Month June 2017


NCG Excellence Awards 2017 Highlights

After a fantastic evening of celebrations, we would like to share with you the highlights from the NCG Excellence Awards 2017!

The weather wasn’t enough to dampen the mood at our Summer Garden Party – complete with planting displays from our Newcastle College Horticulture students – as colleagues from across the country gathered to celebrate some of our greatest achievements from the past year.

We launched into a night of live entertainment from our fabulous Newcastle College Music Student, Sam Harris, and an inspirational introduction from NCG’s CEO, Joe Docherty. This was followed by a delicious three-course meal prepared and served by our Hospitality and Catering students, and a huge prize raffle featuring an Acer laptop kindly donated by Stone Group.

The real highlight of the night, however, was the award ceremony which celebrated the fantastic work of some of NCG’s most talented colleagues. We received 567 nominations this year, and our panel of judges had the unenviable task of choosing just 12 worthy winners for the award categories, presented by our governors, sponsors and CEO.

Here are our 2017 winners:


Excellence in Advice and Guidance

Jennie Ellis from Kidderminster College
Jennie offers advice and guidance to all apprenticeship learners, as well as Employability and traineeship learners and always goes above and beyond to help. The impact of this help and support can be clearly seen in the success rates and development at The Point.

Excellence in Learner Support

The Learner Support Practitioner team from Kidderminster College
Kidderminster College has a high proportion of supported learners and the team of Learner Support Practitioners are central to this, providing everything from a comprehensive assessment to personal care support, through assistive technology and in-class support.

Excellence in Enriching the Learning Experience

Hospitality & Catering Team from Newcastle College
As part of the Level 3 Hospitality and Catering programme, students engaged in a ‘Farm to Fork’ initiative.  This project involved a thorough understanding of all stages of the food chain, reinforcing the values of team work, responsibility and problem solving.  The nominator said “In over 15 years in the FE and Skills sector, including through my work as an active Ofsted Inspector, I have not seen a more holistic and rounded project in terms of preparing students for the world of work, developing deep understanding and values and bringing their learning to life in the most amazing and inspiring way”.

Excellence in Unlocking Learner Potential

Matty McLeish for Carlisle College
Matty has a unique ability to engage with entry level learners, especially learners who have struggled with education or have high-level social needs.  This is reflected in his Learner Voice feedback, with rates of over 10% above the national average and excellent teaching and learning observations.  He encourages learners to stretch their potential and strongly promotes engagement in life-changing activities, such as the World Skills Competition.

Excellence in Innovation or Technology

Apprenticeship Vacancy Team from Carlisle College
The Apprenticeship Vacancy Team has shown real commitment and dedication and making continuous improvements as part of the innovation process.  They have coped with increasing volumes and demands as the new service has been used to its full potential.  The numbers support this, as following the introduction of the recruitment agency model the number of apprenticeship starts increased to 201 in 2015/16 – an outstanding 35% growth on 2014/15, with 238 starts in 2016/17.

Excellence in Internal Customer Experience

Ashley Ford from Intraining
Ashley has shown complete commitment in his job role as Compliance Advisor by consistently providing outstanding support services to Intraining and Supply Chain partners, Newcastle College, Rathbone Training and West Lancashire College operations colleagues.  Ashley also supports members of his team with their day to day roles which improves colleague skills and has a positive effect on the services provided within the compliance department overall.


Our Values are what define us as an organisation, and we are thrilled to celebrate colleagues who live by them. The next three categories are designed to raise the profile of colleagues who have shown excellence in Our Values: Ownership, Valuing our People, and being Open and Honest.


Excellence in Our Values – Ownership

Bette Kerr from Carlisle College
In difficult, challenging and uncertain times Bette has consistently demonstrated commitment above and beyond reasonable expectations. As Finance Manager Bette has been central in financial planning and control, as well as cashflow monitoring. Throughout the area review and merger process Bette has demonstrated a can-do attitude, working with Carlisle and NCG colleagues, dealing with colleague uncertainty and new systems and ways of working and committing many additional hours to achieve desired and necessary outcomes.

Excellence in Our Values – Valuing our People

Tina Vos from West Lancashire College
Tina has been mentoring a second year PGCE trainee who is on a voluntary placement at West Lancashire College.  She has been more than generous with her time, offering just the right amount of support regarding teaching practice, but at the same time has given the trainee the freedom to develop the course and initiate new activities to support learning.    This support has resulted in the trainee making significant progress in her teaching.

Excellence in Our Values – Open and Honest

Matthew Ward from Group Services
Matthew has identified over £20,000 of savings in his first six months and identified the potential to save tens of thousands over the coming year.  This has only been achievable by being very open and honest in our approach and clearly demonstrating that we are here to support and help on the environment and sustainability.  This has also been the key to getting environment on the agenda at what used to be the health and safety councils and committees.


The following three categories are designed to recognise the individual colleagues who have really inspired us to be the best we can. These are the teachers, lecturers or tutors who lead by example, constantly have high expectations of us and encourage us to meet them.


Excellence in Teaching – Work Based Learning

Gemma Rooney from Rathbone Training
Gemma has a fantastic personality which shines in the Rathbone centre and is a very dedicated person who always puts her learner’s first.  Gemma takes the time to listen to them and supports and encourages them in every way to achieve their goals.

Excellence in Teaching – Higher Education

James Edge from Newcastle College
James is the programme leader for the Airline and Airport Management Degree and singlehandedly reviewed the 2015/16 provision for three courses, identified areas for improvement and set himself a clear objective; to improve the Airline & Airport Management Higher Education Provision.  James embeds the most up to date material in his sessions and reflects on practice across the sector to ensure that learners are fully prepared for demanding roles within the aviation industry.  James is a true inspiration to his learners and colleagues.

Excellence in Teaching – Further Education

Anthony Crute from Newcastle Sixth Form College
A learner nomination for Anthony reads “he is by far one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. He’s always really happy and smiley and always in a good mood, which is one reason why I actually enjoy coming to my lessons, he always puts the class in a good mood ready to learn. Not only that, if you need help with something he’s available literally 24/7 and he will explain something to you in so much depth until it’s embedded in your brain making sure you fully understand and aren’t left confused!  I’m really lucky I got to be taught by him this year and I genuinely believe he’s the best teacher in the world!”


Congratulations to all of our very worthy winners, and to all of our talented colleagues who were nominated for an award. As a thank you for your hard work and dedication, all attendees received an exclusive NCG Excellence Awards 2017 star, made by the Creative Arts and Design Innovation students, to commemorate the evening.

Finally, we would like to say a huge thank you to everybody who has contributed to making this year’s NCG Excellence Awards special, and to our sponsors and partners for your generous support. We are already looking forward to the NCG Excellence Awards 2018!

Sponsored by:
City & Guilds
Ward Hadaway


  • NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • An enchanting performance from Sam Harris | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • An enchanting performance from Sam Harris | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • CEO Joe Docherty welcomes guests to the NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Director or Learning and Organisational Development, Elouise Leonard-Cross warms the crowd | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Petals or leaves? | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Thank you to our talented photography students for capturing the evening | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • NCG Governor, Peter Mitchell, sporting his finest Summer Garden Party attire | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Lynne Griffin chooses winners in the star prize raffle | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • That moment when you win an Acer laptop! | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Help yourself to the pick ‘n’ mix | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Thank you to our Awards Team for making the night special | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Excellence in Advice and Guidance winner: Jennie Ellis | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Excellence in Learner Support winner: The Kidderminster College Learner Support Practitioner Team | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Excellence in Enriching the Learning Experience winner: Newcastle College Hospitality and Catering Team | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Excellence in Enriching the Learning Experience winner: Newcastle College Hospitality and Catering Team | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Excellence in Unlocking Learner Potential winner: Matty McLeish | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Excellence in Innovation or Technology winner: The Apprenticeship Vacancy Team at Carlisle College | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Excellence in Internal Customer Experience winner: Ashley Ford | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Excellence in Our Values – Valuing Our People winner: Tina Vos | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Excellence in Our Values – Open and Honest winner: Matthew Ward | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Excellence in Teaching – Work Based Learning winner: Gemma Rooney | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Excellence in Teaching – Higher Education winner: James Edge | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Excellence in Teaching – Further Education winner: Anthony Crute | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • All of our winners | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Thank you to our Catering and Hospitality students | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Thank you to our Catering and Hospitality students for putting on a fabulous three-course meal | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • Thank you to our Catering and Hospitality students for putting on a fabulous three-course meal | NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • NCG Excellence Awards 2017

  • NCG Excellence Awards 2017

read more

NCG awarded Teaching Excellence Framework Silver Award

We are pleased to announce that we have been awarded a Teaching and Excellence Silver award for the quality of our Higher Education teaching.

This comes just a year after NCG became the first FE institution in the UK ever to be able to develop and award its own honours and master’s degrees after it was awarded Taught Degree Awarding Powers from the Privy Council.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) was introduced by the Government to build evidence about the performance of the UK’s world-class higher education sector.

NCG was awarded the silver award due to its excellent outcomes for students and outstanding progression to highly skilled employment or further study. In addition, full time students regard the assessment and feedback processes as exemplary.

“We are delighted with this award. We pride ourselves on our excellent HE provision and our responsiveness to employer and learner needs as well as addressing local and national skills gaps.

“Together with our Taught Degree Awarding Powers, it will help us to be more responsive to the demand for higher level skills as well as supporting the local economy and more people into jobs.”
– Joe Docherty, Chief Executive

The panel also praised NCG for its:

  • strong commitment to widening participation and evidence of effective support for non-traditional learners
  • consistent curriculum focus on students engagement and stretch, through a range of initiatives including Student Fellows provision
  • strategic approach to employer engagement; exemplified by the creation of a series of Academies linked to key employers in the region
  • novel approach to the provision of state of the art learning environments located in real world settings; exemplified by the location of Newcastle College Aviation Academy within a working airport.

Led by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, (HEFCE), the TEF awards were decided by an independent panel of experts including academics, students and employer representatives. Drawing on national data, and evidence submitted by each university or college, the TEF measures excellence in three areas: teaching quality, the learning environment and the educational and professional outcomes achieved by students.

“Students invest significant amounts of time and money in their higher education. They rightly expect a high-quality learning experience and outcomes that reflect their potential. The UK already has a high bar for quality and standards, which all universities and colleges must meet. But the TEF judges excellence above and beyond this, clearly showing the highest levels across the sector.

“The TEF measures the things that students themselves say they care about: high-quality, engaged teaching and a supportive, stimulating learning environment which equips them with the knowledge and skills they need to achieve their potential, and then to progress to a good job or further study.
– Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England

read more

Employee Engagement – Creating brand advocates

The good relationship between an organisation and its employees can be the key to a successful business.

At NCG, we strive for engaged employees who are passionate about their jobs and passionate about the company. We speak to our Director of Learning and Organisational Development, Elouise Leonard-Cross, to hear about how NCG are engaging colleagues, and the affect this has had on the business.

Why is Employee Engagement important?

“Within any organisation if you don’t have colleagues that are engaged it impacts on outcomes for customers and business performance. Engaged colleagues are more creative, more able to deal with challenges and tend to enjoy their time at work more – easy to see how all of these things make a big difference to customers!”

How are NCG engaging their employees?

“It’s a gradual process. As an organisation you can’t ‘click a switch’ and expect people to be engaged. It happens over a period of time but is fundamentally built on trust and respect. One approach to help us understand how engaged our colleagues are, and learn about how things can improve, is the Great Place to Work survey. As the survey is externally managed and anonymous it provides honest feedback that can be used to consider how we continually improve as an organisation.

“In 2017 we have introduced a new workshop for all our managers that have people management responsibility called The Art of Being Brilliant. This interactive workshop is built around how valuable great managers are to a successful organisation and offers tools that can be used positively with teams and individuals to support creativity and high performance.

“Recognising what we do well as a business and sharing this widely is also important. For that reason we have launched the NCG Excellence Awards in 2017, which builds upon the previous success of the Teaching & Learning Awards and extends the opportunity to colleagues in all types of roles. We had an overwhelming response this year with 567 nominations, and will celebrate with finalists at the awards dinner on the 27th June.”

How important is it for an organisation to have values?

“The most important thing for an organisation to have is a shared basis they build from. Organisational values are a great approach but only if they are shared, understood and underpin all activities, decisions and the way we work day to day.”

What advice would you give to a business wanting to engage their employees?

“It takes time! Starting small, being consistent with your values and listening to colleagues is important. I also believe that taking the opportunity to have some fun is critical too – we do so many positive things for our learners and it is important this happens for our colleagues too.”


About Elouise Leonard-Cross

Elouise Leonard-Cross is the Director of Learning and Organisational Development at NCG. She is an Occupational Psychologist who has worked in various fields over the last 15 years including HR, Recruitment, Teaching, Learning & Development & OD.

I love working in Learning & OD at NCG as I truly believe some of the things we can put in place can really make a positive difference for our colleagues. My most recent role was with Home Group, a housing charity, where I worked on a project for the last 5 years to build engagement.” ~ Elousie

Follow Elouise on Twitter.

read more

College Board Members for NCG colleges

NCG is introducing a board for each of its colleges to provide non-executive oversight at local level. We are now seeking to recruit College Board Members for: Newcastle College; Newcastle Sixth Form College; and Carlisle College.

College Board Members will have the opportunity to influence and strengthen their college’s response to meeting local needs, contributing to the accountability of the Senior Leadership Team for the quality of provision.

We are looking for non-executives with knowledge and experience in one or more of the following:

  • Employers and/or regional bodies
  • Management of Education and Training Services
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Safeguarding
  • Equality and Diversity

If you are interested in becoming a College Board Member for one of our divisions, you can Apply Here.

The introduction of individual college boards will enable NCG to focus on the local needs of the colleges within the group, ensuring that the curriculum design and quality agenda are supervised by people who are best placed to provide the checks and balances that good governance demands.

read more

NCG Excellence Awards 2017

This month, we are launching the NEW NCG Excellence Awards 2017! The purpose of this year’s awards ceremony is to raise the profile of the fantastic work of all colleagues throughout NCG.

The 2017 Awards are an evolution of the previous Teaching & Learning Awards, which were hugely successful, with the inclusion of categories that any colleague can be nominated for. We have also taken the opportunity to include our Values as part of the award categories.

The full list of the categories we will be awarding this year is below:

  • Excellence in Advice & Guidance
  • Excellence in Enriching the Learning Experience
  • Excellence in Innovation or Technology
  • Excellence in Learner Support
  • Excellence in Unlocking Learner Potential 
  • Excellence in Internal Customer Experience 
  • Excellence in Values – Ownership
  • Excellence in Values – Open & Honest
  • Excellence in Values – Valuing Our People
  • Excellence in Teaching – Higher Education 
  • Excellence in Teaching – Further Education
  • Excellence in Work Based Learning 
The event will take place on Tuesday 27th June 2017 – keep an eye on our social media channels for the latest updates on the NCG Excellence Awards 2017.

read more