North East businesses champion national success of Gateshead College

Posted on the 21 July 2015

North East businesses champion national success of Gateshead College

Employers and North East business leaders have applauded news that Gateshead College has won the coveted ‘outstanding’ status in an Ofsted inspection.

The report praised the college’s dynamic principal and championed the vision to develop strong partnerships with regional employers such as Vantec and Nissan UK and organisations like the NHS. Ofsted cited outstanding employability skills among learners, giving them the ‘employment edge’ in a difficult North East jobs market.

Gateshead College is one of only two FE colleges to be recognised as outstanding this academic year. The college is exceeding national targets for its performance, with a success rate cited as ‘exceptionally high for all learners’ at 8.2% above the national average.

Nigel Mills, entrepreneur and chairman of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, said:  “This is well deserved recognition for the work Gateshead College undertakes with both its learners and also the wider business community. Gateshead is an outstanding college that understands the need to prepare and motivate young people for the world of work.

“Importantly, Gateshead College takes an entrepreneurial approach to learning, highlighting and promoting enterprise within its curriculum, both stretching students but also inspiring them about the potential of business.”

Chris Lamb, head of Vantec’s Logistics Centre of Excellence, Sunderland, added: “We’re committed to developing our workforce and Gateshead College has become an invaluable partner in our recruitment and training programme. The college has been innovative and highly flexible in its approach and completely focused on aligning training with our needs.”

Gateshead College is currently putting Vantec’s permanent staff through training programmes that are tailored to the company’s specific business needs, with 800 employees set to embark on training by 2018. Eligible staff will complete a 12-month adult apprenticeship in warehousing. Vantec staff will also work towards a qualification in managing the supply chain, which is recognised by the Institute of Supply Chain Management.

Ofsted praised the outstanding feedback learners receive from a very wide range of employers. Learners are impressing those in industry with their English and mathematics skills, confidence, highly positive attitude to work, attendance and punctuality.

Learners, who are exceeding national achievement targets, go into highly sought after careers and with prestigious employers, says the report, including the Royal Marines and The Ritz, London. Gateshead College was also praised for the high proportion of its learners achieving places at Russell Group universities.

Robin Mackie, chairman of Gateshead College and business leader, said: “This Ofsted report places Gateshead College at the forefront of FE in the country. It is the result of a fantastic team effort led by Judith and I am thankful to every single partner and colleague that has worked very hard to achieve such a great result.

“I am delighted that Ofsted acknowledged the outstanding partnerships the college has with employers and business organisations like the CBI and NECC to ensure the curriculum is relevant to the local area and regional priorities.”

Judith Doyle, principal and chief executive, said: “I am very proud of this outstanding achievement. It reflects both the efforts of teaching staff but also the strong partnership work with local business organisations and employers. Our outstanding results have been made possible because we have shaped the curriculum to meet the needs of the local market.

“Businesses have told us they want a strong mix of soft skills along with specific industry relevant qualifications. Employers have provided great work experience opportunities for our learners to ensure they’re both motivated and equipped to enter the world of work.”

Ofsted inspectors complemented college staff for developing outstanding links with a high number of local employers providing training, apprenticeships, bespoke training and work experience opportunities.

The Ofsted announcement follows recent recognition from the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) that Gateshead College was the top performing college in the North East of England and the 3rd best in the country (out of 218 colleges) for success rates and the number of Level 2 courses. The positions are based on FE tables for success rates based on the numbers of students staying on at college and successfully gaining qualifications.

For full Ofsted report -