Lee Pennington is a Level 2 and Level 3 teacher of Music Technology, Media Production and Games Design at Middlesbrough College. Before becoming a teacher, Lee worked as a Structural Steel Engineer after gaining an apprenticeship at 16. Although music had always been Lee’s passion.
Whilst working in the steel industry, Lee was also producing and recording music and at 22 Lee was signed to his first record label.
Lee then decided to take a leap of faith and leave his job in the steel industry to focus on pursuing his passion.
Lee said “I knew I always wanted to do music but I was doing well as a Structural Steel Engineer. I had bought my own house when I was only 21 so to leave my job and pursue music was a huge decision for me. It was definitely the right decision.”
After leaving his job as a Structural Steel Engineer, Lee hit the ground running with his music career and was signed to a host of record labels. He produced and released his own records and toured across the world, including a USA tour. In 2003 Lee also formed Riffraff, a music and techno events based company in Middlesbrough which is well-known internationally.
During this time Lee also began studying at Middlesbrough College on the Level 3 Music Technology programme. He then went on to complete a HND in Music Technology with the College. After finishing these qualifications, Lee progressed to study the Bachelor of Arts degree in Performance and Events Management at Middlesbrough College and graduated with first class honours.
Lee said “Middlesbrough College was a fantastic place to study. The teaching and support I received was excellent.”
After completing his University course with the College, Lee was offered a job to teach on the Music Technology course and enrolled on to his Certificate of Education: Education and Training qualification at Middlesbrough College. Lee has now been teaching at the College for 13 years.
Lee said “Middlesbrough College have been extremely supportive of my career and I love teaching and working here. It’s great to be able share my passion with young people, plus I’ve had the best of both worlds as I’ve been able to continue producing music and DJing.
“Riffraff is now run by myself and a group of former Middlesbrough College Music Technology students - it’s been fantastic to recruit home grown talent to this. I’ve made so many contacts in different venues across Teesside so students have a range of work experience placements available to them whilst they study. My students also have the opportunity to run Riffraff for an event as part of their programme to gain hands-on experience in the events industry.
“I now run my own record label as well as running Riffraff and working as part of the team for Zoo Project in Ibiza. My life is busy but I love it! In the summer months I fly out over the weekend to do a DJ set in Ibiza and I’m back in the classroom by Monday afternoon teaching- its brilliant.”