Meet Steph Coleman – she’s the new face behind Northern Skills Group (NSG), the apprenticeship and training arm of Middlesbrough College, which offers training provision to thousands of businesses across Tees Valley to ensure the right skills are in place to open up opportunities for the area.
Steph is the new executive director of business and partnerships and steps into the role at the perfect time, with business and industry in Tees Valley on an upward trajectory with new projects and prospects coming thick and fast.
She sees her first task as getting out and about, chatting to businesses to let them know that no matter how big or small their training challenge NSG can help.
Steph moves from a similar role at Burnley College where her work saw the number of apprenticeships rise from 300 to 3,000 in under four years.
“We set up academies focusing on specialist training and looked at employer budgets, finding out if funding was available and if it was, how we could get it. I’ll be looking to do something similar at NSG,” said Steph.
“It doesn’t matter if it is a large company or a one-man band they still need the right skills. I’ll be finding out how we can assist them – looking at upskilling unemployed people and moving existing students up to the next level. It’s not one size fits all.
“Apprenticeships offer so much both to the apprentice, the employer and to the community. It can be challenging but because we have such a great offer you can see the end result which is what excites me about it.
“A lot of the training at Northern Skills Group is based in the college’s STEM Centre which is a fantastic facility and is ideal as engineering and construction are so firmly back on the horizon. We have 600 full-time students in those two areas alone where the majority are looking for an apprenticeship “We’ll also be looking at how we can support digital companies, which are part of a growing industry. It’s already big in the area but we anticipate significant growth over the coming years.”
Steph started her working life as a travel agent, moving to work for a training provider when she was made redundant after the firm was taken over.
She worked for North Lancs Training Group for seven years before taking up the role of business solutions manager at Burnley College for four years.
Now at NSG, Steph has had a whirlwind introduction to the area, networking and talking to businesses and says, so far, it’s been very positive and welcoming.
“I’d never been to Middlesbrough before I applied for this role and more than anything I’ve been pleasantly surprised.
“I can genuinely say I’ve never been to a friendlier place. Wherever I’ve been – meeting businesses, getting to grips with the area or networking – people have offered to introduce me to contacts, show me round or take me for coffee,” she said.
Steph joins a passionate team at Northern Skills Group who already work with more than 2,000 employers across the region, helping them to meet commercial aims with skills.
“We deliver apprenticeships and employer-led training in subjects including engineering, accountancy, digital, leadership and management, customer service and manufacturing to name a few.
“All of our training is delivered by an expert team of tutors, all of whom have industry backgrounds.
“The training facilities on offer to leaners are outstanding, including or £20m STEM Training Centre, our Health and Care Ward and our dedicated digital hub, MC Digital,” Steph continued.
Steph is keen to meet with businesses across the region and find out what their training challenges are and how NSG can offer support. For an informal chat just contact Steph on 07920245878 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celebrating Ofsted success
There were celebrations when an Ofsted report rated Middlesbrough College as Good.
The college was praised for its positive culture, high grades, employment outcomes and strong curriculum.
And there was further recognition for its experienced staff, enthusiastic and positive students and well-equipped learning environments.
Students were described as “highly motivated” and “eager to learn” and value the support they receive from staff.
The report emphasised Middlesbrough College’s culture and environment, describing it as caring and supportive, welcoming and harmonious, and with an ethos of raising aspirations.
This builds on last year’s success securing the esteemed TEF Gold.