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Building homes and careers

15 Sep 2022
Matt Telling and Pete Donnelley with Becky Fisher

Building the right skills in a workforce is one of the most important ingredients for a business’s success.

And Middlesbrough College Group’s apprenticeship and training arm, Northern Skills, is the delivery partner of choice for employers across the region looking to build a pipeline of future talent.

Housing association and developer Thirteen Group recently partnered with Northern Skills to take its apprenticeship scheme to the next level.

The new partnership will see scores of young people build their dream career with the housing giant, which manages more than 35,000 homes in the North East and Yorkshire.

With the support of expert tutors at Middlesbrough College and sister company TTE, Northern Skills will deliver training to 30 new apprentices in technical areas as well as in housing, customer services and back-office functions.

Becky Fisher, learning and development service manager at Thirteen Group, said: “Apprentices have always played a fundamental role in our business, and we see real value in investing in our programme.

“We have some great success stories from our apprentices at Thirteen and we hope to build on this through our partnership with Northern Skills.

“We knew about Northern Skills’ reputation in the region and its extensive apprenticeship offering and enlisted its help to support our programme and safeguard the skills our business needs.”

All Northern Skills programmes are carried out in the workplace, meaning learners get proper hands-on experience, as well as online and in the specialist industry-leading training environments at Middlesbrough College – including its £20m STEM Centre and TTE’s world-class facilities.

Matt Telling is group director of business engagement and partnerships at Middlesbrough College Group, responsible for helping both employers and students take advantage of the opportunities available in the region.

Matt said: “Employers across the region come to us for apprentices who are workplace ready and can hit the ground running.

“This type of skill building – from the ground up – can really benefit businesses like Thirteen as it adapts training to the needs of the business and builds loyalty amongst young staff.

“Once its next cohort have begun their apprenticeships, our team of assessors and regional managers work in conjunction with managers to ensure their success.

“Apprentices are adaptive and responsive, soak up information like sponges and quickly become ingrained in a company’s culture.

“And the model works – you only need to look at the number of employers we work with who are led by former Middlesbrough College Group apprentices to see its impact.

“We can’t wait to see Thirteen’s apprenticeship scheme go from success to success and we’ll be there to support them every step of the way.”

Northern Skills works with more than 1,500 employers in the North East and Yorkshire to deliver more than 100 types of programmes.

With strong industry links, its experienced team have trained more than 2,200 apprentices, putting the College in a strong position to help shape the economic landscape of the region.

Middlesbrough College delivers in excess of 100 courses to thousands of learners every year across all levels, through Northern Skills and sister operation TTE, which supports local and international students’ journeys in the oil and gas, process, manufacturing and engineering sectors.

Matt is keen to meet with businesses and employers across the region to understand their needs and how Middlesbrough College Group and Northern Skills can offer support. For an informal chat, contact Matt on 01642 333902 or at

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