Tag Newcastle College


2016 Highlights

2016 has been a busy year for NCG and our divisions; we take a look back at some of the highlights.

Parsons Building; an £18m redevelopment to transform post-16 learning

Back in March, Newcastle College unveiled the new Parsons Building on campus; a ten-storey facility boasting a range of real working environments to help train students for careers in a number of different sectors.

This includes a dedicated floor for healthcare training with a number of hospital wards that replicate the workings of a modern hospital; childcare facilities including a nursery, wet zone and reception class teaching area; and fully-equipped science laboratories dedicated to the delivery of biology, chemistry and physics. In addition, a domiciliary care flat that replicates a supported living environment with bath hoists, kitchen, and bedroom.

The Newcastle College Parsons Building enables employers to access a much needed training facility that will help them to train, recruit and retain highly skilled workers.

West Lancashire College Students Win Community Impact Award

In April, a group of eight West Lancashire College students came together for the Prince’s Trust team programme, winning the Community Impact Award at the Charity’s national ceremony at the London Palladium.

The Prince’s Trust team programme is designed to help young people develop the skills and confidence to find work in the future. The team set about transforming a garden at the Yewdale Counselling Centre into a tranquil haven, with different areas within the garden, individual seating and even repainted walls within the centre to help create a more relaxed environment for those undertaking counselling.

The team’s commitment to the cause was palpable; working late into the night and on weekends to get the job done, with their desire to go the extra mile to help pushing them over the edge to secure the national prize.  Well done Team 42!

Rathbone’s Legal Highs Destroy Lives Campaign a Success

A campaign led by young people at Rathbone Training has played its part in a change in legislation on legal highs.

At a Question Time event, in Manchester, on 27th March 2015, attended by 50 young people and 20 staff, young people raised the issue of legal highs with the panel of local decision makers which included Kate Green, MP for Stretford and Urmston.

A major talking point in the impassioned debate was the damage ‘legal highs’ do to young people’s lives, with several young people giving accounts of how they have affected them and their family and friends.

The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 came into force in May, just over a year after learners at Rathbone Training began highlighting the dangers of previously ‘legal highs’ and the impact they can have on people’s lives.

Intraining rated Grade 2 ‘Good’ by Ofsted

In June, Intraining achieved a Grade Two “Good” status from Ofsted, with the report praising its high quality of work with apprentices and partnering companies.

Inspectors looked at the quality of teaching, learning and outcomes for learners at Intraining, and awarded a ‘good’ status across all areas.

The OFSTED results clearly recognise Intraining’s strong work with employers and partners, as well as the investment they make to ensure that learners are safe, supported and are given the chance to fully unlock their potential by developing their skills.


In June, NCG became the first Further Education Institution in the UK to be awarded Taught Degree Awarding Powers.

This landmark development followed an intensive scrutiny process by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, who recognised that Higher Education provision at their Colleges – Newcastle College, West Lancashire College and Kidderminster College – provide a high quality offer to students, equivalent to that of a university.

NCG validated their first BA Hons Degree in November, marking the first full degree award to be validated by a college group in the UK. The online degree in Leadership and Business Management was developed by NCG Direct as part of Newcastle College, and is expected to have its first cohort in January 2017.

NSFC best year on record for results

2016 has been a record breaking year for Newcastle Sixth Form College, with students achieving the best results the college has ever seen.

24 of the subjects the college offers achieved a 100% pass rate, with 85% of students choosing to progress to university (25% of which gained places at Russell Group universities).

Training Provider of the Year Award

In November, Kidderminster College was named Training Provider of the Year at the Worcester Apprenticeship Awards due to their excelled contribution to apprenticeships – both through increasing numbers and quality – and their role as apprenticeship ambassadors promoting apprenticeships in Worcestershire to young people, schools and employers.

Statistically, Kidderminster College’s success rates are well above the national average with an outstanding 99% of apprentices remaining in employment on completion of their apprenticeship programmes.

A Year of Student Successes

  • Newcastle Sixth Form College Student, 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.
  • Kidderminster College Administration Apprentice, Kathleen Sandford, from The Community Housing Group (TCHG) in Kidderminster, won the top award at the National Apprenticeship Service Awards, becoming the National Intermediate Apprentice of the Year.
  • West Lancashire College apprentice, Jack Baybutt, was also voted Intermediate Apprentice of the Year due to his infectious enthusiasm and business drive with his employer, The Cashroom Ltd.
  • Enthusiastic apprentices at leading energy provider npower had their successes celebrated with special awards presented by Intraining.
  • Learners from Rathbone Training received a National Volunteer Award from the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) for their work with Neath Foodbank where they regularly help weigh, sort, pack and deliver food hampers.
  • Kidderminster College Dance Student, Joel Cooper, landed a role in the award winning musical, Wicked, at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
  • Newcastle College student, Kieran Nelson, won the title of ‘Apprentice of the Year’ at this year’s prestigious Newcastle Business Awards.

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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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Newcastle College crowned best FE College at national education awards

Newcastle College was last night crowned FE College of the Year at the first Educate the North Awards.

The high profile awards celebrate and recognise excellence in the education sector in the North.

The College beat off stiff competition to pick up the prestigious award, which recognised its outstanding work with employers, the community and in tackling unemployment. It also won the Access Award for the work its Learning Support Team does to break down barriers to learning and was the only college shortlisted in this category.

The awards, launched earlier this year, are the first of its kind and focus on a growing sector which is critical to the economic and cultural health and future of not only the Northern economy, but the UK generally.

Newcastle College Principal, Carole Kitching accepted the awards on behalf of the college at a special ceremony in Manchester last night. She said:

“These accolades are a huge thank you to the hard work undertaken by all of our staff and students over the last few years. To be recognised as the top FE college is a huge honour and testament to the outstanding student experience that we can offer at Newcastle College. I am completely overwhelmed by this achievement and am so proud of everyone at the college who has contributed to our success.”

Newcastle College is one of the country’s leading providers of FE and HE. The college has around 18,000 students studying a wide range of courses from foundation level to Masters Degree. It is one of a few colleges nationwide able to enrol students on a full time basis from 14 years old. It was also one of the first to be able to develop and validate its own foundation degrees.

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Multi-million pound Rail Academy ‘a critical part of the future investment in skills’

A new multi-million pound training facility, which will help to secure the future of rail engineering in the North East, has received support from the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Vince Cable praised Newcastle College’s Rail Academy as being ‘a critical part of the future investment in skills’ in a specially recorded message to mark its official opening.

The college run academy is the first of its kind in the country and will be a regional hub for training and development for railway engineering. It was designed to respond to the Government’s ambitious plans to create a ‘truly world-class rail network’ by pledging to make what it describes as ‘the biggest investment in rail infrastructure in the last 150 years’.

The Business Secretary said:

“The Rail Academy is an important initiative that will support the Government’s investment in the future of the UK’s rail infrastructure. Developing specialist training and skills is vital in creating the next generation of rail engineers and will provide opportunities for thousands of young people to develop careers in this growing sector. I would like to congratulate Newcastle College on this outstanding facility and wish all of the students every success in the future.”

Developed with support from the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering (NSARE) and Network Rail, the Rail Academy 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.

The Academy serves all age groups, including young people looking to develop a career in the rail sector, those wanting to change career and employers who need to up-skill their existing work force or simply recruit for future growth. It is able to blend all aspects of the rail environment under one roof, particularly for signalling, telecommunications, electrification and permanent way.

The Rail Academy will not only produce the rail engineers of the future, it will also offer a bespoke training venue to help employers up-skill existing staff, and train new staff in a safe environment. Full-time diplomas in rail engineering, suitable for all age groups, are currently available. Bespoke HNC courses and degree courses are also now being developed in conjunction with industry partners. There are also a wide range of industry standard courses.

Marc McPake, Head of the Rail Academy, said:

“The opening of the rail academy signifies the start of a new era in training for the next generation of rail engineers. I believe that what we have here is unique. We are helping to develop the skills that are needed by industry today, but also creating a pipeline of skilled people with the knowledge of the state of the art equipment that we will see in the rail industry in the future.

The Government is investing millions in our rail infrastructure and we are seeing massive innovations in rail engineering that must be underpinned by high level skills and training. We know that there is a huge demand for skilled workers and we must use this opportunity to inspire the next generation of rail engineers as well as support employers to develop their existing workforce. The Rail Academy is a great example of collaboration between industry and education. It’s important that everything we do is focussed around the needs of employers as that is what will help us secure the future of rail engineering in the north east and create job opportunities for more and more local people every year.”

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