The sun was shining as the third annual NCG Excellence Awards took place on Thursday 27th June 2019, with a record number in attendance to celebrate the success of our colleagues.
The Awards evening evolves year-on-year, growing into a bigger and better event to allow us to share the celebrations with more of our colleagues. This year, for the first time, the event was held off campus, at the new Eagles Community Arena in Newcastle – the home of British Basketball League team, The Newcastle Eagles.
This year also some changes to how we categorise our awards, linking them to our three key areas of activity; Great Place to Teach, Great Place to Work and Great Place to Learn.
“These areas are fundamental to our success and there has been amazing collaboration across the organisation this year in driving these forward and sharing practice. The Awards are just one way we can directly see the impact of this work.”
– Elouise Leonard-Cross, Director of Learning & Organisational Development
The 2019 awards also debuted a new logo. Retaining the stars, which represent each of the colleges within NCG, and emphasising the 3 strands of NCG’s values; Valuing our People, Taking Ownership and Being Open and Honest.
The Awards event followed our Summer Teaching, Learning and Assessment conference: Reflecting on Excellence. The conference offered colleagues from each of our colleges to come together for a series of presentations and workshops that explored collaborative approaches and techniques to improve TLA at NCG. Once the conference closed, it was time to get ready for the big night.
Guests arriving back at the Arena for the awards were wowed by Graeme Shaw, an expert close-up magician, whose tricks with coins, fire and glass drew gasps and laughter in the foyer. The buoyant atmosphere was aided by the musical stylings of Newcastle College learner Jordan Kendal, as his acoustic covers filled the room and spilled into the main hall.
Once in the hall, which was the Eagles’ centre court, guests had the opportunity to have their photos taken at Platinum Events Newcastle’s Magic Mirror – using the props, including the brilliant balloon art of Buddy’s Balloons, to stage the most creative scene possible.
Chris Payne, Interim Chief Executive of NCG, formally opened the event, welcoming all of our guests, which included all of our category finalists and, for the first time, their nominators. Chris thanked the divisional judging panels, who received 388 nominations, for identifying the overall winners – sharing that the words of our colleagues in those nominations were a real cause of encouragement.
Chris gave the stage to Elouise Leonard-Cross, NCG’s Director of Learning & OD, who served as compère for the evening and introduced a free-for-all game of ‘Rock, Paper, Mirror’, an event-themed take on the classic game. Once we had our game winner and dinner was served, the lights were dimmed and our award winners were revealed:
Great Place to Learn: Information, Advice and Guidance
⭐ Farina Cahm, West Lancashire College
Farina always offers encouragement and helps learners to fulfil their career aspirations; she is continually seeking ways to improve and develop our service to the learners at West Lancashire College.
Great Place to Learn: Learner Support
⭐ Amanda Robson, Carlisle College
Amanda is truly inspirational and supports all of Carlisle College’s learners with a ‘can do’ attitude.
Great Place to Learn: Enriching the Learning Experience
⭐ Work Experience Team, Lewisham College and Southwark College
The team makes a difference to learners by providing them real life work experience and skills in their area of vocational education.
Christina Maw, represented the Work Experience Team in accepting the award.
Great Place to Learn: Unlocking Learner Potential
⭐ Marcia Winterburn, Carlisle College
Marcia deserves to be recognised for her ‘I will do everything I can to help these learners pass GCSE English’ attitude.
Great Place to Work: Internal Customer Experience
⭐ Lee Jennings, Group Services
The Human Resources Team at Group Services simply could not do our jobs without Lee’s knowledge, support, advice and guidance. Lee is an absolute credit to the team and NCG.
Hannah Marshall, Group Head of IT, accepted this award on Lee’s behalf.
Great Place to Work: Taking Ownership
⭐ Beth Tserkezie, Newcastle College
Beth takes ownership of every task asked of her, whether her responsibility or not, and she does so with her signature positivity, goodwill and determination to achieve a great outcome for all involved.
Great Place to Work: Valuing Our People
⭐ Jen Burlton, Newcastle Sixth Form College
Jen genuinely values the staff and students she works with – that level of genuineness is extremely rare
Great Place to Work: Being Open and Honest
⭐ Caroline Carey, Carlisle College
Caroline truly exemplifies the Open & Honest value and provides a shining example of working collaboratively in pulling together a short-course curriculum at Carlisle College, coordinating with managers across the organisation to successfully make it happen.
Andy Dodds, Director of Business Development & Marketing at Carlisle College, accepted this award on Caroline’s behalf.
Great Place to Teach: Apprenticeships
⭐ Louisa Ellis, Kidderminster College
Louisa is highly passionate about apprenticeships and has a strong belief in their ability to raise aspirations and goals for future generations.
Great Place to Teach: Higher Education Teacher of the Year
⭐ Jessica Hall, Kidderminster College
Jess always goes above and beyond to support colleagues in any way she can and is a great asset to the HE Dance department at Kidderminster College.
Great Place to Teach: Further Education Teacher of the Year (Technical)
⭐ Saskia Munden, Newcastle College
Saskia has a real passion for her subject and its success, commitment to her learners, and she cares about the whole learner journey at Newcastle College.
Great Place to Teach: Further Education Teacher of the Year (Academic)
⭐ Melissa Hudson, Newcastle Sixth Form College
Melissa is so friendly and genuinely cares about the achievement and wellbeing of all students and their individual progress. She motivates everyone and anyone she can to be not only better at their work but a better person.
Congratulations to all of our nominees, category finalists and award winners – a great time was had celebrating your successes.
Finally, we’d again like to thank our sponsors ISS, Ellisons, FE Associates, NCFE and Arco Safety for their support and allowing us to deliver the best possible experience for our attendees.
See you next year for the NCG Excellence Awards 2020!