Education Training Collective rated Ofsted ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding’ features

High praise from Ofsted is another great result for the colleges, students and staff, that make up the Education Training Collective (Etc.).

In its first full inspection since the merger of Stockton Riverside College and Redcar and Cleveland College, the group, which also includes Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training and The Skills Academy (Billingham), has been rated ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding’ features.

Ofsted principals 2022

The report, published today, describes a college group where students are “very proud to study” and they benefit from “a strong culture of positive respect”.

Group principal and chief executive, Phil Cook, said: “As a group our aim, above all else, is to provide high quality local colleges for local people. Gaining outstanding for leadership and management is a fantastic accolade for the group, but also and importantly for those stakeholders we work with; you do not achieve outstanding without excellent partnerships that have a direct impact on our students learning.”

The college group was also rated ‘Outstanding’ for behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and education programmes for young people, and rated ‘Good’ in all other areas. Phil added: “It is reasonable for parents, stakeholders and our communities to assume our provision for young people is now outstanding, as that’s what Ofsted has said and that is brilliant news. For other aspects of our provision such as our apprenticeships and our work with adults and high needs students, Ofsted has commended us and again our communities can be assured that such services are judged as being really really good.”

It also marks a milestone for Redcar and Cleveland College. The college had previously received an inadequate rating before merger, but in the view of Ofsted has been “transformed” and is now considered “the college of first choice” for many young people living in the borough.

Preparing to hand over the reins later this year, after nine years leading the college group, Phil said: “To deliver the service our communities deserve takes hard work and determination, from our staff, leaders, governing body and, of course, our amazing students, not least as we faced the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic.

“That’s why it is fantastic to now see our incredible teams, across the group, and our partners, receive external recognition.”

Inspectors also recognised the support that learners, of all ages and abilities, receive and the enrichment programme that “helps them to develop their wider employability skills, confidence, and resilience.”

There was further praise for the curriculum, which is shaped to meet local economy and skill demands while, working with specialist providers, the group is able to offer a “niche provision” giving people access to local jobs that would normally be out of reach.

The report said: “Students and apprentices benefit from useful and relevant training in their local communities which meets the needs of employers and the priorities of the local enterprise partnership.”

This has resulted in exciting projects in the pipeline, further supporting their local communities, such as the addition of Redcar’s Clean Energy Education Hub, plans to extend facilities at NETA Training and developments at Bede.

Chairman of the Etc. governing board, Mark White OBE DL, said: “As a board of governors we welcome this Ofsted result which is testament to the commitment of all our teams and the work they do to deliver for our communities.”

Retiring in the summer after 27 years on the boards of the colleges that make up the Etc., culminating in his current role as chair, Mark added: “I am extremely proud to have been a part of this incredible group of colleges, of everything it has achieved and everything it will go on to achieve in the future.”

Work starts on £3.2m Clean Energy Education Hub

Construction of Redcar and Cleveland College’s Clean Energy Education Hub is underway in a move to help prepare people for future green jobs coming to the Tees Valley.

First spades in the ground on the site on Corporation Road mark the development of the £3.2m facility which will deliver the skills needed by employers in the clean energy and renewable sector, and also drive the ambitions of young people across the borough.

CEEH June 22

Redcar and Cleveland College principal, Jason Faulkner, said: “We have been bowled over by the level of support this initiative has generated, both across the region and nationally.”

Primarily funded by the Town Deal Fund, the hub will provide a practical learning environment that simulates real workspaces to service domestic and industrial markets.

The college is working with the Redcar Town Deal Board, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, the combined authority and industry leaders to ensure the hub is positioned to support the area’s emerging green economy.

Jason said: “Teesside and the Tees Valley is lining itself up to be a green cluster for global businesses leading the way in greener, cleaner ways of living and working. By working with leaders in the clean and renewable energy industry we will be able to ensure a training provision that responds to the real demands of the sector, not just in the short term but also in five, 10, 15 years’ time.”

Contractor Britcon has been appointed to deliver the project, a 1000 square metre new build which will link to the college’s existing building with its own access route. Doors are due to open to its first learners in January 2023.

With additional investment from the Education Training Collective and the Skills Development Fund, the hub will deliver training to school leavers and adult learners, as well as offering higher education, commercial, professional, and bespoke employer-led programmes.

The project has been further boosted by the commitment of a donation from bp to bring community engagement and further development to the hub, with a focus on raising awareness of the opportunities within the clean energy sector among local school children. The company has announced plans for three projects in the region: HyGreen Teesside, which will utilise green hydrogen, H2Teesside, which will produce blue hydrogen, and first-of-a-kind gas-fired power and carbon capture project NZT Power.

Masudur Rahman, bp’s social performance manager in the UK, said: “It’s great to see work starting on the Clean Energy Education Hub at Redcar and Cleveland College. We’re proud to support their efforts to inspire young people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and help equip them with the skills to pursue careers in the low carbon industry. Supporting the next generation energy innovators is an important part of our wider backing of Teesside helping to create a net zero future and nurturing the talent we will need to help get us there.”

Darren Winter is chair of the Redcar Town Deal Board, he said: “The Town Deal aims to make a positive difference to the lives of people in Redcar and the surrounding area. The hub is great news for all young people in the borough which is specially designed to equip them with the relevant skills needed in jobs now and in the future, especially in sectors in emerging technologies.”

Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, added: “The hub will provide a fantastic opportunity for residents to gain the skills which will lead to a well-paid and successful career in the industries of the future. Our borough will be at the heart of a green energy revolution, and we want all our residents to benefit from this.”

Describing Teesside as being “at the epicentre of the UK’s clean industrial future”, Jacob Young, Conservative MP for Redcar, said: “With everything from new hydrogen technology to the manufacturing of wind farm blades coming to Teesside, renewable energy is perhaps the most crucial link in that chain.

“What is more crucial still is that it is Teessiders who benefit from the high-quality, well-paid jobs being created in this exciting new sector. And so, I not only welcome, but applaud the creation of Redcar and Cleveland College’s £3.2m Clean Energy Education Hub.

“By providing Teessiders with the training programmes our new industry needs, we’re ensuring local people will become the primary beneficiaries of the UK’s green industrial revolution.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “I’m delighted to see spades in the ground on this exciting project. Schemes like these are helping to give current and future generations the best possible chance to take advantage of the opportunities we’re creating within the safer, cleaner and healthier industries of tomorrow.

“With the government and major global companies such as bp investing in Teesside, this centre will help support the sectors of the future that are central to my plan for jobs, a plan that is already creating good-quality, well-paid jobs for local workers.

“This is the latest in a long list of initiatives boosting our region’s clean energy credentials, building on our work to become the UK’s premier location for offshore wind and supporting projects like Net Zero Teesside which is developing the UK’s first decarbonised industrial cluster. Together these will supercharge plans for Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool to become a national powerhouse for clean energy.”

Nick Shepherd, managing director of Britcon, added: “We are delighted to be working in collaboration with Redcar and Cleveland College and all stakeholders to deliver this exciting green energy training building.

“We have a strong delivery pedigree within the North-east and our strategy is always to maximise the use of local suppliers and support employment and training opportunities. This project provides another fantastic opportunity to leave a real local legacy whilst supporting the important development of the clean energy sector.”

bp signs agreement to support green skills and education initiatives on Teesside

bp has today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Redcar & Cleveland College in Redcar, Teesside, to support the creation of a range of educational programmes to help equip people in Teesside with the green career skills needed for the future.

As part of the arrangement, bp will provide £50,000 in funding for the development of the new Clean Energy Education Hub at the College. The Hub will specialise in clean energy and renewable industry training for school leavers, apprentices and adult learners.

The college and bp will together seek to develop a careers pathway plan based on skills demand for the proposed projects in the region, which will include higher education, apprenticeships and professional courses. It will respond to employers’ needs through employer-led programmes, with the College drawing on bp’s expertise and network to bolster opportunities for those entering or re-joining the local workforce.

Louise Kingham, bp’s UK head of country and senior vice president of Europe, said: “bp is backing Teesside. It is perfectly placed to become a world-class, low carbon energy hub, creating thousands of jobs in the region. We are committed to social and community investment in Britain, and local partnerships, such as those we are announcing today, which will be crucial in turning our vision for the region into reality.”

Principal of Redcar and Cleveland College, Jason Faulkner said: “We welcome the commitment bp has made not just to Teesside and its potential to lead the charge in the development of the clean energy and renewable sector, but also to inspire and motivate our communities and young people ready for the green career opportunities ahead. Through our Clean Energy Education Hub we will be able to equip school leavers and adults, of all ages, with the skills and training to build high quality meaningful careers in the Tees Valley and having the support and expertise of employers such as bp is essential to that.”

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi added: “It is superb to see businesses like bp leading the way in helping to make sure that people have the skills they need for the green careers of the future.

“Employers working closely with communities in this way helps people get the training they need to get on in sought-after industries in their local area.”

Teesside is uniquely placed to become the heartland of the UK’s energy transition and the financial injection into education will help local people develop the skills needed to help transform Teesside into a green energy hub.

NZT Power, which is a joint venture with Equinor, and the H2Teesside projects have the potential to create significant economic value (£3.5 billion) and thousands of jobs in the region.

NZT Power could support more than 3,000 jobs during construction and over 1,000 jobs once operations begin. H2Teesside could also provide more than 600 operational jobs and another 1,200 construction jobs by 2027.

Through the partnership with the College, bp will also support the Hub’s programmes in educating primary, secondary and college students, helping to inspire young people across Teesside to pursue career opportunities in clean energy.

bp has also expanded its collaboration with the Skills Builder Partnership to support schools in Teesside in improving essential skills and supporting teachers in delivering these skills to their pupils. The programme brings together educators, employers and skills-building organisations around a shared approach to building the essential skills for success.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “With the pioneering Net Zero Teesside Power and its plans for innovative blue and green hydrogen projects, bp is fast becoming one of the biggest supporters of our region, bringing thousands of good-quality jobs. This new MOU shows how it’s going even further to support people into the cleaner, safer and healthier industries of the future, investing in our institutions and talent for years to come.”

bp will also support the University of York’s Centre for Industry Education Collaboration (CIEC) ‘Children Challenging Industry’ programme. Backing 22 primary schools – the aim of the initiative is for young people to experience science in an industrial context working with bp volunteers to see how scientific concepts are applied from classroom scenarios to real life.

Redcar and Cleveland College unveils plans for Clean Energy Education Hub

Redcar and Cleveland College has unveiled exciting plans for the development of its Clean Energy Education Hub.

The hub will be funded primarily by a £2.41m capital injection from the Town Deal Fund, a programme announced by the government supporting economic growth in towns across England, along with additional investment from the Education Training Collective.

Further financial support from the Skills Development Fund will provide a catalyst for the centre to progress its credentials and expertise, supporting the green revolution across the Tees Valley.

And, described by the Minister for Levelling Up, Neil O’Brien, as playing a “crucial role supporting the Tees Valley’s wider green economy”, the facility is on track for spades in the ground by early May.

Redcar and Cleveland College principal, Jason Faulkner, said: “These are exciting times for our region. The Tees Valley is at the forefront of developments in the clean and renewable energy sector.

“Now we want to make sure that the people who live here have the skills, knowledge and expertise to have the best possible chance of directly benefitting from the jobs being created on our doorstep.”

The hub has been further boosted by a donation from bp. It will support the development of the hub and community engagement to raise awareness of opportunities within the clean energy sector among local school children.

Louise Kingham CBE, bp’s UK head of country and senior vice president of Europe, said: “The Clean Energy Education Hub will help equip young people from across Teesside with the skills they need to develop careers in a range of industries that will lead the energy transition. Supporting the programme through our partnership with Redcar and Cleveland College is another sign of our commitment to the local economy and community. With its tightly-clustered heavy industry and proud industrial heritage, Teesside is the perfect place to showcase net zero and the talent we will need to get us there.”

Worth a total investment of almost £3.2m, the Clean Energy Education Hub will deliver training for careers in the clean and renewable energy industry.

Working in collaboration with Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and industry leading employers, such as RWE Sofia Windfarms and Northern Gas Networks, the college is ensuring the facility is built to meet real industry skill demands.

College principal Jason added: “Behavioural competence and soft skills are what employers seek in addition to formal qualifications. The Clean Energy Education Hub will provide a skills ready workforce for the future.”

Welcoming the plans, Councillor Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council said: “There is a huge opportunity for Redcar and Cleveland to be at the centre of the green energy industry in the future. The development of Teesworks brings the promise of thousands of high quality and well-paid jobs and it is vital that our residents are well prepared to take these opportunities. The Clean Energy Education Hub will provide high class training in the industries of the future and will mean young people in Redcar and Cleveland can receive the kind of training in their own borough which will thoroughly prepare them to move into work.

“We look forward to working with Redcar and Cleveland College to make the Clean Energy Education Hub a huge success.”

In January, a pre-launch event which outlined the strategic plans for the hub, held at Redcar and Cleveland College, saw guest speakers including bp’s senior vice president for Europe and head of country, UK, Louise Kingham CBE, Northern Gas Networks’ HR director Lindsey Filer, RWE Sofia Windfarm’s supply chain manager, Graham Wright, alongside, Mary Lanigan, sharing their views on the vast opportunities ahead for both employers and the local community.

The Clean Energy Education Hub will specialise in clean energy and renewable industry training for both domestic and industrial markets. Delivering training to school leavers, apprentices and adult learners, the hub’s offer will include higher education, commercial and professional courses, and will also respond to employers needs through bespoke employer-led programmes.

Jason said: “Linked to the college building, on Corporation Road, with its own access route and identity, the hub will be approximately 1000 square metres and will provide a practical learning environment which simulates real workspaces to service the domestic and industrial markets. Practising what we preach, the facility will be powered by solar panels and air source heat pump technology.”

Darren Winter, chair of the Redcar Town Deal Board, said of the project: “On behalf of the Town Deal Board, I am delighted funds from the Town Deal are supporting the build of the Clean Energy Education Hub and helping young people in their careers so quickly with a planned opening in early 2023.”

Minister for Levelling Up Neil O’Brien said: “It’s fantastic to see plans unveiled for Redcar and Cleveland College Clean Energy Education Hub.

“Supported by £2.41 million from the Government’s Town Fund, the hub will offer training and educational opportunities for local people in the clean energy sector.

“This will play a crucial role supporting Tees Valley’s wider green economy, which boasts one of the country’s first Freeports, leading the charge in the low carbon sector.”

Ofsted gets a virtual insight into life at Etc.

Staff and students at the Education Training Collective (Etc.) have been sharing an insight into college life with a virtual visit from Ofsted.

Phil Cook, Chief Executive and Group Principal

With routine Ofsted inspections suspended due to the pandemic, inspectors have been carrying out interim visits to help learners, parents, employers and government understand how providers are currently meeting the needs of learners and apprentices.

During the two-day Etc. visit, inspectors heard how the group, which incorporates Stockton Riverside College, Redcar and Cleveland College, Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training and The Skills Academy, has found ways to adapt to the changing circumstances, while ensuring welfare and safety remain a priority.

In a report published today, inspectors said: “Employers and other partner organisations are positive about senior leaders’ response to the challenges of the pandemic. They believe that relationships with college staff are at least as strong now as they were at the start of COVID 19 restrictions. Many partner organisations are optimistic about future collaboration to address local skills gaps.”

Inspectors met with Etc. leaders, managers, staff and learners from across the group in a series of online meetings. They heard how college leaders believed they had been able to “respond successfully to the challenges posed” and that the colleges had been “able to move swiftly into alternative ways of working, including online meetings and remote learning”.

As a result of those moves, student attendance and engagement has been positive, with staff feeding back that learners’ attendance at online sessions during the pandemic did not decline. Staff have gone on to develop their teaching practice to enable them to deliver remote learning sessions and identify when and where face-to-face learning is most essential.

Continuing to build on this new way of working, the report stated: “Teachers have adapted their timetables in response to the different demands of learners’ programmes.”

Chief Executive and Group Principal Phil Cook said: “We were happy to share with Ofsted our experiences of what has undoubtedly been an unprecedented period of challenge for all education providers.

“It is testament to the hard work and dedication of our whole team, including our students, to have inspectors recognise the enormous effort that has gone into ensuring learning has been disrupted as little as possible across the Etc. We have been amazed by the resilience and adaptability shown by all.”

Chairman of the Etc. Governing Board Mark White said: “The response of our leaders, staff and learners to the challenges COVID 19 has posed has been phenomenal. We are proud to see that the Ofsted report released today reflects this.”

Colleges explore innovative new ways to teach our students

Face-to-face learning may have temporarily been put on hold at colleges across the UK but that doesn’t mean that teaching has stopped.

Across Etc. we have been exploring innovative new ways to reach our students. And for those more practical subjects that involves being a bit more unconventional with our thinking.

Hair and Media Makeup student Karen and her family
Hair and Media Makeup student Karen and her family

“It’s meant a lot of changes,” said Stockton Riverside College’s musical theatre lecturer and creative director, Sara Durkin. “But we are already finding that our students are rising to the challenge.”

This week would have seen casting auditions at the college for their big summer show, Legally Blonde. But instead of letting all that preparation go to waste, students have been creating “self tape” auditions and sending them in remotely.

Sara said: “This is increasingly what would happen in industry and so it makes sense for our students to develop these skills.”

What’s more, with theatres having closed their doors, students have been able to make the most of specialist masterclasses posted online by some of the West End’s top performers.

Kelly Coupland
Kelly Coupland

Capturing evidence of their work through videos and pictures is rapidly becoming the norm for students. At Redcar and Cleveland College, programme area lead for sport, public services and the service industries, Kelly Coupland, said the work they are seeing is outstanding.

She said: “Both students and staff are being forced to think outside of the box and they aren’t letting us down.”

For subjects like beauty and hairdressing the answers to remote learning aren’t always obvious, particularly taking into account social distancing, but Kelly said it seems immediate family are rapidly becoming the focus of these learners’ attention.

Dormanstown mum-of-three and hair and media makeup student Karen, 36, has been practising the likes of body art and tanning on her daughters, while husband Lee got to model some makeup techniques and contouring.

She said: “The tutors at the College have been amazing, encouraging us to do what we can. At the moment it is about keeping our techniques fresh. In our house my college work has become more of an activity for all the family. My daughters are asking, what do we need to do today? And they are enjoying being involved.”

Sam Beel

For Redcar’s course leader for digital and IT, Sam Beel, it’s proven a time for her students to flex their technological know-how. Delivering and sharing presentations online, she said some learners are actually showing more confidence than ever.

She said: “Because they are at home in their own surroundings it’s like they are that bit more comfortable.”

As a teacher and staff governor, she said, it has been heartening to see the students so openly engage. She added: “It has really shown that they want to learn.”

That’s certainly the case for film production students at Stockton Riverside College who should have been out on location, shooting scenes for their final projects this week.

Student Conrad, 18, said: “It does feel quite surreal working from home but you have to keep in the mind-set that you are still in college and you’ve still got work to do.”

While shooting has been put on hold, he said there are new assignments and, of course, a whole new set of challenges to overcome.

Lecturer Kelly Fairhurst said: “All former plans have had to be set aside but that doesn’t mean that learning stops.”

In fact, lessons for students, and teachers alike, now automatically incorporate key skills such as adapting to change, overcoming challenges and finding a new approach.

Thankfully Kelly said: “We are all in it together and that makes the difference.”