps, support further job creation and ensure the vitality of the rail sector in light of a rapidly ageing workforce.

Lilian Greenwood said: “I’ve been really impressed by what I have seen today at Newcastle College’s Rail Academy. The students are incredibly committed and realise the opportunities that they are going to get in the rail industry. You can see that local employers who are working on the railway can have access to some really skilled staff for the future.

“On the one hand students have got this fantastic facility where they can work on the railway. It’s the best I’ve seen probably up and down the country in terms of facilities, so they’ve got real hands on experience. But it’s also about the staff that they have access to – people who know what it’s like to work in the industry and can share that experience with them. It’s not theoretical, it’s incredibly practical and I think that’s really shone through on the visit today.”

Tony Lewin, Principal of Newcastle College, said: “We were delighted to welcome Ms Greenwood and Mr Johnson to the Rail Academy and have the chance to showcase the fantastic work that our staff and learners are doing to support the huge investment and growth in rail through the provision of training and skills. The Shadow Secretary has championed the resurgence of rail engineering in the region and was keen to see how the next generation of engineers and technicians are being developed.”

Rail 2

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Around the Divisions – Football for all

It’s football time! To mark the start of Euro 2016 we’re taking a look at the different football provisions offered by NCG divisions.

While it may be a long shot, England will be looking to lift the trophy this summer. So maybe they could learn a thing or two from the West Lancashire College team, who strolled to the Lancashire FA Recreational League title at the end of May.

The summer is also sure to inspire plenty more people to get out there and kick a ball, and Rathbone Training is hoping to capitalise on that with a new course designed to encourage learning through football.  The free course is being run in partnership with the Manchester International Football Academy and offers 16-18 year olds the opportunity to gain Maths and English qualifications, as well as employability and life skills, whilst playing football five days a week.

Some will be looking to try and secure a career in football and for those in Kidderminster that might well mean joining the Kidderminster College Football Academy.  The Academy has been running for more than 10 years now and sees College staff working alongside players and management from the Kidderminster Harriers football club to help ensure that learners receive the best coaching and instruction. The partnership also extends to other sports students at Kidderminster College as well, with Level 2 Sports Students recently visiting the Harriers for an educational visit.

Others might see themselves on the other side of the touchline, becoming the next Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola, and for students on Newcastle College and the Newcastle United Foundation’s joint ‘Coach the Coach’ course, there is a very real roadmap to making that happen. Students on the course benefit from hands-on football training and work experience with the Newcastle United Foundation, the former-Premier League side’s community department, and competitive elements and qualifications studied at Newcastle College. Everyone who passes the course is subsequently guaranteed an interview with the Foundation and two learners have since earned coaching apprenticeships with the organisation.

Rathbone football

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