A Day of Peace at Kidderminster College

Colleagues at Kidderminster College came together on Saturday 21 September to mark the United Nations’ International Day of Peace with their MAS Lab World Peace Concert.


The international day of peace is a United Nations initiative, established in 1981 and observed globally on the 21st September. It is a shared day for all humanity to commit to peace above all difference and to celebrate building a culture of peace.”

– Kev Gammond, MAS Lab Curator


The event, which was free to attend, brought together artists, musicians, authors and speakers for a day of shared celebrations. The diverse range of traditional, local, distant and unique cultures showed what peace means and demonstrated how it can inspire and improve everyday lives and local communities.

The soundtrack to the day was provided by Kidderminster’s own Black Country Brass, who performed moving renditions of a collection of national anthems from around the globe. Human rights activists Todd Maforimbo and David Shuck delivered thought-provoking talks and renowned poet Keisha recited poems addressing the need to be at peace with ourselves so that we are able to be at peace with others.


This is probably one of the biggest recent news stories for Kidderminster College, drawing together many regional and international partners on an international event… it’s big stuff.

It is of the times we live in globally, it feels the college is making a statement of peace when there are many things that divide us – peace is so fragile and often taken for granted.

Throughout the day staff demonstrated their commitment & empathy towards humanity on a global scale and showed what it means to our learners.  Their passion and vigour for an international event is something I haven’t seen in education for a long time.”

– Palvinder Singh, Deputy Principal, Kidderminster College


MAS Records & MAS Lab

Kev Gammond founded MAS (Mighty Atom Smasher) Records, a non-profit music development programme based in Kidderminster, in 2001. The label has partnerships with local education authorities across the UK and has Ricky Wilson (Kaiser Chiefs), Robert Plant (ex-Led Zeppelin) and Karl Hyde (Underworld) as its patrons.

The initiative combines industry knowledge and experience with education to give our young people the very best learning experience and prepare them for the wider industry.

Kev launched his latest project, MAS Lab, last year with the purpose of bringing communities closer together through the promotion of social and political causes both locally and nationally.

You can find out more about MAS Records here as well as an hour-long livestream of the event, which includes an inspirational address of UK gangs and knife crime from Dr Ross Deuchar, on Kidderminster College’s Facebook page here.


What’s Next?

In 2020, Kidderminster College and MAS Lab will be joining forces with organisations across the UK to combat criminal gang-related activities.

Partnerships with The Ubuntu Roundtable Project will connect young people with local police authorities to open a discourse about issues in local areas, bringing communities together to reduce the risk of criminal activity.


Our thanks go to our colleagues at #TeamKC for organising an enlightening and inspiring event. We all look forward to hearing about the continued positive impact on our learners and the community.

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NCG Excellence Awards 2019 Recap

  • Magician Magic Graeme entertains our guests on arrival

  • ❤NCG letters provided by Love Light Hire

  • Every guest received an event programme at a star pin badge

  • Our award winners!

  • Magician Magic Graeme entertains our guests on arrival

  • Award winner Farina Cahm with Denise Williamson, Principal at West Lancashire College

  • Guests pose outside the Newcastle Eagles Community Arena

  • Our 12 awards were split into our 3 key areas of activity

  • Christina Maw, representing the award winning Work Experience Team, with Grant Glendinning, Principal at Carlisle College

  • Award winner Marcia Winterburn with Asfa Sohail, Principal at Lewisham College

  • Each of the 22 tables sat 8 guests

  • Interim Chief Executive addressing our guests

  • Director of Learning & OD, Elouise Leonard-Cross, served as compère for the evening

  • Elouise hosts a game of Rock, Paper, Mirror

  • Magician Magic Graeme entertains our guests on arrival

  • Elouise hosts a game of Rock, Paper, Mirror

  • Award winner Amanda Robson with Andy Dobson, Principal at Kidderminster College

  • Newcastle College based musician Jordan Kendal added to a great atmosphere

  • Guests pose outside the Newcastle Eagles Community Arena

  • Guests pose outside the Newcastle Eagles Community Arena

  • Elouise hosts a game of Rock, Paper, Mirror

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!

#NCGExcellence #WeAreNCG

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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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