Publications: June 2019

Former apprentice returns to mentor new generation of apprentices

A County Durham woman who started her successful graphic design career at a Sunderland training centre, has returned 12 years later to be the teacher instead of the apprentice.

Rachael Towers, 29, from South Hetton, was just 16 when she studied for an apprenticeship at Springboard Sunderland Trust in Pallion. And after over a decade working in the design industry she has returned to her former training provider to teach the new generation of apprentices how it’s done.

Rachael saw the job for a digital print tutor at Springboard advertised on the internet and knew she had to apply because she still credits her apprenticeship for giving her the head start she needed to pursue her dream job and she wanted to give something back. She said:

“I told Springboard in my interview that I learned more on my apprenticeship about design than I did in my subsequent degree course. It’s true because you learn so much more when you’re doing it hands on and getting that real work experience.

“I wanted to give something back to new apprentices coming through because I’ve been there and done it and I want others to experience what I have.”

Springboard, which is a long standing member of professional body North East Learning Providers, offers apprenticeships and personalised study programmes in a variety of vocational areas.

Springboard’s Denise Wilson, said: “Not only was Rachael the best candidate for the job, she also brings something else to the role which is a complete understanding of what young people need to develop to be able to do well in the design industry.

“We not only focus on developing vocational skills at Springboard, but we also help our learners develop as people.

“It’s fantastic to have Rachael back.”

North East Learning Providers (NELP) is a confederation of training providers which deliver work based learning. NLP is a not for profit organisation. For more information and how to join go to

Annual Report – Increasing the Participation of Young People in Learning 2015/16

Dear Colleague,

Annual Report – Increasing the Participation of Young People in Learning 2015/16

Please find attached the Annual Participation Report for County Durham 2015-16.  This detailed report brings together a range of data from the past year, highlighting some of the trends and providing an overview of participation of young people in County Durham aged 16-18 against key indicators.

The report is intended to contribute to reviewing achievements and inform the future delivery of targeted services.

We hope you find the contents of this report informative in relation to our collective responsibilities for encouraging, assisting and supporting young people, in County Durham, to participate in education, employment or training.

We would welcome your views on the report, it’s content and presentation.  All feedback, both positive and negative, will be gratefully received to help us improve the intelligence and data we provide to partners.  Please forward any feedback or comments to

If you have any further queries on this or other reports produced by the Improving Progression Team, please contact us on 01325 375 984 or e-mail

Post 16 Participation Report June 2016

Dear Colleague,

Welcome to our new-look monthly report on participation of young people in County Durham.

In response to feedback and suggestions, we have revamped the summary participation report to provide key headline data together with some general information relating to the participation of young people in County Durham. Each issue will include different facts and figures and/or topical information with regular performance and benchmarking data.  This will assist the monitoring and reviewing of participation and inform targeted delivery of services.

This edition relates to the data correct at the end of June 2016, which is the most recent reliable data due to the fluctuations of destinations over the summer months as young people complete learning programmes and move on to new activities. As a result, the next monthly report will be produced from the October data (submitted to the Department for Education 10 working days after the end of the month) when young people have, or are progressing into new destinations. This will be circulated later in November when the national benchmarked data is available.

We welcome any feedback, comments or suggestions on this report. Please tell us what you think by e-mail to

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