Meet the Team

Working in Partnership with you

Our dedicated team is here to help and advise employers about the wealth of training and development options that the College offers. We’ll come out to visit you wherever you are in the North and guide you through the options. From Apprenticeships and Traineeships, through to bespoke and specialist courses and qualifications. From student placements, to advising on the availability of our meeting rooms and other College facilities, we’re here to help.

Please call the Business Development Team on 01207 585914.

Lisa Waller, Head of Business Development

Lisa joined Derwentside College in May 2016 as Business Development Manager. With over 25 years’ experience working in Business Development including Training, Recruitment, Welfare to work and Travel and Tourism. 

Lisa has a wealth of experience in Project and Contract Management and managing government funded projects. Over the years Lisa has built up excellent links with employers, partner and schools.

Paula Bruntlett, Senior Business Development Consultant

Paula has developed a wide knowledge of the Education and Training sector since joining Derwentside College in 2008.  Paula has knowledge of all aspects of training delivered by the College.  Paula has particular expertise within the Care, Catering and Hospitality and Property Services sectors where she has built up excellent relationships with employers both in the recruitment of new apprentices and upskilling existing staff.  Paula also works closely with local schools to advise students about the opportunities that are available to them at Derwentside College through presentations and attending Careers Fairs.

Nicola McKegney, Senior Business Development Consultant

Nicola joined Derwentside College in August 2017 bringing with her over 4 years of experience within the training industry. Having worked as a Business Development Consultant previously Nicola has experience of working alongside local employers to identify training needs and skills gaps; using apprenticeships and training to strengthen local businesses. Nicola's role at Derwentside College will see her recruiting apprentices and offering training solutions in a number of different occupational areas including Manufacturing, Engineering, Warehousing and Business Administration. 

Stephanie Nicholson, Senior Business Development Consultant

Stephanie has extensive knowledge of the Education and Training sector and has worked at Derwentside College since 1997.  Stephanie has had experience of a number of vocational areas and can advise on all of the options available to employers.  Stephanie works primarily with a number of large employers assisting them to recruit new apprentices and identifying training opportunities for existing staff.  Stephanie also works closely with local schools to advise students about the opportunities that are available to them at Derwentside College through presentations and attending Careers Fairs.

Julia Atkinson, Business Development Consultant

Julia joined the college in September 2016 with over 12 years’ experience in Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE).  She has a background in Early Years Education she has taught and assessed in the FE sector.  Here at the college Julia is responsible for recruiting to Apprentice Programmes and engaging with employers across a number of occupational sectors and subject from Business, Childcare & Education, Hair and Beauty to Catering.  Julia also supports the Sector Based Work Academies (SBWA) and Employability Programmes linking with Employers to offer a range of Real Work Environment experiences to students.

Deborah Leighton, Business Development Consultant


Lee Stanford, Business Development Consultant

Lee joined the college in November 2016 bringing with him over 10 years of experience in business development/account management. Having worked in various industries, Lee brings a wide scope of knowledge to the team around what is required for businesses to grow and the unique challenges different businesses face. Lee has excellent experience in the IT & telecom, software, contact centre, housing and construction industries. In his role at Derwentside College, Lee is working with businesses in these sectors among others helping them to up-skill existing staff where there are skills gaps and recruit new apprentices in areas where they would benefit the business.

Gemma Yildirim, Apprenticeship Recruitment Officer