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, 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.

Nicola McKegney, Assistant Principal - Business Development

Nicola joined Derwentside College in 2017 having over 8 years of experience within Education and Training.  Nicola's background has seen her work across both the public and private sector, advising and supporting employers to maximise on their training potential. 

Nicola's passion lies in apprenticeships and she works with large employers across the region to transform businesses by offering a range of recruitment and training solutions. 

Nicola is focused on the consistent delivery of quality service and excellence and this is supported by the wealth of knowledge she has gained whilst in her role in funding, delivery and operational practices within the Business Development Team.

Alex Muir, Assistant Principal - Adult Learning

Alex joined Derwentside College in 2019 having worked in business development roles in the further education sector since leaving university in 2009. 

Alex has worked across awarding bodies, membership organisations and private training providers, successfully negotiating strategic partnerships for skills delivery using a range of funding streams.

With a particular focus on the Adult Education Budget, Alex works in partnership with employers, Jobcentre Plus and other stakeholders to provide opportunities for unemployed people to move into sustainable, meaningful employment.

Stephanie Nicholson, Business Development Manager

Stephanie has extensive knowledge of the Education and Training sector and has worked at Derwentside College since 1997. 

Stephanie has a wide knowledge of a number of vocational areas.  Stephanie works primarily with a number of large Public Sector employers including the NHS. 

Stephanie works to recruit new apprentices, whilst identifying training opportunities for existing staff to enable the use of Apprenticeships and training to strengthen the employer’s workforce.

Ange Davenport, Business Development Manager

Ange Davenport, an experienced professional in Education and Training, joined Derwentside College as the Business Development Manager in November 2023.

With over 20 years of Senior Management positions in the private sector, Ange brings a wealth of expertise in successfully managing and expanding various funding streams, leading and managing several satellite academies across the North East.

Ange's strategic approach and focus is employer engagement and growth.  She is passionate about transforming businesses through funded pathways, ensuring quality and progression.  With her strong leadership skills, Ange is confident in her ability to drive growth and success.

Paula Bruntlett, Senior Business Development Consultant

Paula has been at Derwentside College since 2008 and has a wide knowledge of the Education and Training Sector with experience in a number of vocational areas.

Paula’s primary responsibility within the Business Development Team is working within the care sector, having developed strategic partnerships with many different care companies which have been extremely beneficial to their business.  This includes all aspects of care from complex needs, residential care and homecare care.

Paula works closely with employers to help with practical solutions to upskill the care workforce by creating strong and lasting relationships through offering exemplary levels of customer service.


Julia Atkinson, Senior Business Development Consultant

As an Early Years Practitioner, Julia joined Derwentside College in 2016 with 15 years experience in Further and Higher Education, having taught and assessed students of all ages. 

Julia’s background in Early Years helps her recognise the challenges and identify the support employers need for staff working in childcare settings. 

Working across all areas of childcare, from nursery schools to educational establishments, Julia forges successful partnerships with local authorities’ children’s services teams on behalf of Derwentside College

Carol Makepeace, Senior Business Development Consultant

Carol joined the team at Derwentside College in March 2024 as a Senior Business Development Consultant.  With a background in Sales, Business Development and Territory Management across a variety of industry sectors including publishing, manufacturing, membership organisations, and events. 

Carol is passionate about working with employers to upskill and transform businesses through funded training routes.  With a focus on Adult Education, and recruitment, Carol partners and engages with a variety of businesses across the region.


Laurren Cooper, Business Development Consultant

Laurren joined Derwentswide College in November 2023 as a Business Development Consultant. 

Laurren’s background is in Sales and Marketing in a wide range of different sectors from software development, dentistry and within the fitness industry ensuring they successfully grow.  Working with clients and businesses, providing the most suitable product for them, as well as account management and marketing within these different sectors.

Laurren is account managing existing clients within the Engineering and PBS sectors, along side building a rapport, as well as a focus on engaging with new businesses and creating excellent customer service.

Nadine Ellis, Business Development Consultant

Nadine Joined Derwentside College in October 2023 having worked in other Business Development roles within the construction and education sectors.  Nadine has experience of various funding streams including Apprenticeships, Adult Education Budget and Digital Bootcamps giving her the knowledge and transferable skills required for her new role. 

Nadine was looking for her next challenge when she joined the Business Development Team at Derwentside College and is keen to support employers with their training needs.  Nadine is focussed on engaging with new employers and managing existing relationships within the Construction Sector.

Will Purvis, Business Development Consultant

Will joined the team at Derwentside College in April 2024 after spending the last four years working within welfare to work employability programmes supporting individuals across Tees Valley with securing employment and upskilling with adult education courses. 

He also networked closely with employers to support with their recruitment needs and upskilling work forces.

Will also spent 2 years living 'Down Under' in Australia, working for a non-for-profit charity organisation raising awareness for domestic violence for woman and children. 

Laura Dale, Business Development Consultant

Laura joined Derwentside college in June 2024, after working 8 years at a national independent training provider.  Laura's background is hospitality and following this, ventured into the world of learning and development.  She started her role as a trainer accessor, focusing on Hospitality and Management NVQs and Apprenticeships.

After 2 years as a training accessor, Laura moved into the role of business development, here she support businesses with workforce development, understanding apprenticeships, and the funding guidelines.  She has worked with a variety of organisations and has development commercial and bespoke training needs for employers. 

Laura is very keen to develop our client base, and to continue our high level of customer service with existing clients. 

Bethany Kemp, Lead Recruitment Officer

Bethany joined Derwentside College in 2019 as an apprentice, having previously worked within the NHS after qualifying as a Podiatrist.  Bethany decided to have a change of career and found that an apprenticeship was the best route to achieve a recognised qualification and be able to gain experience within a different sector of work.

Bethany’s role is to support the recruitment of apprentices across all occupational areas by working with both apprentices and companies to ensure all vacancy requirements are fulfilled.  Bethany helps support with the Adult Education Programmes, communicating with applicants and working in partnership with JCP.  Bethany deals with a large volume of applications and enquiries on a daily basis.

Pauline Harris, Recruitment Officer

Pauline joined Derwentside College in 2023 as a Recruitment Officer having previously worked in the Leisure Industry in a Customer Service and Receptionist role.  Pauline decided to have a change of career and felt recruitment was a new and challenging sector where she could develop and build her existing skills.

Pauline’s role is to support the Lead Recruitment Officer working with both apprentices and companies to ensure all vacancy requirements are fulfilled and provide support with the Adult Education Programmes, communicating with applicants and working in partnership with JCP. 

Aimee Whitton, Recruitment/Administration Officer

Aimee joined Derwentside College in 2023 as a Recruitment Officer after completing her Business Administration Level 3 Apprenticeship through Derwentside College, leading to a career as a medical receptionist within the NHS.
Having experienced the apprenticeship process, Aimee found this the best route to achieve a recognised qualification and gain experience.  This journey has inspired Aimee to work within the recruitment sector to help support those wanting to explore this vocation.
Aimee’s role is to support the Lead Recruitment Officer, working with both apprentices and companies to ensure all vacancy requirements are fulfilled, along with providing support with the Adult Education Programmes, communicating with applicants and working in partnership with JCP