The move from automotive manufacturing to education might sound like a bit of a leap. But for the Education Training Collective’s new Group Director of Marketing, Erika Marshall, it has felt more of a natural progression.
After 15 years honing her skills in the dynamic world of manufacturing, engineering and construction marketing, she said: “I have come to realise that we have a moral obligation to help and support young people on their career journey.”
And given that her grandparents both worked in education – her grandma was head teacher at Normanby Primary School and her granddad a history teacher at the then Yarm Boys’ School – it sounds like it could be in the blood.
Now the latest addition to the Senior Management Team at the Education Training Collective (Etc.), Erika joins the college group as it undergoes a brand transformation, adopting a new shared corporate identity.
She said: “It has been a bit of a running start for me but with the launch of the new brand I feel I have already been able to make a strategic impact.”
Etc. incorporates Stockton Riverside College, Redcar and Cleveland College, Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training, The Skills Academy and the Tees Valley Logistics Academy.
The launch of the new overarching name cemented what has been a successful first year following the merger of Stockton Riverside College and Redcar and Cleveland College last summer.
Erika said: “Collectively the colleges have a great reputation among businesses and within their local communities, when you get inside you can see why. The passion and commitment of the staff, across all of the sites, is incredible.”
Joining Etc. from North-east car part manufacturer Nifco, where she spent five years as Marketing and Communications Manager, Erika’s marketing career has taken in roles across the Tees Valley in construction management consultancy, industrial engineering, oil and gas and the offshore wind industries.
“At Nifco I was massively exposed to working with young people, offering careers advice and being given various platforms on which I could share the story of my own career journey – it was largely this engagement with education that inspired me to become more professionally involved with the sector,” she said.
Driven to do more, Erika, who is also on the governing board of the Vision Academy Learning Trust, said: “I discovered a desire to give something back and to help support more young people. It was a determination to make a difference and if you want to have that strategic impact you have to really understand the fundamentals of it.”
Now taking that leap into the sector full time, she said the move into education is certainly a new challenge but it is something she has always had a strong interest in.
Passionate about the Tees Valley and all the opportunities it has to offer, she explained: “I want to highlight that the boroughs of Stockton-on-Tees and Redcar and Cleveland are great places to study. We should encourage our young people to really consider the wealth of opportunity that lies right on the doorstep.
“I want to make the Etc. member colleges the learning providers of choice in their local areas and to highlight the amazing experiences you can have when studying locally.”
She said: “It is an exciting time for Etc., it is growing year on year and we are seeing students progressing on to some fantastic destinations. It is an amazing time to be part of that positive story. I am excited to contribute to the next chapters.”
Etc.’s Chief Executive and Group Principal Phil Cook said: “I’m delighted to welcome Erika to the group. She brings to bear both high levels of marketing strategy and extensive local knowledge, it’s always great news to be able to recruit high performing local talent.”