Gateshead College Foundation

In difficult times it is always good to hear of organisations and senior managment teams that can be far sighted and innovative. Well done Gateshead College.

What is the Gateshead College Foundation?

It’s an independent charity set up by Gateshead College with the purpose of making sure that young people and adults, living in our region, can access funds to enable them to develop their skills and improve their life chances at Gateshead College.

It’s the first organisation of its kind in the region, and is something the College has had in the pipeline for a while, but the need to set it up has become more pressing with the current state of the economy and the funding cuts, which mean that for many it is more difficult to come to College than it ever has been. The abolition of EMA, cuts to fee remission for adults and other funding cuts are causing major issues for many students.

Education has the power to transform lives, and there is no greater need than now for people to have the chance to develop the skills they need to get jobs, improve their prospects and get our economy moving. The launch of the Foundation will remove some of the barriers that stand in their way and will also give those with particular talents the opportunity to thrive!

The Foundation will provide resources and support not available through other statutory routes, to people who want to study at Gateshead College; this might be in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, equipment, gifts, bursaries and prizes. It could help towards the payment of fees, pay for specialist equipment or uniforms, help talented athletes to go to competitions or help with travel costs – especially for those who live some distance away.

In addition to financial support, the Foundation will also seek to offer other forms of support, to ensure Gateshead College students experience the very best personal, professional and social development we can offer. This may take the form of mentoring support, volunteering opportunities, work experience programmes and community projects.

The Foundation will operate as a registered charity, and will be run by a nominated board of Trustees, that will be entirely independent from Gateshead College.

Who will benefit from the Gateshead College Foundation?Anyone who wishes to study at Gateshead College can apply to The Foundation for support.

All applications will be judged against set criteria, depending on the kind of support being requested.

All applications will be independently assessed by the Board of Trustees.

How did the Foundation come about?

Over the last two years, senior management at Gateshead College along with the Board of Governors, have been discussing ways in which the College can offer extra support to its students.

We know some families work hard and don’t get any government assistance but might struggle to pay for the extras, for example equipment or trips and visits. And there are others who, with the cuts to fee remission and EMA, will not even be able to get to College, never mind make the most of their time when they’re here. We know we needed to do something about that. Without helping people get the skills they need to improve their own prospects our economy will never recover and our communities will suffer.

How will people apply to the Foundation for support?

All applications for support will go directly to the Foundation.

Depending on which form of support is needed, individuals may be means tested, assessed on application or may be required to take part in an interview.

When will the Gateshead College Foundation be in operation?

The Gateshead College Foundation will be finalised in the next few weeks and a Board of Trustees will be appointed. The Foundation will be open for applications for students wishing to enrol, or continue learning at Gateshead College, from September 2011.

More information will be available going forward, as our plans are finalised

Where will funding for the Gateshead College Foundation come from?

Gateshead College will make an initial contribution of £1 million from its reserves and each year will contribute a small percentage of any surplus generated. Other funding will come from fundraising activity, corporate sponsorship, donations and gift aiding from the surplus of other commercial operations run by Gateshead College.

If you would like to sign up to receive more information about the Gateshead College Foundation, please call us on 0191 490 2246.

Apprenticeships campaign already huge success

A major campaign led by The Journal and Evening Gazette is aiming to boost the number of firms taking on apprentices in the North East. And, as Karen McLauchlan reports, it’s already a huge success.

Just a few success stories from the campaign so far

AN initiative to recruit new apprentices for ‘green’ training places has been launched. The North East Apprenticeship Company (NEAC) is looking for young apprentices for employment in the environmental sector.

A DOCTOR’S surgery in Sunderland is offering a host of new services to patients after putting two of its receptionists through a healthcare apprenticeship. Lynn Hutchinson and Emma Keerie at the Happy House Surgery on Durham Road are now fully functioning healthcare assistants after becoming apprentices through Gateshead Council’s bespoke service.

A TEENAGER who has been helping to carry out a major North East regeneration project has been honoured for his commitment and dedication. Aaron Leonard from Gateshead has been handed the Apprentice of the Year Award by community regeneration specialist Frank Haslam Milan (FHM) North East.

TYNESIDE MP Catherine McKinnell, Labour MP for Newcastle North, has recruited her own apprentice – and has urged others to do the same. Sixteen-year-old Charlene Curry is now working in the constituency office in Westerhope, Newcastle, where she will complete a business administration qualification.

A TRAINEE female mechanic for the police is proving her worth in a male-dominated industry and is urging other women to pick up a wrench and take up an apprenticeship in the motor industry. Carly Willumsen, from Newcastle, enrolled at Gateshead College and is well under way with her two-year apprenticeship technician course at Northumbria Police Fleet Management at Killingworth, to become a full-time vehicle technician.

TRAINEE plumber Shane Lodge has a new career in the pipeline after becoming the 100th apprentice to join a thriving scheme. The 20-year-old from Eston took up a role with A&P Plumbing and Heating, of Normanby, thanks to the support of Redcar and Cleveland Council’s routes to employment team.

A SPECIALIST technology firm has bolstered its team by taking on its first apprentices. PolyPhotonix, which has its research plant at PETEC, NetPark in Sedgefield, is pioneering the development of organic light technology (OLED). It has taken on apprentices Josh Greg, 18, from Stockton and Sean Bolton, 19, from Middlesbrough.

A TEESSIDE teenager is looking forward to a digital future after the North East Apprenticeship Company (NEAC) secured an apprenticeship for him at a Teesside e-commerce website designer. Sixteen-year-old Alex Smith from Great Ayton has been taken on as an apprentice at Visualsoft, where he will be working at its busy Stockton office.

TUC Apprenticeships Toolkit

This excellent toolkit is a resource for union reps and ULRs who are negotiating with employers on Apprenticeships or who are approaching an employer to discuss the possibility of taking on apprentices. The factsheets provide concise information on a range of topics related to Apprenticeships.

This toolkit is intended to be used as a reference and information resource for reps. Factsheets can be taken out and given directly to an employer if information on a specific topic is required.

Download full toolkit [PDF 1.6mb] go to:

Green Apprenticeships Website

Green Apprenticeships
Green Apprentices can bring real benefit to your business

Governments, business, industry and individuals are adapting in order to reduce their impact on the environment. In response to this, the ‘green’ jobs market is growing to accommodate the increased demand for environmental services.

To support these services, the NE Apprenticeship Company and Environmental Academy have developed the ‘Green Apprenticeship Scheme’. The starting cost to hire an apprentice is just £115 per week. We screen and select the right apprentice for your organisation and offer support along the way.

The starting cost of having an apprentice sourced and supported by us is £115 per week. This comprises of their salary plus a service charge to cover the management costs of employing and supporting the apprentice. In addition, we organise the latest training available from the Environmental Academy to equip the apprentice with the right environmental skills for the job. We can even arrange for your apprentice to be ‘shared’ across a number of organisations should you struggle to meet the ongoing costs.

To find out more about hiring an Apprentice please call Judith Jackson on 0191 490 4616.

NEAC CEO involved in REC Youth Employment Task-force

Paul Champion NEAC CEO has been involved in the review of the REC Youth Employment Task Force at the House of Lords.

Download at:

There are nearly one million young people who are not in education, employment or training in the UK. We know from previous recessions that significant periods of unemployment in the early years of a person’s working life can have serious consequences on their future job prospects. Gaps in employment can mean that young jobseekers do not acquire the skills and relevant work experience which employers are looking for. Furthermore, unemployment can seriously damage a young person’s confidence which can significantly hamper their career prospects throughout their working lives.

This is an issue which should concern us all. The direct cost of youth unemployment is substantial: the Prince’s Trust has put a figure at £4.7 billion a year after taking into account productivity loss and the cost of benefits. In addition, healthy businesses need healthy communities in which to operate. If a generation of young people is scarred by unemployment then this is not only damaging to Britain but poses a real threat to employers.

Employers and recruiters can play a crucial role in highlighting the skills and support mechanisms that are needed to build effective bridges for young people to go into the world of work. It is for this reason that the REC has established a Youth Employment Taskforce to provide practical advice to Government to tackle the problem.

The taskforce is chaired by Baroness Prosser, Deputy Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and involves high-profile employers, leading recruiters, including NEAC.

The aim is to provide feedback and practical recommendations to politicians and policy makers. Specific issues that are being addressed include identifying future sectors of growth, highlighting the skills and attitudes needed by young people to succeed at work and recommending the support young jobseekers need to be able to succeed in a competitive labour market.

– Posted using BlogPress from my Amazing iPad by

Paul Champion


North East Apprenticeship Company

Tel: 0191 4902453

Mobile: 07540 704920

Fax: 0191 5800218

Twitter: NEACltd

Location:Belvedere Rd,Lambeth,United Kingdom

NEAC rides out in support of 500 in 100 Campaign

There’s no reining back the North East Apprenticeship Company’s (NEAC) support for the Journal’s campaign to find 500 new apprentices by the end of April.

NEAC is looking to find horse loving youngsters for a County Durham equestrian centre as secures its 50 apprentice to mark 50 days since the start of the campaign.

Holmside Equestrian Centre, in Burnhope, is searching for two young people with a love of all things equine to take up training places and work towards achieving an NVQ Level 2 in Horse Care.

The successful applicants will work full-time at the yard and attend college on a day-release basis.

Owner Peter Quigley says they will need to be prepared for hard work, adding: “This isn’t a job for the faint hearted. It’s cold and involves working outside in all weathers. They’ve got to really want this for a career.

“We are working with NEAC to find young people who have a passion for horses and a strong work ethic. The candidates need to be hardy characters.

“They will be mucking out, turning out and bringing in livery horses from grazing, assisting the farrier, dentist or vet and learning all aspects of care and grooming.

“But there will be a great return for their efforts. As well as a good wage, they will get two years training, a solid grounding from us in all aspects of caring for horses.

“They will be given the means to progress in the industry. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the right person.”

The British Horse Society approved centre is run by Peter and his 30-year-old daughter Danielle from a farm located near Craghead and Chester le Street.

The centre provides a full range of services for horses and riders from livery and grooming to riding lessons, tack cleaning and laundry services.

The apprentices will also be expected to learn and maintain high levels of customer service already offered at Holmside.

NEAC aims to create over 1000 new apprentice jobs in the North East over the next few years. Almost 150 companies have signed up with the NEAC since it was launched and more than 400 potential apprentices have registered for placements.

As well as handling the recruitment and selection of young people for apprentice placements NEAC provides an HR function for its candidates and delivers their training through locally-based providers.

Managing director Paul Champion is backing the Journal’s campaign and wants to secure the fiftieth apprentice – and the right people for this interesting position – as soon as possible.

“We are pleased to being working with Holmside as this opportunity reflects the interesting and diverse range of apprenticeships open to young people these days.

“We now have more apprentices than ever signed up. It means we have an even bigger talent pool to draw on to find employers the right apprentice with the right skills for their workforce.

“We can also support employers across a range of sectors with administrative services which make it easy and beneficial for companies to use apprentices.”

Email or call 0191 490 2453 for more information.

Photo caption: The NEAC’s Lucy Marshall with Peter Quigley, who’s looking for apprentices to work at his riding school.

NEAC in the News

NEAC going green…

Paul Champion
North East Apprenticeship Company

Tel: 0191 4902453
Mobile: 07540 704920
Fax: 0191 5800218
Twitter: NEACltd

Mission Employment

We are looking for a group of young hopefuls to compete for an opportunity to gain a business administration apprenticeship level 2 with local employers.

This 6-week programme will enhance your skills to help you get hired. Working in a team, you will be able to win points for each weekly task you complete successfully.

To be eligible, you must live in Gateshead and be unwaged or unemployed. You must be committed to attend for the full 6 weeks and ready to learn new skills.

Your travel expenses will be paid for the duration of the 6-week programme.

Give us a hand Employers

The article below was on Sky News Online on Friday 4th March. Its talks about young people not being employebale and suggests that business should be involved in eductaion to ensure that young people have the skills to better suite the needs of employers.

It is very clear that young people need the help of employers, but also employers need the help of young people who are keen and capable ,to enable employers in meeting the future skill requirements of their businesses.

NEAC is passionate about ensuring young people get a fair chance in the job market via apprenticeships, so why not, as an employer, share the responsibility of our young people and their skills.

Tel: 0191 4902453


Young People ‘Lack Skills Needed For Jobs’

Mona Moussly, Sky News Online

Young people are less employable than they were 10 years ago because of a lack of skills due to poor education, a survey suggests.

The poll, by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), said 76% of executives agreed that failures in the education system were fuelling a skills crisis that was damaging the economy.

A high number of employers said they had encountered problems with young people’s discipline and punctuality (61%), workplace skills (63%) and attitude and ambition (66%).

Of the 600 managers surveyed,47% agreed that business involvement in the education process would improve the employability of young people.

But, when asked, fewer than half of them said they were currently working with a school in order to do so.

Ruth Spellman, chief executive of the CMI, said bad management was a serious issue in the UK with only one in five bosses professionally trained to be managers.

“The cycle has to be broken and the only way to do so is for schools and employers to work together.

“This is how students will learn to lead and the UK can develop the leadership skills needed to make Britain competitive.”

The Tomorrow’s Leaders survey was released to mark the launch of Campus CMI – a programme developed with employers to improve the management skills of young people.

The youngster’s champion

Paul Champion, North East Apprenticeship Company, Managing Director

AS an apprentice Paul Champion’s dream was to have a job where he carried a briefcase. Now he has a job encouraging youngsters to also aim for the top, as Christopher Knox discovers.

THE North East Apprenticeship Company (NEAC) was set up last year to help cut youth unemployment and combat the region’s skills shortage.

It organises and oversees the placement, mentoring and training of apprentices, which it then supports for a small administration cost on top of the apprentices salary.

Launched by Gateshead Council and Gateshead College as an arms length organisation, NEAC received £25,000 in seed funding, as well as £540,000 from the Learning and Skills Council.

After a successful first year – NEAC now helps to create around five apprenticeship placements per week – the firm is to become a self-funding business which generates funding from deals with training bodies and employers.

The firm is working flat out to help service the increased demand for apprentices following the Government’s increased commitment to the cause.

While the Government has significantly reduced it spending in many areas, its determination to invest in workplace training is underlined by its pledge to increase funding for apprenticeships by 50% – a move which is expected to result in the recruitment of 75,000 new apprentices by 2014.

There is also expected to be a greater emphasis on adult apprenticeships following a £605m investment, which is aimed at bridging the skills gap in areas such as manufacturing.

As the managing director of NEAC Paul Champion’s job to ensure that his organisation remains at the forefront of the apprenticeship programme and that it is meeting the needs of potential apprentices, employers and training providers.

The task is particularly pertinent to Champion after he completed his own apprenticeship as a moulder and coremaker at Charles Taylor and Sons Iron Foundry in South Shields back in 1980.

He said: “My first job was as an apprentice at an iron foundry in South Shields at the age of 18.

“There were these old guys working there that had at been with the company for about 30 to 40 years, but they were all willing to take time out to show me the ropes.

“I mean, I got the odd joke played on me, such as being sent out for long weights and a double-edged wedge, but it was all in good spirit.

“I remember leaving school on the Friday and starting work on the Monday, it was certainly a steep learning curve, but a great introduction to working life.”

Growing up in one of South Shields’ less-than-affluent areas, Champion was introduced to the importance of work at an early age, a lesson that would help him get ahead during his apprenticeship.

“My mother and father split up when I was young, so I spent much of my time at my grandparent’s house,” he said “My grandfather was a labourer on the docks, while my nanna was a toilet cleaner.

“They both provided me with a really strong work ethic and the belief that I would be able to make my way in the world with the help of good old-fashioned hard work.

“You had to have that belief working at Charles Taylor’s, as the place was less than safe or hygienic.

“I remember that we used to wash our hands before lunchtime in something called the bosh, which was basically a tank full of dirty water, which probably had rats running through it.

“Then we’d sit amongst the squalor to have our lunch. There was a canteen but we would rather eat where we worked.

“Although I was much younger than everybody there, I nevertheless felt part of a team, which was really important to me.

“Growing up I had been part of rugby and football teams, so working with others was vital to me.

“I was never that academically gifted, so being able to work in a group and pass around different ideas was the only way I knew how to get things done.”

It was during this time that Champion began to appreciate the value of mentoring and support, particularly during times of hardship.

He said: “The early 1980s recession saw the factory’s workforce shrink considerably. However, I was still supported through my training by the managing director of the firm, who actually paid me out of his own pocket, despite being worried about the short-term future of the business.

“It was during this time that I started to have an appreciation for the bigger picture. If we didn’t have enough work coming in then people couldn’t get paid.

“It was a harsh lesson for someone so young, but one that certainly helped to give me have a strong sense of perspective.”

With a lack of work at the foundry, Champion found himself faced with a number of training opportunities, and underwent a secondment within the firm’s technical management team.

However, his choice of role was very much dependant on one thing.

He said: “To me, it was always important to have a briefcase. I remember my dad having one in his room when I was really young. I used to look at it and think to myself, ‘I’ll be using that when I’m older’.

“When I was given the opportunity to experience a management role I jumped at the chance as I knew it would let me carry around a briefcase without looking daft.

“I mainly used it to carry around my sandwiches and the odd bottle of milk, but I still felt as though I had made it.”

With more and more of the firm’s market being passed over to areas such as India and Brazil and ongoing uncertainty at the foundry, Champion left to start up his own printing company, which made business cards and party invitations.

At the same time, he launched his own personal training and coaching business, which would eventually fund his studies at South Tyneside College and allow him to study the GCSEs that passed him by as a result of his early introduction to working life.

On completion of his studies he managed to secure a job as sports development officer at Gateshead Council, which then allowed him to complete a spots studies degree at Northumbria University.

He said: “During my time at Gateshead Council I organised the summer sports schools, recruited staff, booked coaches and facilities.

“I then moved on to seeking funding through the Single Regeneration Budget and developing and managing the Sports Development Outreach Programme across Gateshead.

“It was great to be inspiring so many people through sport, as it was something I was passionate about.”

AS an apprentice Paul Champion’s dream was to have a job where he carried a briefcase. Now he has a job encouraging youngsters to also aim for the top, as Christopher Knox discovers.

With a number of the council’s sports contracts coming to an end, Champion successfully applied for a regional manager position at crime reduction charity Nacro.

The charity works with some the most disadvantaged people, offenders and those at risk of offending, to help them find positive alternatives to crime and to achieve their full potential in society.

Champion said: “The work that Nacro did in the North East was all about building up respect among these young offenders.

“Although young people get a hard time in this country, the fact is that most don’t want to re-offend.

“Back then, many of the people that worked for Nacro would have been known as ‘hard men’, now they are probably known as community leaders.

“The youngsters looked up to these people and it was through their guidance that we tried to foster a sense of respect and pride in their community.

“Some of the youngsters went on to pursue careers as lifeguards or personal trainers, which was really satisfying for me in light of their troubled backgrounds.”

With a determination to continue improving the prospects of underprivileged people in the region, Champion then took on the role of director at North East firm B-Skill, which works with employers to provide training for their existing staff, particularly in lesser paid roles such as cleaning and manual handling.

Champion said: “At B-Skill, we built up from a small business to one that was providing training on a national business.

“Most of the time we were working with people who had left school 30 or 40 years ago and didn’t have a qualification to speak of but needed to find training because of changes to their role.

“It was really satisfying to be able to improve the skills of these people, who, like me, had by-passed the education system at an early age.”

Now at NEAC, Champion is determined to use the apprenticeship programme to provide job opportunities for youngsters in the region who, as a result of the economic downturn, face an uphill struggle in the search for work.

He said: “We thought we’d be quiet leading up to Christmas but were been really busy, and continue to be.

“Employers in the region seem to be backing apprenticeships as a way of solving their own recruitment problems as well as helping to support the next generation of workers.”

NEAC is also throwing its weight behind The Journal’s 100 Apprentices in 100 Days Campaign, which has already succeeded in helping to find positions for over 260 apprentices, with the new target now raised to 500 in 100 Days.

Champion said: “The campaign has already proven hugely successful and we would urge other employers to consider whether they could benefit from an apprentice.

“We have a long way to go to where we need to be in terms of the number of apprentices we have in this country, but we are determined to help the programme reach its full potential.”


What car do you drive?
Smart 42

What’s your favourite restaurant?
Raval on Gateshead Quays

Who or what makes you laugh?
Michael Mcintyre

What’s your favourite book?
Learning to Labour – Paul Willis

What’s your favourite film?
Dude, Where’s My Car

What was the last album you bought?
The Streets – Computers and Blues

What’s your ideal job, other than your current one?
An explorer

If you had a talking parrot, what’s the first thing you’d teach it to say?
Get up now or you’re going to be late

What’s your greatest fear?
Failure to provide for the next generation

What’s the best piece of business advice you have ever received?
Find good business partners

Worst business advice?
Don’t worry about it

What’s your poison?

What newspaper do you read, other than The Journal?
The Guardian

How much was your first pay packet and what was it for?
£33.15 as an apprentice at an iron foundry

How do you keep fit?
Visiting the gym

What’s your most irritating habit?
Getting frustrated

Which historical or fictional character do you most admire?
Ernest Shackleton

And which four famous people would you most like to dine with?
Johnny Wilkinson, Stephen Fry, Steve Jobs, Ranulph Fiennes

How would you like to be remembered?
For ensuring that young people have a chance, and sometimes a second chance to find their place. And promoting the concept that all of society has a shared responsibility for this.


North East Apprenticeship Company, February 2010 – present
Managing Director

B-Skill, 2001 – February 2010

Nacro 1999-2001
Regional manager

Gateshead Council, 1994-1999
Sports development officer

Printing Co., 1989-1994

Charles Taylor and Sons, 1980-1989
Apprentice moulder/coremaker

Systems Manager

Northumbria University 1998-2000
Loughborough University 1996-1998
South Tyneside College 1992-1996
Mortimer Comprehensive (South Shields) 1970-1980