Celebrating Neurodiversity at NCG

Any understanding of autism should not be approached from a position of ‘deficit’, but rather from apposition of ‘difference’. Autistic people are not neuro-typical people with something missing or something extra added on. They are different. If we are serious about equality and inclusion within any area, then we must first of all understand that difference.

– Christine Breakey (2006), The Autism Spectrum: A Guide to Good Practice


This month, organisations nationally have been recognising the importance of neurodiversity and championing diversity and inclusion. Below we take a look at how colleagues at Carlisle College induct new learners and introduce them to their course, how Newcastle College’s Autism Academy creates a safe space for learners with their Autism Base Room, how Newcastle Sixth Form College engage their leaners and colleagues in neurodiversity and how colleagues and learners recently came together at Lewisham College to celebrate their personal and academic achievements.


Carlisle College – Transitioning into College Life

For young learners, transitioning into college life can be daunting with a lot of new information to take in.  This transition tentatively begins in Year 9, when colleagues from Carlisle College’s Transition Team first become involved in the learner’s journey by attending Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) review meetings and discuss the possibility of the learner attending the college. By Year 10 and Year 11, there is a more active focus among colleagues on inviting the learners into the college for visits and tours, usually during academic holidays. Taster days and infills are also often arranged to give the learner and their family as much information as they need to make an informed decision on their next steps.

Recently the Transition Team were also inspired by a ‘quiet hour’ held by some of the local supermarkets for autistic shoppers who struggle with music and noise. The team at Carlisle organised a Quiet Advice and Guidance Evening, allowing young learners to meet colleagues and curriculum leaders in a classroom environment, rather than a hall or a refectory.  This change in location meant teaching colleagues had more time to talk to the young learners about the details of their course, while Learning Support and Student Ambassadors were also on hand to answer questions around support and college life. Learners that went on to register with the college were then offered a quiet enrolment session that avoided the long ques often seen at busy times and ensured a calm and friendly atmosphere was created.

Understanding the behaviours of an autistic learner is key for a teaching or support colleague, as it is this understanding of how students learn and interact with the world around them that can allow colleagues to tailor classroom activities to their individual needs.

To support our teaching and support colleagues, Carlisle College are currently running Autism Awareness Training.  The session offers an overview of autism and the various traits learners can present, explores lesson planning and student profiles for learners with autism and examines how the teaching colleague can differentiate tasks.

This training introduces colleagues to a range of techniques and strategies to support learners including the importance of keeping the student’s profile up to date as they develop and become more comfortable or confident and modifying assignment briefs to be more user friendly. These strategies go a long way in ensuring our learners have the tools they need to unlock their potential.


Newcastle College – The Autism Base Room

Colleagues at Newcastle College are proud of their Autism Base Room, a space for learners to strengthen their social, communication and independent living skills. In addition to being available for enrichment and fundraising events, trained and experienced colleagues supervise the room at all times, ensuring learners can drop-in during break times and free periods.

The Autism Team offer in-house training to give colleagues a better understanding of autism and the way it affects young people. The objectives are to:

  • Identify the four key areas of need when working with learners with autism.
  • Know of the importance of understanding the young person with autism, their profile of strengths and areas for development.
  • Identify the key areas to support young people with autism build relationships with their peers, staff and people in their community.
  • Develop an awareness of the sensory and communication differences that young people with autism may experience.

Central Support Service can also offer a wide range of services including:

  • Social groups, activities and skills training
  • Travel training support
  • Employability support
  • One-to-one study support outside of the classroom
  • The loan of assistive technology and/or specialist equipment
  • Support in exams and with Special Exam Consideration applications
  • One-to-one or group support in the classroom
  • One-to-one mentoring sessions
  • Help with applications for funding and finance

The Autism Team also offer additional support for potential learners through Easter and Summer programmes, ensuring learners have a smooth transition into college and onto their chosen course. These are an ideal way for potential learners to familiarise themselves with the college environment, meet staff from the Autism Team and also meet other learners who will be coming to study at the campus.


Newcastle Sixth Form College – Getting Quizzical

The Learning Support team at Newcastle Sixth Form College were fully involved in the new Autism Acceptance Campaign being run by North East Autism Society. As part of the Sixth Form’s celebration of the campaign and to keep awareness high, they conducted a week long quiz for all learners, with high levels of participation. The fun event meant that on each day, learners were given a fresh focus and reminders of the campaign.

As part of their ongoing commitment to learners, colleagues are placing a significant focus on targeted study sessions as they prepare for their A level exams. This targeted support is just one of the really positive actions, with measurable benefits for the learners being implemented. Learners are being encouraged to book in for 1:1 support sessions and personalised revision timetables are being developed for learners.


Lewisham College – Autism Awareness Fundraising Celebration

The supported learning offer at Lewisham College exists to support learners with ranging abilities however, they have a particular focus on learners with Autism.

Earlier this month, 150 colleagues and learners came together in aid of Autism Awareness, celebrating the achievements of learners on the autistic spectrum and the rich contribution they make to the life of the College and its student .

With quizzes, competitions, music and drama, homemade cakes and handmade cards, the event was designed to highlight the role that the college plays in supporting learners and families living with autism.

A significant concern for people on the autistic spectrum is being unable to access education or find the right support to find employment, with only 16% of autistic adults in the UK in full-time paid employment, 32% in any kind of paid work and one in three autistic children being excluded from school (National Autistic Society, 2016). Therefore, creating an inclusive environment is crucial for our learners and their development.

The events raised funds for the National Autistic Society, which supports people with autism in education, at work and in the community and preparations are underway to launch a supported learning programme at Southwark College in September 2019.


Sending special thanks to all of our colleagues working within the SEND provisions at NCG. The teams across NCG make a profound difference to our learners and ensure our colleges are safe, welcoming and enriching environments that support our purpose, to unlock potential through learning.

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NCG Excellence Awards 2018 Recap

Last week, NCG welcomed colleagues from all of our divisions to the second annual NCG Excellence Awards. Here we share with you a recap of the evening!

Director of Learning & Organisational Development Elouise Leonard-Cross served as compere for the evening and got us underway by welcoming our divisional winners, sponsors and guests.

CEO Joe Docherty revealed that this year we received more than 800 nominations for the 12 available award categories, emphasising the achievement of the shortlisted divisional winners and the overall winners who were about to be announced.

After an energetic game of ‘Dreamboats or Petticoats’, a 1950s themed version of Heads or Tails, our guests were served an ‘American Diner’ themed meal of Presley Pork Pulled Burgers, Blue Moon Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Grilled Corn Cobs followed by a delicious Key Lime Mousse Pie.

Following a short break to wet the whistle, the awards proper began.

2018 Winners

Excellence in Advice & Guidance

Customer Services Team – Lewisham Southwark College

This team care about the people who come to the college and put them first each and every day. Their strength lies in the rapport they build with young people who want to learn at Lewisham Southwark and maintaining a relationship with them throughout their journey at the college.


Excellence in Learner Support

Wellbeing Team – West Lancashire College

An exceptional support team, always on hand to support learners who may otherwise disengage with learning. They regularly attend TAF, Social Service and CAHMMS meetings and ensure young people are supported in the best way by delivering group or individual workshops, building resilience and confidence.


Excellence in Enriching the Learning Experience

Luke Pearson – Rathbone

Luke has really supported the Intraining Black Country site in promoting Equality and Diversity as well as British values. He has organised specific events which have been promoted on LinkedIn; this has significantly raised the profile of Intraining in the local area, and forged useful connections and networks.


Excellence in Unlocking Learner Potential

HCBS English & Maths Team – Newcastle College

This team is outstanding, they all go above and beyond to unlock every learner’s potential and do so with a positive attitude, collaborative approach and sheer determination!


Excellence in Innovation or Technology

Chris Weeks – Group Services

Innovation does not have to be complex, sometimes what appears to be fairly straight forward can often be very complex behind the scenes.  By standardising the printing across all divisions Chris has saved the business money and improved the service.


Excellence in Internal Customer Experience

John Whittingham – West Lancashire College

Throughout his many years at the college, John has always wanted what is best for his customers and is always willing to go the extra mile, often working evenings and weekends to ensure that the IT services he provides are best suited to the needs of the business.


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 Values: Ownership

Gemma Stephens – Rathbone Training

Gemma demonstrated ownership and initiative in arranging placements for learners, re-engaging external agencies to build relationships to improve the learner intake and supporting other members of staff with their work load whilst maintaining a high standard of delivery for her own caseload and supporting other centres outside her own base.


Excellence in Values: Valuing our People

Lauren Plews – Newcastle Sixth Form

Lauren has coached and mentored a group of newly qualified teachers in NSFC, she has shared her own good practice, and enabled the group to support one another through regular coaching community meetings. Lauren managed this in addition to her own full-time teaching role.


Excellence in Values: Open & Honest

Colin Luhrs – Carlisle College

Overseeing Apprenticeship growth that would be the envy of many in the sector, Colin has achieved this in true collaboration with the vast number of staff involved in the Apprenticeship learner journey, shaping the offer, quality and processes in an open and honest way that has united staff.


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

Karen Livsey – Intraining

Karen is dedicated, hardworking and goes above and beyond to accommodate the needs of her learners. Karen not only supports her learners on a 1-2-1 basis but also delivers classroom teaching for Maths and English, drop in study sessions and support through webinars.


Excellence in Teaching: Higher Education

Dan Civico – Newcastle College

Dan has introduced a definite and outstanding industrial link to the Interior & Spatial Design Foundation Degree programme which has benefited the students hugely.


Excellence in Teaching: Further Education

Zara Sharma – Kidderminster College

Treating every student as individuals, Zara works tirelessly to help learners reach the best of their ability, inspiring classrooms full of young people to strive for greatness. Zara is described as being “as kind and caring as Miss Honey, in a world full of Trunchbulls”.


Congratulations to all of our very worthy award winners, and to all of our talented colleagues who were nominated for an award.

Finally, we would like to say a huge thank you to everybody who has contributed to making this year’s NCG Excellence Awards a brilliant success, and to our sponsors NCFE and Capita UNIT-e for your generous support.

We’ll see you again next year for the NCG Excellence Awards 2019!



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Catch up with winners from NCG Excellence Awards 2017

The judging process for the NCG Excellence Awards 2018 has now concluded.

The process begins with nominations from colleagues, which are reviewed by a divisional panel. The shortlisted divisional winners are then invited to the Awards evening where, following the deliberation of a second panel made up of senior leaders, the overall winners are revealed.

Each winner exemplifies NCG’s organisational standards and values. We caught up with winners from the 2017 Awards and asked them about their experiences:


Oli Matthews & Deborah Macleod (on behalf of the Apprenticeships Team)

Carlisle College

Oli Matthews & Deborah MacleodWhat impact has winning an Excellence Award had on you?

Winning the NCG Award for ‘Excellence in Innovation or Technology’ has had a positive impact upon Carlisle College’s Apprenticeship Team. The Award served as motivation for developing our Apprenticeship provision for a third consecutive year, enjoying a 24% increase for 2017/18. Overall, Carlisle College has now expanded its Apprenticeship provision by over 90% in just three years.

How did winning an Excellence Award make you feel?

Very grateful for the nomination and appreciative of the recognition, especially when taking into account all the notable feats announced within our category. Upon winning the Award, we were eager to report back to our colleagues in the Apprenticeship Team, so that they could share in the success and take comfort from all the hard work involved.

What was your favourite part of the Awards evening?

Our favourite part of the Awards evening was meeting the Partnership of Training Providers within NCG, as Carlisle College was a recent addition at the time. It was both impressive and inspiring to hear of the highlighted achievements across the organisation and within all categories, whilst we joined in the celebratory atmosphere. Further to this, it was also rewarding to take a step back and to reflect upon the accomplishments within our party.

We would like to pass on our best wishes for this year’s nominees!


James Edge

Newcastle College

James EdgeWhat impact has winning an Excellence Award had on you?

People within my department have asked me to share good practice, which is always a pleasure. I am also now an Improvement Practitioner for the School of Engineering and people often comment on the award.

How did winning an Excellence Award make you feel?

I was shocked! Being nominated was a huge achievement in itself. I was extremely grateful for the nomination at the time so winning was an amazing achievement. It made me feel very valued as a Programme Leader.

What was your favourite part of the Awards evening?

Meeting like-minded people from the other Colleges within the group. It was lovely getting to know them and find out how their colleges differ from ours. It was also great to meet colleagues from different departments within Newcastle College.


Matthew Ward

NCG Group Services

Matthew WardWhat impact has winning an Excellence Award had on you?

Its raised my profile across the group and allowed me to engage better with staff and stakeholders on environmental issues and help push the group in a more sustainable direction, which is important to me.

How did winning an Excellence Award make you feel?

It made me feel valued within the organisation and that the work I am doing is not going unrecognised and is making a difference.

What was your favourite part of the Awards evening?

My favourite part of the evening was getting to meet all the other nominees from across the group and learn about all the great things they have done as well.


Gemma Rooney

Rathbone Training

Gemma Rooney

What impact has winning an Excellence Award had on you?

I have gained more confidence within my job role and feel valued as a member of the Rathbone Team. It has encouraged me to always encourage others to fulfil their duties and help and support my team to do this. It has also shown me that nothing is impossible to achieve if you set your mind to it.

How did winning an Excellence Award make you feel?

Winning an Excellence award has made me feel as though I do an amazing job at the daily tasks I carry out. I feel that my colleagues really appreciate me as a team player and the work I do. I also feel as though I provide the young people with a good service and a chance within their careers to allow them to progress!

What was your favourite part of the Awards evening?

The favourite part of the evening was the whole event, I was so honoured to get into the finals and to win the award was amazing. The pick & mix was great fun – my colleague and I really enjoyed the sweets! We were sat at a table with lovely people from Rathbone Wales, The Marketing team & Ian Webber who were all great company.


Tina Vos

West Lancashire College

Tina VosWhat impact has winning an Excellence Award had on you?

It gives you a sense of pride to be recognised and builds your confidence and self-esteem.


How did winning an Excellence Award make you feel?

It made me feel very proud and also that I helped someone else achieve their goals too.


What was your favourite part of the Awards evening?

It was really nice to be a winner but also to meet other people from the different groups and being able to socialise in a relaxing atmosphere.


Anthony Crute

Newcastle Sixth From

Anthony CruteHow did winning an Excellence Award make you feel?

I felt honoured that the students had taken the time to nominate me and write such positive things about me. It made me feel proud that my practice was being identified as something which was being highlighted and recognised by the students and the college.


What was your favourite part of the Awards evening?

I enjoyed the chance to spend time outside of the work environment with some people from my own college and NCG as a whole. It was great and very motivating to hear what students from such a different variety of courses/backgrounds had to say about other teachers.


Matty McLeish

Carlisle College

Matty McLeishIt was a great honour to be nominated and successfully win this award, however for my peers to recognise the work commitment and effort that you do not recognise yourself was another great achievement.









Remember, we’ll be live-tweeting all the goings on at the NCG Excellence Awards 2018, follow us at @NCG_Official to join in the fun keep up to date with all of our winners!


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NCG appoints top public servant Peter Lauener as Chair

One of the country’s most respected public servants, who previously led the Education and Skills Funding Agency, is joining NCG as Chair.

After a long and distinguished career, Peter Lauener retired from the Civil Service in November 2017.

He advised numerous Secretaries of State on education and skills policy, and most recently led the Education and Skills Funding Agency, where he was the accounting officer for a budget of more than £60bn.

Since retiring, Peter has been undertaking a short term interim role as chief executive of the Student Loans Company. Peter will join NCG in the Spring.

Before leading the Skills Funding Agency and the Education Funding Agency, his career included the implementation of the Youth Training Scheme and of adult training when working for the Manpower Services Commission in the 1980s, the setting up of Training and Enterprise Councils in the 1990s and the development of the further education sector in the 2000s.

Peter has championed skills in the UK through his role as official delegate for Worldskills and he helped in 2016-17 to establish the Institute for Apprenticeships which is responsible for setting standards for apprenticeships in England.

Peter said:

“I am looking forward to taking up this new role at NCG and getting to know the different colleges and organisations in the Group.

“There is nothing more important than developing the skills of all our people and NCG has a critical role in supporting learners, businesses and communities.”

Joe Docherty, NCG chief executive, said:

“Peter has played a leading role in the shaping of education and training in the UK for some years now.

“He has steered a course for the Skills Funding Agency and the Education Funding Agency through a period of great political and economic change, and consequently made a positive impact on the education and training of people across the country.

“Peter’s insight and experience across the top of tiers of the education industry will be hugely valuable to NCG as we continue to grow and develop our offering.

“NCG works with thousands of learners, employers and apprentices every year and having an expert team at the helm is very important.”

Peter lives in Sheffield, the home of NCG’s national training provider Intraining, and will take up his post from March 1, 2018.

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NCG moves to new Headquarters in Rye Hill House

NCG unveils its new Headquarters building at Rye Hill House in Newcastle upon Tyne, bringing colleagues together to work collaboratively in a modern, open-plan working environment.

“This is a landmark moment for NCG,” says Chief Executive of NCG, Joe Docherty, “– by coming together in one building, it marks the very first time NCG has had a recognised corporate headquarters.”

By moving out of leased office space and into a building previously occupied by Newcastle College, NCG should save around £300k per year on rent to Newcastle Council.

The original Rye Hill House building dates back to the 1860s, and was renovated in 2006; restoring the Victorian villa which had been vacant since 1989 and adding the contemporary, four-storey extension.

“We have tried hard to create a modern working environment which reflects our commitment to our organisational values – being open and honest, taking ownership and valuing our people. For some of us, working in Rye Hill House will mean working in a different way – it’s really important to me that we use the move to work more closely together, to collaborate more and to work better as one team.” – Joe Docherty

As well as the bright, airy office spaces, the new NCG HQ has a number of vibrant meeting rooms equipped with state-of-the-art video conferencing technology; encouraging communication and collaboration between Newcastle-based Group Services and the colleges and training providers across the country.


The History of Rye Hill House

The original Rye Hill House is a Grade 2 Listed Building, dating back to 1860. Originally it was built as a vicarage for Newcastle’s St Nicholas’ Cathedral and in later years was also used as the city’s Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital.

Rye Hill House is the only surviving building of a group of Victorian buildings, the rest of which have been demolished over the years. Having stood empty and derelict for many years, it was re-developed as part of the Newcastle College Campus upgrade in 2006 and given a new lease of life.

The modern building was designed to create a blend between the early Victorian house and cutting edge 21st Century architecture.

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CEO Joe Docherty features in the Chronicle’s Most Influential List 2017

NCG Chief Executive, Joe Docherty, featured in the Chronicle’s Most Influential List 2017.

Joe joined NCG in July 2013 from housing and care provider Home Group, where he was Deputy Chief Executive. In 2002, he established Tees Valley Regeneration, the government backed economic development body which led a £500m inward investment and development programme in the region and which now forms the basis of the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership. He began his career as a Graduate in Banking, where he was eventually a Director in the Corporate Banking Division of Barclays in London.

Joe is a Trustee of the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation – a charity which supports education, arts, environment and social change, and is also a Chairman and co-owner of Crosby’s, a fast growing SME providing services and equipment to the catering industry.

He is an alumnus of Strathclyde University and Harvard University.

You can read the full article on the Chronicle here.

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NCG Welcomes Lewisham Southwark College into the Group

We are pleased to announce that Lewisham Southwark College has now successfully merged with NCG.

We are looking forward to working with Lewisham Southwark College to strengthen, further develop and improve education and training provision to better meet the needs of local communities in Central South London.

Chief Executive of NCG, Joe Docherty, welcomes Lewisham Southwark College to the group:

“We are delighted to welcome Lewisham Southwark College to the family of colleges and training providers at NCG. Lewisham Southwark is a significant college in Central South London, and will continue to serve the needs of its local community.

“It is our clear goal to support Lewisham Southwark College in their drive to improve the quality of education and skills provision in these two critically important London Boroughs, bringing benefits to the students, employers and other stakeholders in Central South London.”

Lewisham Southwark College Principal, Carole Kitching said:

“The College is delighted to have joined national college and training organisation NCG, ensuring we remain a local college serving the needs of our communities in Central South London whilst enjoying the benefits of being part of a highly successful large group. Our students can look forward to being able to access a very wide range of opportunities in apprenticeships and higher education as well as high quality further education provision. Our staff will benefit from being able to share good practice and materials with a network of colleagues across the UK.

“We are also looking forward to working with increasing numbers of employers through our ‘one stop shop’ offer where a single organisation can plan and deliver training both locally and nationally.”


Lewisham Southwark is a London further education college with over 7,100 students from a wide variety of social backgrounds and ethnicities. The college has three campuses across Central South London in Lewisham, Southwark and Deptford.

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The benefits of achieving Taught Degree Awarding Powers

Having gained Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) in June 2016, NCG became the first FE institution in the UK ever to be able to develop and award its own honours and masters degrees.

Here we speak to Ann Baxter, Director of HE at NCG, as she explains the benefits of gaining Taught Degree Awarding Powers.

“TDAP represents a great opportunity for 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.

“It helps us to build on our strengths as a vocational HE provider, developing degrees which are more responsive and meet the skills needs of employers. It also supports the Government’s increased focus on higher level apprenticeships and offers more opportunities for students from all backgrounds to progress into higher education.”

The ground-breaking development followed on from an intensive scrutiny process by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, who recognised that HE provision at Newcastle College, West Lancashire College and Kidderminster College provides a high quality offer to students equivalent to that of a university and that NCG is a mature organisation capable of setting and regulating its own quality standards.

Ann continued:

“At an organisational level it also enables greater autonomy and self-governance, gives recognition of the maturity and ability of the organisation and provides increased flexibility to manage opportunities for employer engagement and work based learning.

“It also provides us with HE module certificates, power to validate others, influence at a national level and full control of higher/degree apprenticeship development.

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

Since being awarded Taught Degree Awarding Powers, NCG has already developed and validated its first BA Hons degree. This is the first full degree award to be validated by a college group in the UK.

The new BA (Hons) online degree in Leadership and Business Management saw its first cohort of online learning students in January 2017.

NCG already offer more than 85 Foundation Degrees and Honours Degrees in a wide range of subjects. It was also one of the first to be awarded Foundation Degree Awarding Powers in 2011 and has a well-established, successful track record of providing learners with a 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 will enrol students on to a number of new programmes which have recently been validated as part of our Taught Degree Awarding Power. These include: BA(Hons) Dance; Masters in Business Administration; BA(Hons) Fine Art; and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education.

NCG was also recently awarded a Teaching and Excellence Silver award for the quality of its Higher Education teaching. 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.

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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

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