Case Studies

Derwentside College is immensely proud of the achievements of its learners and the positive relationships it has developed with employers and organisations across the region. 

In this section, you will find a range of case studies that showcase our work, demonstrating why Derwentside College is the number one choice for learners and employers in the North East region.


A DERWENTSIDE College student is taking her beauty therapy skills to sea after securing a place on a luxury cruise liner.

Frances Boyle, 19 from Consett, will work in the spa on board a cruise ship, which will sail to exciting tropical destinations in the Bahamas and Caribbean.

After completing a level two diploma in Beauty Therapy at Derwentside College, Frances progressed on to the level three diploma in Body & Spa Therapy which provided her with the skills and experience required to join the prestigious Steiner Training Academy in London.

Steiner has operated spas and salons at sea for more than 50 years and employs more than 2,000 spa professionals each year.

The elite Steiner Training Academy recruits from all over the world including; the UK, Eastern and Western Europe, Asia, South Africa, Australia and the USA and works with prestigious cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Cunard, P&O and the Disney Cruise Line.

Frances said: I chose to study at Derwentside College because of it’s personalised and friendly approach to students. I felt happy there from the day I attended an open evening. As part of my level three diploma I secured a work placement at a local beauty salon, which later developed into a part-time job and really boosted my confidence and furthered my knowledge in the industry.

“I had always known that my long-term career plan was to work for Steiner so I could see the world while doing a job I love, so I was determined to succeed at the interview for the Steiner Academy.

“The interview process was extremely tough but I felt really well prepared due to the skills I’ve acquired at College and thanks to the fantastic support from my course leaders. I had to demonstrate my practical abilities, communication and presentation skills, as well as a genuine passion for the industry.

 “I was so thrilled to learn I had secured a place and would soon be leaving Consett to embark on my dream career.”

Nicola Scheel, course tutor for Beauty Therapy added: “Since Frances began studying at Derwentside College we’ve seen her develop into an outstanding young professional who has faced challenges head on. She has proved to be a very determined and focused individual.

The staff “were delighted to receive the phone call from Frances informing us of her interview success and are looking forward to seeing how her exciting career at sea develops.

“It’s fantastic that a company such as Steiner has recruited one of our students as they’re well-known for seeking hardworking, professional therapists who have the stamina to work long days.”


Photo: Frances Boyle

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Nineteen Engineering students from one class at Derwentside College are celebrating as they have all have landed jobs with some of the area’s top engineering companies.

After completing their first year of study, the Level 3 Mechanical Engineering students have all now progressed to Advanced Apprenticeships for companies including Greencroft Bottling, KC Engineering, Lamplas, Pinnacle Re-Tec and Bonds Cast Tech.

One of the students, Jake Walker, said: “I am delighted to have secured an Apprenticeship with Metaltech in Consett.  The course has been great - I’ve learnt so many things from my tutors and I’ve now had the opportunity to put all that theory into practice at work.  Metaltech have given me significant support by putting me on specialist training in the area of Metallurgy, alongside my programme at College.  I can’t wait to complete my Apprenticeship and become a proper Technician.”

Managing Director of Metaltech, Dr Graeme Forster said: “I was very impressed by the standard of students from Derwentside College. I chose Jake from all of the applicants because he demonstrated a real willingness to learn and progress within our business.  I’m grateful to the College for offering Jake the chance to educate and develop himself both academically and technically.  Jake has developed remarkably quickly to become a valuable addition to the workforce at Metaltech.  His dedication to detail and his ability to continually enhance his skills has to be applauded.”

Commenting on the students’ success, Karen Redhead, Principal and Chief Executive of Derwentside College said: “We are very proud to have enabled all of these talented young people to take up Advanced Engineering Apprenticeships with many of our local employers. Creating employment and training opportunities is central to our mission, but it is particularly gratifying to see a whole class of students moving into top quality Apprenticeship roles and I’d like to congratulate each and every one of them on their achievements.  Derwentside College is now one of the region’s biggest providers of Apprenticeships, not only in Engineering, but in a wide range of vocational areas.  Employers value our commitment to providing high quality training and assessment to ensure their apprentices succeed and progress within the organisation.”

Photo: Derwentside College Advanced Apprentices

Back Row L-R: Jamie Gibson, Jonathan Harrison, John Dawson, Joe Trotter, Adam Panting, Lewis Barnes, Liam Renwick, Ryan Readman

Middle Row L-R: Scott Woodhouse, Grant Trenerry, Jake Miller, Tom Adams, Neville Sterling, Lecturer in Engineering, Jake Walker, Bradley-Lee Chappell

Front Row L-R: Joe Blight, Ryan Keeler, Louis Wiborg, Angela Fleming, Business Development Officer Derwentside College, Stephen Harrison, Engineering and Technology Manager Derwentside College.


Engineering Students.jpg


The Grove Primary has established an excellent partnership with Derwentside college. The college has been critical in our implementation of an apprenticeship scheme in school. The college supported us with the writing of job descriptions and person specifications. The college also advertised the post for us and then conducted and initial short listing for us in order to save the school time. We are also very grateful to the support and advice that the college staff were able to provide us in terms of accessing funding and support so that we could support our apprentices as best we could. 

The employment of our ICT technician apprentice has possibly had the biggest impact in school. The amount of time that this member of staff has been able to save by troubleshooting ICT problems for staff members. Our ICT technician apprentice's subject knowledge is vastly greater than some staff so they have been able to take a lead supporting some of our less ICT literate members of staff. The ICT apprentice has also taken a lead role in the operation and management of our school website, which again has saved the school a lot of time and money. The use of our childcare and teaching assistant apprentices has also been invaluable in school. The school is now able to have more adults working with and supporting our children in school. Our apprentices have worked with children in all year groups and have supported all children including  children with Special educational needs. 

The college provided our apprentices with dedicated time in college to develop their subject knowledge and complete paperwork tasks. This ensured that the apprentices completed tasks and course based tasks. By completing these tasks at college it ensured that our apprentices could fully focus on their work while in school. 

Potential clients can contact us and meet our wonderful apprentices.

The Grove School 


Having a student from Dewentside College was like having another member in our team.

We were able to offer extra support to our children through delivering speech sessions in small groups, which was a great confidence boost for the children.   Our work load in Nursery has been reduced as we have an extra member of the team to share the workload and play an active part on our Nursery staff.

Our apprenticeship with a student from Dewentside College has been really successful as the student we received was mature, motivated and hardworking; she fitted in with our team from the word go and has a great relationship with our parents.

I would definitely recommend using the apprenticeship scheme with Dewentside College and hope to use it again in the future myself. 

Benfieldsifde School


Excellent relationship with the college, help and advice is only ever a phone call away, which allowed us to develop staff skills and take on new apprentices in a very speedy manner.  We now have a member of staff embarking on her level 5 Health and social care and a member of admin staff completing an ICT course. 

We have an excellent receptionist who will be employed full time from July 20th. Additionally, we have interviewed a level 3 apprentice who has secured a senior position within College.

We have 4 invaluable staff who are currently doing apprenticeships and hope to gain employment with us in the near

future.  We are currently interviewing people for apprenticeships commencing 24th August 2015.  The staff completing NVQ's have found the guidance and support very helpful.   You have so much to gain and nothing to lose.  The help, support and guidance given either verbally or in person during meetings is invaluable.   

Real Choice College

Kieron Taylor started at Derwentside College in 2012 and enrolled onto the Mechanical Engineering course.  After completing his first year Kieron realised that this was not the career for him and applied for the Professional Cookery Apprenticeship with ‘Taylor Shaw – Award winning Caterer’.

Keiron followed his passion for cooking and started a new career as an Apprentice Chef working at Consett Junior School and St Patricks RC School, gaining valuable skills whilst at working for Taylor Shaw and attending day release at Derwentside College.  

Taylor Shaw have been so impressed by his commitment to the training and development that after completion of his apprentice, they have offered Kieron a job as assistant cook with a permanent contract working 20 hours per week at St Patricks RC School in Consett.

Julie Berry (Cook/Trainer) said: “Keiron has been a pleasure to teach, he is a quick learner and I am pleased he enjoyed his training and look forward to continuing to work with him”.

Keiron said; “I love my job and I’m very pleased to be offered permanent employment”.

Taylor Shaw is a respected and fast-growing provider of specialist catering services into the education sector with over 20 years experience providing great food to primary schools, secondary schools and colleges.

Taylor Shaw have recently employed 2 more apprentice chefs through Derwentside College and look forward to enjoying the benefits of employing apprentices.

Kieron Taylor - Taylor Shaw