NCG Official

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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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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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