Competition success for students

Karl Rathmell and Inspire students at Northumberland College's Kirkley Hall campus. Picture by Crest Photography
Karl Rathmell and Inspire students at Northumberland College's Kirkley Hall campus. Picture by Crest Photography

Three students from Northumberland College’s Higher National Foundation Inspire programme, which supports learners with special educational needs, have won a regional competition that celebrates independent living and employability skills.

Reece Pattison, Chloe Oxberry and Jack Malia, from the Kirkley Hall campus, were all named winners in their respective categories at the Natspec Inclusive Skills contest held in Durham.

Reece beat competitors from across the North East to be crowned winner in the Independent Living Skills category – advanced level – by demonstrating a very high standard of vocational skills.

Chloe achieved first place in the advanced level Employability Skills category having produced a creative and informative poster on how to conduct, and not conduct, yourself at an interview, whilst Jack was named winner in the same category at intermediate skills level.

Inspire course leader at Northumberland College, Karl Rathmell, said: “The competition recognises special achievements in various categories, including independent living and employability, and is a fantastic opportunity for students across the region to celebrate their own personal development on courses like the Inspire programme.

“For some, participating in events of this nature can be a little uncomfortable, however our staff were, as usual, exceptional in supporting and encouraging students to achieve individual success.

“Northumberland College fully engages with learners, regardless of age, to develop key vocational skills and overcome personal difficulties, and their hard work and dedication was 100 per cent recognised at the event.

“We’re very proud of each and every participant and would like to congratulate them all.”

The competition was organised in conjunction with Vocational Access and Durham College.

Other Northumberland College students who participated included Joshua Clark, Stephen Marshall, Jordan Turnbull, Holly Douglas, Sophie Findler, Ryan Powell and Jonathan Thompson – each received a certificate of participation.

Northumberland College offers a range of special educational needs courses delivered by highly-trained, specialist support staff including positive progression, independence, self-belief and employability.

The Inspire programme includes core elements such as health and safety, money management, teamwork and communication, and literacy and numeracy, as well as vocational elements including horticulture, performing arts, animal care, catering and enterprise projects.

For more information, call 01670 841200 or go to
Meanwhile, Northumberland College has received a silver accolade in the Government-backed Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) Awards for delivering high-quality teaching, learning and outcomes for its students.

Winners of the TEF Awards are selected by an independent panel of experts, comprising of students and academics, that draw on national data, as well as evidence submitted by each learning provider.