Taking our community higher

27 March 2019

Meet Rachel Gray – Head of Employability and Projects at Northern Skills Group, the apprenticeship and training arm of Middlesbrough College.

Rachel recently joined the team at Middlesbrough College with an aim to transform the training opportunities for the local community in Teesside.

Moving from a similar role at People Plus, Rachel manages a team of 11 who offer a range of support from course taught in the community to distance learning and sector based work academies. After working in the sector for over eight years Rachel saw the opportunity at the college and knew it was the perfect fit.  

“I started my career as a Nursery Manager and found I really enjoyed supporting students who came for a work placement with us, I loved nurturing their skills and helping them develop and that’s what initially got me into training.”

“I then took the jump and decided to work for a local training provider and support people back into employment. I learnt so much during that time and knew I had found my passion.”

Eight years on and in her current role at Middlesbrough College, Rachel is excited about what the future holds.

“I never get bored of seeing someone realise their full potential, even taking that first step coming into college is a huge achievement for some people and I can see it gives them a great sense of pride.”

 “I have lived in Middlesbrough all my life and know we have amazing talent here, it’s my job to ensure everyone has access to meaningful training and any barriers to learning are broken down.”

Led by Rachel, the Employability and Projects team focus on raising aspirations and improving the wellbeing of learners by providing courses that will help them find meaningful employment.

They work closely with a range of employers across Teesside to ensure people have the right skills they need for industry and do this by providing closely aligned training and job opportunities. Rachel and her team are providing Sector Based Work Academies in the sectors and skills required for the jobs needed for the local labour market, supporting the Tees Valley Combined Authority’s (TVCA) economic strategic plan to reduce the levels of unemployment in the region.

 “We have amazing facilities at the college for practical learning that is tailored for all levels.  We also now take our learning out into community centres and organise one to one sessions to help everyone access the learning they want. “

“We’ve had a great response so far from community centres but we are keen to speak to more and find out how we can provide support.”

Rachel’s team also offer support with developing maths and English skills, CV workshops, interview skills and tailored job search. As well as a diverse range of free distance learning programmes to provide accessible learning for everyone both employed and unemployed. 

If you would like to find out more about how Middlesbrough College’s Employability and Projects team can support you and your community, contact Rachel Gray on Rachel.Gray@northernskills.co.uk  or call 01642 333854.

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