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Craig Hodgson portrait web

Newcastle-under-Lyme College (NULC) is today celebrating the nomination of its Vice Principal for a prestigious national award.

Craig Hodgson has been shortlisted as FE Leader of the Year in the TES FE Awards.TES, formerly known as the Times Educational Supplement, is a leading world-wide teaching publication which was launched in the UK over 100 years ago.

Karen Dobson, NULC Principal and Chief Executive, who nominated Craig for the award, said: "NULC is a highly successful college which is judged to have Outstanding Financial Health and Financial Management and Control by the Skills Funding Agency due in a large part to Craig's drive and commitment. Craig is simply the best finance director in the sector."

The nomination also praised Craig for his contribution to the student experience as he project-managed the building of the £60 million Knutton Lane College which offers students top facilities in which to study and prepare for a career.

Students will also benefit from two of Craig's current projects: the newly built on-campus Performing Arts Centre and the refurbishment of Gradbach Outdoor Education Centre in the Peak District which is due to complete later in 2015.

Craig's nomination was supported by a variety of experts.

Vici Cadwallader-Webb, director of independent education consultants Icca Education Training and Skills Limited, said: "A review, commissioned by LSIS, identified the top performing colleges in the sector. Unsurprisingly Newcastle-under-Lyme College was in the top ten. This performance doesn't come through luck but through the hard work and determination of the senior leadership team. Craig also enjoys interacting with students and uses his skills to help the College drive forward their 'student first' agenda."

College governor Gareth Jones, Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee at NULC, said: "The College is currently recognised as being one of the strongest FE colleges academically and financially. The growth and success of the College in the past few years have been extremely impressive and there is no doubt in my mind that Craig Hodgson's contribution to this has been a key factor."

Said George Trow, Principal and Chief Executive of Doncaster College,: "Craig has played a crucial role in the success of Newcastle-under-Lyme College, leading the new build and development of student facilities over the years. He is a wise counsel who understands that the curriculum and student experience are paramount to shaping life-changing activities for the local community."

NULC enjoyed record results in 2014 with a 98% pass rate for A Level students, a 99% pass rate for vocational students, and with 94% of all students progressing on to either university, apprenticeships or employment.

The TES FE awards are open to all further education providers: colleges, work-based learning providers, adult and community learning providers, offender learning establishments and specialist designated institutions. An independent panel of judges will select the winners who will be announced on 27 February at a 600 guest gala dinner in London's Gosvenor House Hotel.

The College will hold its next open event for prospective students on Saturday 24th January 2015 between 10:00 and noon. The event is open to current year 11 students as well as adults who are looking to re-start their education. Visitors can beat the queues by pre-registering online at

Monday, 01 December 2014 10:12

Musical Extravaganza in aid of Dougie Mac

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Poster Live music 800px

Music technology students from Newcastle-under-Lyme College are holding a night of music in aid of Douglas Macmillan Hospice on Wednesday 10th December.

The musicians will also be competing for the chance to be the first artists to record in the new Performing Arts Centre studios, which are due to open in 2015.

Extravaganza tickets are open to members of the public and are priced at £2 each, with all proceeds going towards the Douglas Macmillan Hospice in Blurton.

Simone Bratt, curriculum leader in music technology, said: "We've had a huge number of musicians put themselves forward to be the first artists to record in the new studios, so we thought that we would turn the competition heats into a musical treat for the local community at the same time as raising vital funds for the Hospice.

"There will be a variety of musicians performing throughout the evening so there will be
something for everyone."

Tickets are on sale now by contacting the College on 01782 254 198 or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Doors open at 5.45pm with the first act due on stage in the College auditorium from 6 pm.

The College's £5.5 million Performing Arts Centre will open in 2015 and will be home to a 200-seater theatre, an industry standard music technology suite and two air
conditioned dance studios.

Students can study a wide range of performing arts courses from entry level to higher qualifications including extended diplomas and foundation degrees and the
Performing Arts Centre will also be used by the local community.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014 16:04

Basketball teams make NULC history

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NULC Ladies basketball team

NULC ladies’ and men’s basketball teams have made College history after both groups won the AoC Sport West Midlands Regional Basketball Competition.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014 16:06

NULC Apprentice Shortlisted for Inspiration Award

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Abbie Jackson2NULC sports apprentice Abbie Jackson has been named Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent’s inspirational student of the year by the Association of Colleges.

Eighteen-year-old Abbie, who was nominated by the College’s Academy of Sport, will now be put forward with five other regional finalists to compete to be crowned AoC West Midlands Inspirational Sports Student of the Year 2014.

The winner will receive their trophy from BBC Midlands Today presenters, Nick Owen and Mary Rhodes at Villa Park on Thursday 27th November. The event will be attended by other local sports personalities.

Trevor Humphries, Academy of Sport Manager at NULC, said: “I’m personally delighted that Abbie has won the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent area award and I hope that she goes on to win the overall award.

“She is a truly inspirational person and think that she wholeheartedly deserves this recognition because of the hard work and commitment she shows every time she is in College. She plays a crucial role in the Academy of Sport office through supporting the organisation of seven performance Academy sport squads involving over 300 students on a weekly basis.

The enthusiasm and passion shown by Abbie has also resulted in external recognition as she was selected to attend national coach training camps for England Basketball and the Football Association.

“We wish her all the best in the awards and as a College we are proud of her achievements so far and are sure that she will go on to great things in the future.”

The awards aim to recognise individual achievements within sports and also to help highlight the importance of sport within education.

Abbie, a former St John Fisher High School pupil, said: “I’m truly honoured to have been nominated in the first place but to win the Staffordshire award and now to be put forward to the overall regional award is unbelievable. I honestly never thought I was doing anything special other than what was expected of me when I started my apprenticeship.

“NULC has been a great support to me and I’m thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had since being a part of the Sports Academy here. I’m looking forward to the awards later this month and I wish all the finalists luck and think that whoever wins will deserve it completely.”

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Outreach Award SmallNewcastle-under-Lyme College (NULC) has been awarded this year’s Keele Outreach Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Raising Aspirations in Further Education’.

The award for the College’s ‘determination to provide a wide variety of opportunities to young people’, was presented by former student Jamie Littlejohn who attended NULC between 2008 and 2010 where he achieved A*AB in Biology, Chemistry and Maths with Statistics.   Jamie went on to study an Undergraduate Degree in Biomedical Science at Keele and became a student Ambassador in 2011. Since then he has been involved in giving back to the local area through his Outreach work and so won the award for Outstanding Contribution to Curriculum Outreach for 2013/14. He is currently undertaking a PhD on The Crystal Structure in Proteins at Keele.

Karen Dobson, Principal and Chief Executive at the College said: “Last year NULC became one of the region’s top three colleges for university progression, sending more than 800 students to higher education. This year 90 of our students went on to Keele which is a good university and right on our doorstep. So we are delighted to work with them and to receive this award. It recognises the hard work and dedication from all the staff involved in supporting our learners’ progression.”

Over the past year, the College has worked with the University to provide the opportunities for young people to engage in work experience, e-mentoring, and master classes led by Keele academics in subject areas such as social work and politics.

NULC has also supported young people to attend residential summer schools at Keele and engaged in projects to help those students interested in competitive subjects such as law and medicine.

Ant Sutcliffe, Outreach Officer at Keele University said: “At Keele we are passionate about encouraging young people to aim high and have the confidence to go to University. NULC’s activity has been most impressive, with the college engaging with our Outreach Programme on more occasions that any other Further Education College. We congratulate all the schools and colleges, like NULC, that have been exceptional in helping us achieve these goals.”

Representatives from Keele have also been invited to upcoming College events such as parents’ evenings and careers fairs to ensure young people receive the most up-to-date advice and guidance when applying for university places.





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Laurie-Ann Marshall SmallLaurie Marshall, 21 from Stone, an engineering apprentice from Newcastle-under-Lyme College (NULC), has been announced as a finalist in the annual Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards run by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) to recognise the best and brightest young female engineers in the country.

The IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards highlight the achievements of inspiring young women who have chosen a career in engineering and encourage others to enter careers in engineering and technology.

Laurie was selected as a finalist in the Mary George Memorial Prize for Apprentices in recognition of her outstanding contribution within the workplace, as well as acting as a role model to other young people who are considering a future in engineering. If she’s named as winner, Laurie will receive a cheque for £750, an engraved trophy and certificate and will be invited to participate in high profile events, where she will get the chance to meet influential people and raise her profile within the engineering industry. The awards ceremony will take place on December 10 in central London and will be hosted by BBC Breakfast presenter Stephanie McGovern.

Laurie joined ABB Power Systems in Stone in September 2011, as part of her course at NULC and is currently an Apprentice Circuit Engineer, meaning that she works as part of a team designing protection and control systems, which are the “brains” of high-voltage substations. As an apprentice, Laurie balances a four-day working week with one day a week studying for a Foundation Degree in Electrical Engineering at NULC, meaning that she is developing valuable work experience as well as working towards a qualification.

Dave Halliwell Engineering Curriculum Leader at NULC said: “We are extremely pleased for Laurie and her accomplishments, she continues to show her hard work and dedication to engineering through both her work in the College and apprenticeship, we wish her all the best at the awards ceremony on December 10.”

Women currently represent just six per cent of the engineering workforce in the UK today, the lowest percentage in Europe. If this trend continues, the UK will be in a significantly weakened position to find the 87,000 new engineers needed every year over the next decade (according to Engineering UK 2014, the state of engineering report).

Laurie said: “Working as an apprentice at ABB is the best experience I could have asked for when starting off and it’s a real bonus to be shortlisted by the IET.”

ABB’s Head of Power Systems in UK and Ireland, Stephen Trotter said: “We’re really proud of Laurie’s achievement. As an apprentice engineer, the world is her oyster and she is developing skills and knowledge that will give her a rewarding and exciting career in engineering.”

IET Chief Executive Nigel Fine said: “We’ve been running our Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards for 38 years and have produced a number of fantastic female ambassadors for engineering as a result. 2014 has seen growing momentum from Government, industry and educators to encourage more girls to study science, technology, mathematics and engineering subjects, so it seems timely and appropriate to make find inspirational female role models who can support these efforts the key focus of our very successful Awards.”




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Newcastle-under-Lyme College A-level students, Jathusan Naguleswaran and Jamie Harland have won Nuffield Foundation Gold CREST Awards for their research at Staffordshire and Keele Universities.Jathusan Naguleswaran webJamie Harland web

Jathusan and Jamie completed four week placements at the local universities during the summer. Jathusan centred his research on Electrostatic Precipitation (ESP) while Jamie researched Solid Oxide Fuel Cells.

The Nuffield Foundation gives Bronze, Silver and Gold awards to participating students based on the standard of their work. This means that Jathusan and Jamie produced work and research of the highest standard.

Each week they were faced with a different aspect of research. For example, Jathusan's first week entailed computer research into the basics of ESP, its current problems and its effects on the planet through pollution. However, it wasn't long before he was using experiments to discover how other factors like air velocity effect their efficiency. He concluded his research with a 16 page report on his findings which earned him this prestigious award.

The Nuffield Foundation organises placements where students can immerse themselves into the world of science in the workplace. Jathusan, an aspiring aeronautical engineer said: "It helped me to see what research is really about. It isn't just the practical side of science as you have to be able to work independently.

"At first, I looked at it and thought, I won't be able to do this but I quickly got used to it. It was a good opportunity that gave me brilliant research experience and it has helped me to further develop skills
like independent working."

For Jamie, an aspiring researcher, this was a chance for an insight into a career in chemistry. He said: "I experienced what I could be doing in the future. I found that the work that I took on was interesting as I was contributing to a topic as big as how we generate power."

Not only do these placements offer work experience but they also offer university-life experience as Jamie and Jathusan were in regular contact with the students that were studying and living there.

Jamie explained:" I learnt a lot about university life after speaking to students working and living there. It also helped me to develop skills such as planning, independent work, general laboratory skills and confidence in myself and my work."

The CREST Awards were presented by renowned physicist Farzana Aslam at a celebration evening held at Coventry University.

NULC offers A-levels in 36 subjects as well as a wide range of vocational qualifications. Students are supported to gain work experience, career insights or mentoring. To find out more, attend an open
event by registering here:

Monday, 13 October 2014 16:53

NULC duo get England Volleyball call-up

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Two Newcastle-under-Lyme College (NULC) students are competing for the England national junior men and women volleyball squads in Denmark this week.RosieRich

NULC pair Rosie Barley and Rich James are in Denmark for the 2014 Northern European Volleyball Zonal Association (NEVZA) U19 championships. The competition is taking place in Billund, Denmark from 14th – 16th October.

Rosie, aged 16, and Rich, aged 18, are both former pupils of Madeley High School and are studying for Level 3 Extended Diplomas in Sport and Exercise Sciences. They are also both members of the England Volleyball National Academy, based at NULC.

NEVZA is a competition for northern European nations, which consists of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Faroe Islands, England and Greenland.

This year's competition sees England men and women squads take on sides from: Sweden, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Norway & Iceland.

The England Junior women are drawn in Pool B of the women's competition, where they will face Norway and Sweden, England's men are drawn in Pool A of the men's competition and will take on Norway and Iceland.

Both squads are returning to Billund after competing in the competition last year, the men's squad finishing 4th in 2013 and the women finishing 6th.

The England Volleyball National Academy is recruiting now for 2015/16, so if you are interested please contact Trevor Humphries on 01782 254269.

For further information on how NULC sport, please visit

Tuesday, 07 October 2014 16:18

Phones4U jobs event wins employer support

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Web-size job seeker Jo and Michael Lloyd of KindertonsL-R: Michael from Kindertons of Crewe with jobseeker Jo from Chesterton

A major employment initiative to help ex-employees of Phones4u has won the support of local employers.

The first event organised by the new Staffordshire based taskforce was a jobs fair, at Newcastle-under-Lyme College, which today attracted 166 former Phones4u employees and almost 40 employers offering around 200 vacancies. Taskforce organisations were also on hand to offer with workshops and employment, finance and skills advice.

The taskforce was created in response to Phones4u going into administration with the loss of hundreds of jobs in Newcastle and Stoke and thousands more nationally.

Said Michael Lloyd, HR Manager of Crewe-based Kindertons: "This is a fantastic initiative and we are delighted to be involved. Due to expansion, we have 40 vacancies that we are keen to fill. We are particularly interested in customer service and debt recovery staff and will be interviewing next week. We've met people today who are of interest to us and would plan to continue working with Newcastle-under-Lyme College."

Jo Davies of Chesterton had worked for Phones4u's head office for 15 years and has been made redundant as a revenue recovery officer. Jo is now looking for finance or administrative roles. She said: "I am really glad I came along today. I am very determined so I've seen as many employers as possible and I've left my CV with quite a few."

The taskforce includes the Local Enterprise Partnership, Staffordshire County Council, Newcastle Borough Council, Stoke City Council, the Department for Work and Pensions, Jobcentre Plus, Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and the Citizens Advice Bureau. They are working closely with the administrator to offer direct and indirect help, and, as part of a larger strategy, to support local people looking for employment.

Any other employers who may have suitable vacancies should contact Newcastle Borough Council on 01782 717717. The taskforce would particularly like to hear from employers who have vacancies in the following areas:

  • Telesales
  • Customer services
  • Finance
  • Administrative roles

For further information on how NULC supports employers, please visit

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 12:24

New Prospectus

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The College's new 2015-16 prospectus for year 11s and their parents is available now. 2015 prospectus cover 1

It takes you through all the support we offer, why you should chose NULC, and gives you details on a huge range of post-16 options including A Levels, apprenticeships and vocational courses.

You can download a low resolution copy here,

make your own personal version here

or get one sent through the post here.

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