Northumberland College to open military academy - sponsored feature

Northumberland College will equip recruits with the skills they need for life in the Armed Forces - sponsored feature

Northumberland College has a new Military Academy
Northumberland College has a new Military Academy

Potential recruits for the Army, Navy, Royal Air Force and reserve forces will be prepared for service thanks to Northumberland College’s new Military Academy.

Based at the college’s Kirkley Hall campus and opening in time for the new academic year in September, the academy is working closely with the armed services to ensure those who complete the year-long course are the best applicants they can get.

The college is recruiting for at least 22 young people, with plans to double the number next year, and anticipates at least 80% of them will graduate into one of the services – regular and reserve.

Simon Chalk, head of the Military Academy at Northumberland College, said: “We have worked closely with the services to develop the academy and they are extremely supportive of its creation. The course will focus on the development of leadership, communication, teamwork and discipline. It will also have an ethos closely aligned to each of the armed services.

“We want to take students and help them to develop into the best applicants the services can get. This will help them to progress through the rigorous entry process and on to successful completion of training. Service personnel will be delivering aspects of the course and students will attend whole military days to give them a full understanding of the job.”

Northumberland College’s Military Academy will have its own HQ, air soft centre and rifle range. It will also have other resources on hand such as the outdoor activity centre including an assault course and indoor and outdoor climbing towers, apparatus and an extensive rural estate for general training.

Students will be kitted out in uniform and provided with appropriate equipment while studying for an NCFE Level 2 and 3.

Simon added: “The unique nature and experience of the academy is the most important thing in helping students to gain entry into the armed services.

“We are developing a bunker to be used as a briefing room, we are planning overnight military exercises on site and we also have a successful outdoor activity centre which can support aspects of team-building.”

Any live firing will be conducted off-site at one of the military ranges with support from partners in the services.

Applications for the course close at the end of July.

The academy is primarily aimed at 16 to 23-year-olds though there are a limited number of places for 24-plus.

To find out more visit , call 01670 841200 or email

Rural renaissance

By Marcus Clinton

Northumberland College principal Marcus Clinton
Northumberland College Principal Marcus Clinton

There has been much talk of skills gaps across a wide range of traditional industries recently but one area which is little mentioned is the rural economy where the need for highly-skilled workers is just as great.

While recent years have seen an explosion in the tourism industry through diversification in the rural areas of Northumberland, an ageing workforce and major developments in technology means there is also still high demand for skilled labour in farming, animal care, horticulture, agriculture and arboriculture.

Lantra, the UK’s Sector Skills Council for land-based and environmental industries, reports that the sector will need 595,000 recruits across the country between now and 2020 – it is the college’s job to work with employers in this area to ensure we turn out students equipped with the skills to succeed.

It is why we have invested so much time, effort and money into Kirkley Hall opening the zoological gardens and developing the outdoor activity centre. Students also have access to two commercially-run farms, an equine centre, a new teaching block, arboriculture workshops and tractor workshops.

In addition, we have developed an enterprise hub to support students running their own business and we will soon have a farm shop to sell produce reared or made at Kirkley Hall.

The zoo and numerous events have helped us showcase what fantastic facilities we have at Kirkley Hall and promote them to the wider community, demonstrating that we are running courses with great routes to the type of jobs required in rural Northumberland.

Kirkley Hall has delivered agricultural and land-based training for more than 50 years – constantly adapted to incorporate current and future skills requirements.

It offers a wide range of apprenticeships, full-time and part-time courses from entry level to degree level. This September sees the launch of our exciting land-based foundation degrees in many subjects in partnership with Newcastle University, as well as providing training to employers across the North East.

I would urge parents, teachers and students themselves to explore the opportunities within the rural economy. There is great potential to forge a long-term rewarding career and Northumberland College has the facilities, the experience and the expertise to help get you started.

Night at the Oscars

Northumberland College students with a creative flair for hair put on a special ‘Night at the Oscars’ themed show for customers and clients

Level 3 apprentices led the show at the state-of-the-art salon at the college’s Ashington campus with support from barbering, media make-up and fashion design students. Guests including salon owners and local dignitaries, were treated to an Oscars catwalk show on the themes of Olden Days, Here and Now, and Futuristic.

As well as providing entertainment, the show also gave the students an opportunity to prepare for forthcoming assessments on long hair work, promoting products and services to clients, enhance creative design skills, planning an event and collaborating with students from other departments.

Course leader Jan Marley said: “It was a great night and an opportunity for the students to showcase their skills, complete assessments and for the college to show off our fantastic industry-standard facilities. Putting on shows like this helps to focus the students’ minds on the sort of thing they will have to do in the workplace and gives them an opportunity to be creative, putting the knowledge they have learned at college into practice.”

Proceeds from the night were donated to the charity Down’s Syndrome North East, which will benefit to the tune of £435.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer