From education to employment



On Monday 17 June, staff, students and employers gathered at Keele University for the Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group’s (NSCG) annual Celebration Awards.

Almost 40 awards were presented for outstanding achievements in a number of areas, including academic and creative studies, vocational studies, skills and technology subjects, apprenticeships and for employer recognition.

The event was attended by the award winners and their families, lecturers, governors, partner employers and special guest Professor Trevor McMillan OBE, Vice-Chancellor of Keele University.

The Celebration Awards are a key event in the NSCG calendar and provides staff and students with the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the successes of the past academic year.

The evening began with an incredible performance by Musical Theatre student, Keiron Bronti, who sang a cover of Frank Sinatra’s ‘That’s Life’. This was followed by an introduction to the evening’s proceedings by Principal and Chief Executive of NSCG, Craig Hodgson who welcomed guests to the event.

During the event, the award winners’ outstanding achievements were highlighted, detailing why they had been nominated for their category.

Within the Academic and Creative category, A Level student Sam Pye received the Honours Programme award for his outstanding academic ability and commitment to learning. The Honours Programme is an additional pathway for students whose aspirations are to progress onto highly competitive courses at top universities. Sam has been predicted 5 A* grades and has been offered a place at the University of Cambridge to study Natural Sciences.

The Creative Arts Award went to BTEC Photography and Digital Imaging student Maddie Martin, who has shown outstanding creativity and support for her peers during her time at NSCG. Maddie has also raised hundreds of pounds for Dogs Trust by hosting a charity photoshoot at the college. Maddie has secured a photography apprenticeship at Rolls Royce where she will continue her studies.

Erin Knock, who joined Newcastle College from Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy, won the Health and Social Care Award for her dedication and passion towards her future goals. Erin is working towards a career in midwifery and was praised for her confidence and maturity throughout her studies.

BTEC Sport student Theo Nkrumah-Adom received the Sports Volunteer of the Year award for his contribution to the boys’ basketball team and his commitment to developing basketball training sessions to encourage others into the sport. Theo has served as the Sports and Activities Officer within the Students’ Union this academic year and has made a real impact on his peers’ experience of college life.

Guests were then treated to a further performance from Musical Theatre student Heidi Roper, who wowed the audience by singing ‘Maybe This Time’, from the musical Cabaret.

The evening wrapped up by awarding the prestigious Principal’s Award, which goes to two students, one studying an academic pathway and one studying a vocational pathway.

The Principal’s Award (academic) winner was James Dixon, who studied A Levels in Maths and Physics and BTEC Engineering. In September 2023, James was diagnosed with Stage 3(S) Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, requiring immediate and intense treatment. Despite the debilitating effects of chemotherapy, which led to several emergency hospital admissions and severe reactions causing intense pain, James remained committed to his studies. James is now aiming to study Engineering at university.

The vocational Principal’s Award went to Sharon Owusu, who studied BTEC Health and Social Care. Sharon joined NSCG after being born in Italy and raised in a rural Ghanaian village. Since then he has achieved consistent high grades, a 100% attendance record and has led the Students Union as President. Sharon’s hard work has seen him secure a place to study Biomedical Science at Keele University.

Craig Hodgson, Principal and Chief Executive at NSCG Stafford College, said:

“The Celebration Awards have become an iconic evening for everyone at NSCG, each year I’m blown away by the stories of achievement and it brings me such pride to be able to celebrate the incredible successes of our students, apprentices and employers.

“I would like to thank Keele University for being our headline sponsor, our guests and the team at Keele University for their support throughout the evening.

“I’d like to extend my thanks to all our other sponsors and award presenters for their time and generosity.

“Finally, I would also like to acknowledge NSCG’s talented and dedicated staff who work so hard to create a safe, supportive and nurturing environment for our learners, ensuring they leave us ready to progress and confident in their next steps.”

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