About us

Our staff

To contact a member of staff please phone 01325 430 250 or email office@utcsouthdurham.org.

Senior Leadership Team

Tom Dower

Tom Dower

Principal

MA (Hons) PgDip, QTS, NPQH – Principal, Designated Safeguarding Lead and Teacher of Product Design

I graduated from Cambridge University in 1995 with a 2:1 in Engineering (MA Hons) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Science.  I then worked for ICI on Teesside for 5 years as a chartered mechanical engineer, project manager and manufacturing consultant.

I then joined Gemini Consulting based in London, leading organisational change projects for 4 years in industry, telecoms and retail for clients such as Corus, Railtrack, Vodafone and Boots.

In 2002, I trained to be a teacher with a PGCE at Goldsmith’s College in London and worked at an outstanding school in south London as Head of Design and Technology.  I moved home to Northumberland in 2005 and to Ashington High School, initially and Head of Department and then as a senior leader.  I led teaching & learning, safeguarding, curriculum/timetable development and drove a culture change across the school through significant improvements in behaviour, attendance and safety.  I also project managed the design phase of a £3.5m expansion to the school which was excellent preparation for my role in setting up the UTC.  I have acted as a leadership consultant with other schools, presented at national conferences and developed materials for the National College of School Leadership middle leadership programme and on-line modules.  I completed the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) in 2013.

With a background as an engineer, business consultant and school leader, the opportunity to lead the UTC combines all of my professional interests and passion for the development of young people and supporting businesses in the North East.  I now live in Durham with my wife and three boys, enjoy tennis, woodwork, and designing with my children.  I am also a governor at Aycliffe Village Primary School.

Jenny Trapp

Jenny Trapp

Deputy Principal

MSc, BA (Hons), QTLS – Deputy Principal, Teacher of ICT and Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

I have been working in education since 2000, specifically, with KS5 students over the past seven years.  As well as being in differing leadership roles, I teach IT and the Level 3 Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).  I have a BA (Hons) First Class degree from Northumbria University and an MSc in Educational Leadership from the University of Leicester.  I am a Fellow of the Education and Training Foundation as well as The College of Teachers and hold an Advanced Diploma in School Business Management from the National College of School Leadership.

I previously worked at Queen Elizabeth High School in Hexham, Northumberland, one of the top performing state schools in the NE region, where I was an Assistant Headteacher.  I have led pastoral teams, been a Designated Safeguarding Lead as well as being responsible for student attainment, progression and careers at both KS4 and KS5.  I have also been the UCAS coordinator in two previous schools.

Prior to my education career, I initially gained my commission in the RAF and qualified as an Air Traffic Controller Officer in 1991.  I was stationed / deployed in both the UK and overseas, where I safely controlled both military and civilian fixed-wing and rotary aircraft in UK and European airspace.  From my diverse military experiences and demands of this complex role, I developed my team-working and leadership skills as well as my clear, calm and honest communication style.

I transferred into civilian life and worked for the John Lewis Partnership for several years.  Firstly, as a fast-track graduate manager and then later as a training and recruitment manager being based in stores in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.  My insight into the recruitment practices of a successful national employer is extremely useful when working with secondary students getting ready for the world of work.

I have two teenage sons, so I completely appreciate the demands of supporting children (especially boys) through their GSCEs and Post-16 education and progression Post-18.  When not at work I enjoy gardening, circuit training and tracing my family history.

Jean Bell

Jean Bell

Business Manager

MBA, BSc (Hons) – UTC Business Manager

I am an experienced manager and leader having worked across the public and private sectors.  I have been lucky enough to always have challenge and independence in the roles I have undertaken.  After leaving sixth form and a brief spell working in a school for the deaf, I went self-employed at the age of 20 working in the retail and off-licence trade with my brother managing two shops and a warehouse.  After 9 years I had become a ‘jack of all trades and master of none’ so I decided to undertake my first degree in 1990 where I gained a BSc (Hons) in Business Quantitative Methods (Statistics, economics, accounting and business). 

I then spent 5 years working in the higher education sector at Teesside University where I developed a love of all things complex such as timetabling, MIS, cost benefit and statistical analysis and programme administration among others. Unusually I was able to move around many of the university departments and gained a valuable insight into the working of the organisation.

In 1999, I was head hunted to work for the Polar explorer Robert Swan OBE.  As part of a small team I worked on a project to remove one thousand tons of waste from a Russian research base in Antarctica, all sponsored by some of the largest companies in the world.  I managed Robert’s speaker agency and did the bookkeeping for his three companies. This was one of the most interesting jobs I have held, one minute talking to Jessica Schroder of Schroders bank trust or Bear Grylls and the next sending expedition crew to the company Yacht 2041 in the Antarctic (armed with a regular supply of Haribos for the Skipper!), or writing risk assessments for the Foreign Office before designing and sending a certificate to Vladimir Putin to present to Roberts friend a ‘Russian Hero’.

On leaving Mission Antarctica, I went into secondary education at Freebrough Specialist Engineering College.  This was a new merger of three village secondary schools and here I worked my way up to the Leadership team managing 89 support staff, having responsibility for finance, administration, IT, estates, data and exams.  I was involved in leading two school moves and one new build, working closely with the project team on specifying IT and telephony before planning the final move. 

In 2007, I left there to complete a Masters degree in Business Administration before starting a company delivering Education Consultancy.  By chance I heard an enthusiastic interview with Tom on the radio and decided to apply and commit myself to a new challenge at UTC South Durham.

Dan G new

Dan Glasbey

Faculty Director, Sciences

BSc (Hons) QTS – Faculty Director for Science Faculty, Teacher of Physics and Science and NQT supervisor

I graduated in 2001 with a Physics degree from the University of York and then with a PGDip in Computing from Napier University in 2004.  I have worked in both Finance and IT.  I started teacher training in 2005 and achieved a PGCE from the University of Nottingham in 2006.  I have been teaching ever since, with the exception of a year out to travel the world 2008-2009, during which I worked for three months in Sydney Australia.

In that time, I have worked in two Ofsted rating ‘Outstanding’ schools in North London, delivered exceptional results at both GCSE and A-Level, and been a Head of Physics, Student teacher-co-ordinator and a 2nd in Science.  I have delivered Building Learning Power and Literacy showcase lessons to visitors from across London and been rated Outstanding for my teaching on several occasions, most notably by 'Challenge Partners'.

I have also successfully completed an NPQML (National Professional Qualification for Middle Leaders) and the OTP (Outstanding Teacher Programme).

Jak Heslop

Jak Heslop

Faculty Director, Core and Inclusion

BSc (Hons) QTS – Faculty Director for Core Subjects, Teacher of Chemistry and Science and PSHE / SMSC Coordinator

I have been qualified as a teacher for 20 years, teaching GCSE Sciences and A Level Chemistry at a variety of schools across the North East.  Until moving to the UTC, I had been Head of Science at a local Ofsted Outstanding school for the previous 12 years.

I graduated from the University of Sheffield in 1992 with a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry and then moved on to do some post graduate research for the Ministry of Defence at Cranfield Institute of Technology.  I have strong links with the University of Durham and other County Durham schools developing the profile and up take of Physics Post-16, and encouraging girls to continue with their study of Science.

I also run here, as I have at a previous school, a group of students who promote the enjoyment of Science to primary school students, both in school and at public events.

Neil McGrath

Neil McGrath

Faculty Director, Engineering

BEd QTS – Faculty Director for Engineering Faculty

On completion of my secondary education, I started a four-year craft apprenticeship in Toolmaking.  This consisted of day-release, at what was then Darlington College of Technology, plus four days of training at work.  Over the next eight years, I continued this day-release training to complete my full craft apprenticeship qualification, plus an ONC and HNC in Engineering.  Over that period, I worked for a number of engineering companies- manufacturing photocopiers, manual and automated transmissions, televisions and superheaters for offshore companies.

I had by then, developed a real interest in learning, so to continue this I enrolled on a teaching degree and soon successfully completed a BEd at York University.  I returned to employment working locally in childcare for two years. This was within a secure unit working with some of the UKs most challenging children, working alongside psychiatrists and psychologists.  The knowledge I learnt there has been invaluable in my teaching career.

My teaching took another change in direction, working for two secondary schools in County Durham.  One enabled me to work with sixth-form students, both as a tutor and teacher of A level courses.  I also held the post of Subject Leader for Technology in one school for six years.  Promotion quickly followed to a larger school in Sunderland leading the Technology Faculty, delivering a wide range of GCSE courses.

The opportunity to work at the UTC was a massive attraction to me. It has enabled me to work with well-motivated students who have a real interest in engineering, maths and the sciences.  The work based skills and excellent education on offer, will give our students the perfect start to employment or further education.

Catherine Purvis-Mawson

Catherine Purvis-Mawson

Business Engagement Manager

MA, BA (Hons) – Business Engagement Manager

Working with young people has always been the focus of my career. I completed my Undergraduate Degree in English and History from Sunderland University in 2001 and went on to study a Post Graduate Certificate in Gender, Culture and Development in 2002, which allowed me to travel to the Canadian Arctic to study Inuit culture and settlements.

I was then successful gaining a job with an environmental charity, Groundwork North East who supported me to complete my qualifications in youth work. I worked in a number of areas across County Durham and Darlington supporting young people to develop their personal and social skills. 

After doing detached youth work for 6 years I then moved to working for Newcastle and Durham Universities on a public engagement project encouraging community and academic staff to co create research together that had the aspiration to create social change. During this time, I gained my Masters in Youth and Community work from Durham University.

Working with young people however was always my motivation, so moved to work in a secondary school in County Durham as their Enterprise and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Enrichment Manager in 2008. Here my role was about inspiring young people to enter into a STEM career. Developing relationships with business and industry to allow students to see what was available to them and gain access to a large variety of career opportunities was key to their personal development.

Here at the UTC, I am able to use all of my knowledge and skills of young people as well as my significant network of business and industry partners to allow our students to gain knowledge from an extensive variety of careers and people to ensure they have the best start to their futures.

Faculty of Sciences

Dan G new

Dan Glasbey

Faculty Director, Sciences

BSc (Hons) QTS – Faculty Director for Science Faculty, Teacher of Physics and Science and NQT supervisor

I graduated in 2001 with a Physics degree from the University of York and then with a PGDip in Computing from Napier University in 2004.  I have worked in both Finance and IT.  I started teacher training in 2005 and achieved a PGCE from the University of Nottingham in 2006.  I have been teaching ever since, with the exception of a year out to travel the world 2008-2009, during which I worked for three months in Sydney Australia.

In that time, I have worked in two Ofsted rating ‘Outstanding’ schools in North London, delivered exceptional results at both GCSE and A-Level, and been a Head of Physics, Student teacher-co-ordinator and a 2nd in Science.  I have delivered Building Learning Power and Literacy showcase lessons to visitors from across London and been rated Outstanding for my teaching on several occasions, most notably by 'Challenge Partners'.

I have also successfully completed an NPQML (National Professional Qualification for Middle Leaders) and the OTP (Outstanding Teacher Programme).

Elisha Waller

Elisha Waller

Computer Science/IT Teacher

BA (Hons) QTS – Teacher of Computer Science and ICT

I have 12 GCSEs A*-C including ICT from my secondary education. After completing my GCSEs, I attended Sunderland College, studied four subjects at AS Level, three subjects at A Level, and completed an Extended Project. I achieved three A*-C results for my A Level studies.

I studied a year of ICT at Sunderland University where I was awarded ‘Computing Student of the Year’; I achieved a First overall for this and was the top female student in my year. I went on to study Sociology at Sunderland University and graduated with a 2:1 honours degree in 2015.  I began my teacher training in 2015 and achieved a PGCE in Computer Science from the University of Sunderland in 2016. I gained my first teaching post at UTC South Durham where I have been teaching GCSE Computer Science and BTEC ICT.

Linsey Walker

Linsey Walker

Geography/Business Teacher

BA (Hons), QTS – Teacher of Business and Geography

I have been working in education for over 10 years having gained a QTS (14-19) and a PGCE with Durham University. I have a varied teaching background in schools, FE colleges and university including GCSE, BTEC and foundation degree subjects in geography, tourism and business. I have acted as Course Leader with students from different backgrounds and nationalities.  I also have a BA (Hons) in Tourism Management from Brighton University and a HND in Business and Finance from Thames Valley University in London.

Prior to teaching, I worked for a company that organised school and group tours as a coordinator ensuring that the tour ran smoothly with transport, accommodation and excursions for trips all over the world.  This linked to my travel experience having previously worked on a cruise liner in the Bahamas and as a holiday representative in France and Spain.  I have a strong passion for travel and spent time in India, Australia and South America, and even had the opportunity to venture into the former Soviet Union as a teenager.

It is this experience that I wanted to use in business, and later encouraged to go into teaching, a career that I relish, particularly the challenge of a new role and in my homeland of the North East with my own family. I am a firm believer in equality and opportunity and right here has so much to offer and even more to gain.

Faculty of Core and Inclusion

Jak Heslop

Jak Heslop

Faculty Director, Core and Inclusion

BSc (Hons) QTS – Faculty Director for Core Subjects, Teacher of Chemistry and Science and PSHE / SMSC Coordinator

I have been qualified as a teacher for 20 years, teaching GCSE Sciences and A Level Chemistry at a variety of schools across the North East.  Until moving to the UTC, I had been Head of Science at a local Ofsted Outstanding school for the previous 12 years.

I graduated from the University of Sheffield in 1992 with a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry and then moved on to do some post graduate research for the Ministry of Defence at Cranfield Institute of Technology.  I have strong links with the University of Durham and other County Durham schools developing the profile and up take of Physics Post-16, and encouraging girls to continue with their study of Science.

I also run here, as I have at a previous school, a group of students who promote the enjoyment of Science to primary school students, both in school and at public events.

Sarah McAdam

Sarah McAdam

Maths Co-ordinator

BA (Hons) QTS – Lead Teacher and Coordinator of Maths

After taking A Levels in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry I studied Applied Mathematics at Newcastle University graduating in 1996 with a 2:1. After a summer, working abroad, I returned to the UK and the following year obtained my PGCE in Secondary Mathematics.

My first teaching role was at Hummersknott School in Darlington where I taught Keystage 3 and 4 Mathematics with PE.

After a year at an independent school gaining A Level teaching experience, I moved to Sunderland FE College where I taught Mathematics to Post-16 and adult learners.  This involved teaching all disciplines of Mathematics from Level 1 numeracy to A Level Further Mathematics including modules in pure mathematics, mechanics, decision and statistics. In my six years, I held the positions of Mathematics Course Leader and Assistant Leader of the Humanities Department.  During this time, I also marked A Level exam papers for OCR.

After having children, I moved to teach in Darlington, and, for the past eight years, I have worked at Queen Elizabeth 6th Form College teaching A Level Mathematics, where my students have gained outstanding results year on year.  For the past two years, I have also worked with Casio to develop materials for the new A Level Mathematics specification.

Laura McAllister

Laura McAllister

English Teacher

BA (Hons) QTS – Teacher of English

Following my Secondary and Further Education, I spent some time as a customer services representative for an energy company.  Whilst this role was very useful for helping me to develop workplace skills, (such as, problem solving and communication), it was not a role that I felt truly fulfilled in.

When an opportunity arose in 2004 to work in education as a Teaching Assistant (TA) at Hurworth School, I was very keen to apply.  Employed initially to work across the school to support students with Special Educational Needs, my strengths in English, Media and Drama meant that I soon became an integral part of supporting students through their GCSEs in these subjects.  Over time, I worked my way up to become a Level 3 TA and was given the responsibility for delivering and co-ordinating the ASDAN programme with KS4 students.

Early on in my time as a TA, I found a love for teaching and learning and realised that I wanted to be leading English lessons.  In order to achieve this, I studied with the Open University for six years, whilst continuing as a TA, before graduating with BA (Hons) in Literature.

Having gained my degree, I was successful in gaining a placement with Redcar and Cleveland Teacher Training Partnership in 2011. Following their yearlong ITT course allowed me to gain Qualified Teacher Status whilst placed in the English department at Sacred Heart RC School in Redcar. At the end of the course, I was deemed an outstanding trainee and offered a permanent post at Sacred Heart RC School as a Teacher of English.  I continued to teach here for two years - gaining excellent results.

Before joining the UTC, I also taught at DSMS School in Darlington where, as well as fulfilling the role of Teacher of English, I was also responsible for mentoring a trainee English teacher and two newly qualified English Teachers (NQTs).

Throughout my teaching career, I have been committed to providing the best possible learning experiences for my students and have been given several ‘Outstanding’ lesson grading’s by both senior colleagues and Ofsted inspectors.

Jon Treadgold

Jon Treadgold

Maths Teacher and SENCO

BSc (Hons) QTS – SENCO and Teacher of Maths

After studying for my 'A' levels in maths, physics and chemistry, I worked for 17 years in research with ICI in the chemical industry. This included the pharmaceuticals business in Avonmouth and the acrylics business in Lancashire and Wilton where I invented a new grade of impact resistant acrylic polymer that paved the way for the re-opening of a chemical plant at Cassel Works.

I retrained as a teacher by studying at Durham University, then a Postgraduate study in maths at York St John University.  So far, I have had 16 years in teaching, starting in the primary sector as a science specialist, then specialising in maths in secondary.  I have worked in three large schools in the Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Stockton areas.

Since joining UTC South Durham, I have also taken on the role of SENCO.

Faculty of Engineering

Neil McGrath

Neil McGrath

Faculty Director, Engineering

BEd QTS – Faculty Director for Engineering Faculty

On completion of my secondary education, I started a four-year craft apprenticeship in Toolmaking.  This consisted of day-release, at what was then Darlington College of Technology, plus four days of training at work.  Over the next eight years, I continued this day-release training to complete my full craft apprenticeship qualification, plus an ONC and HNC in Engineering.  Over that period, I worked for a number of engineering companies- manufacturing photocopiers, manual and automated transmissions, televisions and superheaters for offshore companies.

I had by then, developed a real interest in learning, so to continue this I enrolled on a teaching degree and soon successfully completed a BEd at York University.  I returned to employment working locally in childcare for two years. This was within a secure unit working with some of the UKs most challenging children, working alongside psychiatrists and psychologists.  The knowledge I learnt there has been invaluable in my teaching career.

My teaching took another change in direction, working for two secondary schools in County Durham.  One enabled me to work with sixth-form students, both as a tutor and teacher of A level courses.  I also held the post of Subject Leader for Technology in one school for six years.  Promotion quickly followed to a larger school in Sunderland leading the Technology Faculty, delivering a wide range of GCSE courses.

The opportunity to work at the UTC was a massive attraction to me. It has enabled me to work with well-motivated students who have a real interest in engineering, maths and the sciences.  The work based skills and excellent education on offer, will give our students the perfect start to employment or further education.

Kim Coates

Kim Coates

Engineering Teacher

Cert Ed – Teacher of Engineering and Product Design

After leaving secondary school, I started my apprenticeship as a fitter turner. My apprenticeship lasted for four years and during my apprenticeship, I successfully completed my City and Guild Level 3 and my ONC in Mechanical Engineering.  On completion of my apprenticeship, I was employed as a qualified maintenance fitter / calibration technician.  I have worked subsequently in a variety of environments including petrochemical, steel and food industries.

I continued with my academic qualifications and completed my teaching qualifications through Huddersfield University on a day release basis as I was still in full time employment.  During my teaching career I have taught a number of course under the Mechanical engineering banner e.g., Mechanical systems, Health & Safety, Design. I have also taught a range of practical courses, which includes all levels of City and Guilds.

When leaving school, many of my friends chose to go to college full-time and then after that, enrol on a full time university course. I consider myself to have been in a much better position by not following the same route as my friends did.  Not only did I complete my academic qualifications and have the practical experience to back up the qualifications but I also did not have any debt as the company that I worked for paid for my college and university fees.

Whilst working in industry I had first-hand experience of sexism towards women in engineering. This was a big part of my decision to go into a teaching profession. This way I can hopefully, show the engineers of tomorrow that gender does not make any difference; it is knowledge and dedication that are important.

Mike Reid

Mike Reid

Engineering Teacher

BSc (Hons) QTS – Teacher of Engineering and Product Design and Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme Lead

On completing my secondary education, I completed a two-year national diploma BTEC course in Electronic and Electrical Engineering. I went onto study at Hull University and the University of Huddersfield. After my degree, I spent around seven years working in industry before going onto teacher training.

I have an honours degree in Science / Engineering, and have been a qualified teacher since 2005.  I trained on the SCITT course at Macmillan Academy in Middlesbrough and I have worked in a variety of schools in the Teesside area and have held positions including Head of Outdoor Education (Thornaby Academy), Assistant Faculty Leader of Science (Hummersknott Academy) and School Governor at both Ingleby Mill Primary School and now at the UTC.

During the UTC week, I run electronics club for our students and coding club. These both use my specialist knowledge of science and engineering to help students develop robotics, electronics and design projects.  I enjoy developing skills in new equipment such as 3D printers, virtual welders and laser cutting equipment as well as being qualified with the DT Association to safely operate and instruct on a wide range of workshop power and hand tools.

I specialise in the teaching of electronics and physics, but also enjoy opportunities involving the outdoors.  I hold the summer mountain leader and Level 4 kayak coach qualifications; I have used these to qualify as a Duke of Edinburgh Expedition Assessor at Gold expedition level.  I am also affiliated with the Scouts where I use my teaching and coaching skills to train volunteer staff in safe practice and education in dealing with up to 100 young people in kayaks over the course of a weekend.

At home, I enjoy using my engineering skills to develop my own projects and maintain my knowledge and equipment.  I am now also a qualified foster carer.

John Reynard

John Reynard

Engineering Teacher

BA (Hons) QTS – Teacher of Business, Product Design and PE

My educational background includes GCSEs, A level and GNVQ Advanced Business studies followed by studying a BA (Hons) in Management and Design Technology from Leeds University in 2003. 

Following a number of years in industry, I have gained a breadth of relevant experience working for Atkin’s Rail Ltd and a specialist twist-lock organisation, Duraloc Ltd, as well as working for Boeing, Charleston Marine and Ferrari on specialist projects as well as international experience in Australia.

Following this, and after a period of retraining at Sunderland University, I completed a Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) in Design and Technology, specialising in Resistant Materials and studying an additional unit in Engineering.

I have mainstream education teaching experience as a Lead Teacher of Engineering and national curriculum technology subjects at Keystage 2-4 including, Resistant Materials, Computer Aided Design, Product Design and Graphics.

I have subsequently worked in Further Education for four years as an Engineering Lecturer and Course Leader, undertaking teaching across a varied curriculum including HNC Design and DND Project and Business Studies.

Kelvin Vincent

Kelvin Vincent

Engineering Technician

Engineering Technician

After completing my Secondary Education, I joined the Durham Police Cadets at the age of 16yrs and continued my education at Durham Technical College during the day, for two years where I successfully passed the OND in engineering.

Whilst a Police Cadet I undertook further duties on an evening, weekends and college holidays completing numerous workplace attachments and physical activities and achieved Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.

A 30-year career in the Police service with Durham Constabulary allowed me to work in many different roles, many of which included a technical and engineering focus including as a vehicle examiner, motorcycle and Traffic patrols, plain-clothes surveillance and firearms officer.

On retirement from the Police service, having reached the rank of Sergeant I moved into the Education sector firstly at Woodham Community Technical College and most recently at the Education Village Darlington where I was the Design and Technology Technician for over eight years working in Engineering, Systems and Controls, Resistant Materials, Food Technology and Textiles. 

Professional Support Staff

Jean Bell

Jean Bell

Business Manager

MBA, BSc (Hons) – UTC Business Manager

I am an experienced manager and leader having worked across the public and private sectors.  I have been lucky enough to always have challenge and independence in the roles I have undertaken.  After leaving sixth form and a brief spell working in a school for the deaf, I went self-employed at the age of 20 working in the retail and off-licence trade with my brother managing two shops and a warehouse.  After 9 years I had become a ‘jack of all trades and master of none’ so I decided to undertake my first degree in 1990 where I gained a BSc (Hons) in Business Quantitative Methods (Statistics, economics, accounting and business). 

I then spent 5 years working in the higher education sector at Teesside University where I developed a love of all things complex such as timetabling, MIS, cost benefit and statistical analysis and programme administration among others. Unusually I was able to move around many of the university departments and gained a valuable insight into the working of the organisation.

In 1999, I was head hunted to work for the Polar explorer Robert Swan OBE.  As part of a small team I worked on a project to remove one thousand tons of waste from a Russian research base in Antarctica, all sponsored by some of the largest companies in the world.  I managed Robert’s speaker agency and did the bookkeeping for his three companies. This was one of the most interesting jobs I have held, one minute talking to Jessica Schroder of Schroders bank trust or Bear Grylls and the next sending expedition crew to the company Yacht 2041 in the Antarctic (armed with a regular supply of Haribos for the Skipper!), or writing risk assessments for the Foreign Office before designing and sending a certificate to Vladimir Putin to present to Roberts friend a ‘Russian Hero’.

On leaving Mission Antarctica, I went into secondary education at Freebrough Specialist Engineering College.  This was a new merger of three village secondary schools and here I worked my way up to the Leadership team managing 89 support staff, having responsibility for finance, administration, IT, estates, data and exams.  I was involved in leading two school moves and one new build, working closely with the project team on specifying IT and telephony before planning the final move. 

In 2007, I left there to complete a Masters degree in Business Administration before starting a company delivering Education Consultancy.  By chance I heard an enthusiastic interview with Tom on the radio and decided to apply and commit myself to a new challenge at UTC South Durham.

Julie Bushby

Julie Bushby

Student Support Co-ordinator

Student Support Co-ordinator and Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead

After completing my Secondary Education, I did not follow the traditional route of going to College but embarked on a Clerical YTS – the equivalent today of an apprenticeship.  I gained a placement working in a solicitor’s office beginning on reception.  Through my training and qualifications, I became a Legal Secretary for one of the Partners in the firm, often representing clients at Court Hearings and remained there for 13 years.

As a career change, I relocated to work for Abbey National in their Customer Complaints department for five years and changed to working part time when my son was born in 2000.  Once he became of school age (now a Sixth Form Student at College), I was able to secure a position in the Education Sector.

I have worked within Secondary Education for 14 years, firstly at Branksome Comprehensive Darlington as the Principal’s PA / Cover Manager and then Hummersknott Academy Darlington.  This latter role involved working more closely with Students pastorally and I gained qualifications in Level 3 and Level 4 Careers Information Advice and Guidance along with First Aid.  I was also responsible for the delivery and administration of CEIAG interviews to Students in Years 10 and 11 along with the co-ordination of the yearly Work Experience Programme.  Furthermore, I played a large part in discussions and engagements around Student’s futures be it FE College, University or Apprenticeship.

Working at UTC has enabled me to put my extensive skills into practise to assist Students to engage positively with their learning to achieve their goals.

 

Julie Cuthbert

Julie Cuthbert

Office and MIS Manager

Office and MIS Manager

I have worked in the finance and education sector for over 20 years.  My career started in Teachers’ Pensions where I travelled the country delivering training seminars to schools and colleges.

After a short career break to look after my children, I moved to the education sector where I have worked at St Aidan’s Academy in Darlington and St Peter’s Catholic Academy in Middlesbrough. I set up a library and Learning Resource Centre for St Aidan’s Academy and moved into Exams Management.  I was responsible for the whole assessment process for the Academy including administering all aspects of public exams including the management of an invigilation team. 

Whilst at St Peter’s I was responsible for all Data Management and student progress.  I devised a new tracking system to enable teachers to easily pin point those students who would benefit from intervention strategies. 

Leyanne Pennington-Foster

Leyanne Pennington-Foster

Marketing and Recruitment Co-ordinator

BA (Hons) – Marketing and Recruitment Co-ordinator

While I was studying for my degree, I worked in a local secondary school in their exams department and gained examination qualifications.

I then gained a BA (Hons) from the University of Sunderland in Business and Marketing Management.

After university, I started working for the UK’s largest social housing Landlord, in their Marketing and Communications Department.  After securing a promotion, I was given responsibility to manage areas of the UK. During this time, I also managed projects for companies such as BoKlok, Chelsea Flower Show and IKEA.

I then moved to a North East company who build, manage and maintain power assets in the UK and UAE.  I worked with them for seven years on brand management of the group and engineering arm, tender writing and marketing activity.

Steve McCarten

Steve McCarten

Senior Science Technician

Senior Science Technician

On Completion of my secondary education, I joined Smiths Dock Shipyard where I served as a Bench-hand Joiner for 8 Years. Following this, I worked for 18 Months for the Probation Service as a workshop Supervisor, working with adults on Community Service awards issued by the criminal Justice System.

I them embarked on a 29-year Career with Cleveland Fire Brigade as an operational Fire fighter and Officer.  During that time, I operated at supervisor level and above for 23 of those years working at most of the fire stations and departments including the Learning and Development Department within the brigade, enabling me to gather a vast amount of diverse experience covering all aspects of the fire service.  I finished my career as the District Manager for the Hartlepool and Stockton Districts Responsible for all aspects of Risk within that area including the largest Industrial Risk in Europe (Seal Sands) including the Nuclear Power Station.

I also as carried out specialist roles including, Fire Investigation and providing specialist advice as a Hazardous Material and Environmental Protection Officer and as a Detection, Identification and Monitoring Officer, a role I carried out for nine years.  The incidents included white powder, numerous spillages and vapour releases.

I have operated at various levels of Incident Commander from single appliance attendance to Major incidents and have attended and passed the advanced Command course at the Fire Service College at Moreton-in-the-Marsh.

I have also had to deliver lectures and presentations on various subjects from fire prevention and fire-fighting techniques to Hazardous Materials Safety Procedures including Radiation to various and varied audiences including Fire Officers as well as schools Colleges and many public bodies such as Stockton Borough Council safety advisory group.

My acquisition of the NEBOSH General Certificate, Teaching Certificate and Assessor Qualifications and brigade in house training has enabled me to carry out my functions to a high standard.

I have mentored and motivated a number of colleagues to perform better and fulfil their potential during my career including Modern Apprentices and Fire fighters seeking Career progression. I have always demonstrated a commitment to Equality and Diversity and represented the Brigade on the National Fire Service Asian Network.

My interests outside of work include most sports but in particular football, I am a Middlesbrough Football Club Season Ticket Holder.  I also used to Referee Football on the Northern League and Football Conference (National League).  I love Cooking and prepare most meals at home.  I like to keep fit and am a regular at the gym and enjoy cycling, both Road and Mountain Biking.

Steve Bell

Steve Bell

Caretaker

Caretaker

After completing my secondary education at the age of 16, I started working for the National Coal Board (British Coal) as an apprentice mechanical fitter.  Training in all the practical aspects of mechanical engineering on site at various mines and training centres, as well as studying the theory side at Framwellgate College, Durham.  After completing a five-year apprenticeship and seven years studying at college I graduated as a time served Class 1 Grade 1 Mechanical Fitter, qualified to Assistant Mechanical Engineer level.  I worked as a Mechanical Fitter (covering all mechanical disciplines e.g. hydraulics, pneumatics, fabrication, repairs and installation) for a further seven years until I was made redundant due to closure of the mines.

I then started working for Her Majesty's Prison Service. Starting as a Prison Officer, I worked my way up through the ranks to become an Officer Instructor and then eventually completing my 25-years’ service as a Senior Officer Instructor.  In these roles, I was regularly involved in training or delivering training to staff and prisoners in numerous specialised training courses.  I chose to take voluntary redundancy as eventually my role as Senior Officer Instructor required me to train New Entrant Prison Officers at the Prison Service Training College in Rugby, Warwickshire, and I did not want to re-locate.