Northumberland College sets its sights on gold accolade

A group of college students are benefitting from a partnership with a leading national company.

Friday, 3rd May 2019, 7:40 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd May 2019, 7:41 pm
Level 2 Diploma in Plastering students with tutors David Hancock and Michael Anderson at Northumberland College in Ashington. Picture by Crest Photography.

The skills of more than 30 plastering students at Northumberland College are benefitting from industry materials and products donated by British Gypsum.

The college is one of 70 in the country involved in the Thistle Partnership, set up by British Gypsum, which helps students doing Level 1, 2 and 3 diploma in plastering.

The scheme has gold, silver and bronze categories, and the students at Northumberland College have achieved silver status.

David Hancock, course tutor, said: “We are over the moon to be working in partnership with British Gypsum.

“It represents all of the hard work being achieved by the students and staff at the college, and for the course to be recognised in this way is a real honour.

“The experience the students are gaining from using these materials in live projects is priceless for their development.

“We try to get the students involved with genuine assignments around the college and they also improve their plastering techniques by using the practice walls.

“These innovative skills will hopefully benefit the students in helping them to achieve their career goals and impress employers.”

He added: “Also, in September this year, we are introducing a new technical plastering diploma, which will closer meet industry needs and prepare our students to be job ready.”

Joss Walker, Level 2 student, said: “Every day is different studying on the plastering course as we learn the latest techniques and use new materials. The experience I’m picking up means that if someone asks me to plaster in a particular way, I’ll be able to know what methods to apply.”

For the team at Northumberland College to qualify for silver status they had to enter the ‘skillbuild’ competition, in which they came first in the last two regional heats; take part with enrichment activities at British Gypsum; enter the national Plasterer Awards; and be regular participants on the e-learning hub.

David Kehoe, national technical and training representative for British Gypsum, said: “British Gypsum is making a big difference in the construction industry by supporting students all over the UK who are involved in qualifications to become the next generation of plasterers.

“We want to encourage this learning and help to address the current skills gap within the construction industry by providing market leading and industry relevant training services and support.

“We are proud to work with Northumberland College and all of the partnership colleges by providing them with materials, educational literature and the support they require to give the plasterers of the future the best possible training.

“With the proper support and access to materials, young people can achieve great things in our industry. It’s a great achievement that Northumberland College has achieved silver status and we look forward to working closely with it throughout the year.”

For further information about the diploma in plastering Level 1, 2 and 3 courses at Northumberland College visit