Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Business
As soon as I found out who was going to be teaching me and I saw how good they were, I was absolutely certain that studying at Newcastle College was the right step for me. I had family member who had been Newcastle College students before and they loved it too! Also, the main campus is in the centre of Newcastle so you're never far away from anything you need or whatever you want to do.
Tell us a bit about yourself, your background etc?
I was born in Newcastle, then moved back to Chester-le-Street. I’ve studied Business for about five or six years now (first at GCSE, then A-Level and now here at Newcastle College). It’s my favourite subject, which is why I keep taking it! I’m starting university in September to do my Business Management degree…and that’s about it! I’m a very plain book!
One thing I love about Newcastle College is the strong social aspect. I enjoy going out with my friends, that’s always fun, and I’m going up to Edinburgh this Christmas with one of my friends here – we did it last year with our course mates, but we had so much fun that we decided to do it again! I work weekends as a waiter at Sambuca’s in Chester-le-Street, have done for a few years now, and my favourite dish is Chicken Valdastano.
How did you hear about Newcastle College? Did you attend an Open Day prior to starting at the College? If so, did you find it useful?
A friend of mine was applying here so I thought I could apply here too! My mam works at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) too so I thought, ‘that would convenient when I’m commuting to and from college every day’. I looked on the Newcastle College website and I was impressed, so I visited a couple of Open Days here where I got a very good sense for life as a college student. I met my lecturer and he is absolutely fantastic, the best person I’ve ever met. Two of my soon-to-be tutors sold me on the course and I decided to come to Newcastle College, so I applied straight away.
Each Open Day was really useful – once I figured out where to go! I attended two Open Days, once by myself and then another time with my mam. Both times we spoke to my tutors about the College and my options, and my lecturers answered any questions we asked clearly, fluently and without any hesitation, which really reinforced the positive first impressions I had of the college, the course and the teaching staff. They had great leaflets to take away too which were so informative.
What made you decide to come to the college and enrol on the course you selected?
Meeting my lecturers. As soon as I found out who was going to be teaching me and I saw how good they were, I was absolutely certain that studying at Newcastle College was the right step for me. Also, I had family members who had been Newcastle College students before (admittedly way back in the day when they were my age) and they loved it too! Plus, the main campus in the centre of Newcastle so you’re never far away from anything you need or whatever you want to do. The College itself is big, so there’s a real sense of community, but there are only about six buildings for teaching so you probably won’t get lost.
I’ve been studying Business for five or six years and it’s my favourite subject. Business overall will cover everything for careers or industry – I always say to people who aren’t sure on what to study, ‘Do a course in Business’ because either way, if you don’t want to do Business Management, Accounting or Marketing, Business covers all of it. With a Business degree, you can more or less go straight into whatever field you want with a solid grasp of how to establish yourself.
How would you describe the advice and support you received from college and your tutors? Have you had any support for our Central Support Team – Pastoral support?
I got really lucky with the tutors we have here too, they’re all really kind and will help you out with anything you want to do as well, the tutors here genuinely care here about the students and if they suspect you’re having an off day, they will come and talk to you – which is massively appreciated.
I have dyspraxia as well, which they massively support. Dyspraxia is basically really bad hand-eye co-ordination or short-term memory loss, but the College support services have been brilliant in how much they’ve supported me if I ever requested it. For example, if I forget anything or forget to write down some key content, my lecturer would come over and make sure I’ve made notes on everything important.
Do you have any tutors who have industry experience? If so, how has this helped you?
Yes, quite a few of them do actually! One of the tutors I had last year runs a couple of non-profit cafés, another specialises in supply-chain management, and my main tutor has a background in the hospitality sector used to manage restaurants and entertainment venues. My current tutor is a young’un, he came straight to work at Newcastle College after graduating from university, but having such a new perspective has been really useful. Taken together, the four of them have such a broad range of experience across different parts of the industry, which has massively helped me and all my coursemates to visualise and plan how we would run a business, which has been especially helpful for assignments and exams.
Did you look into financial support available from the college? If so what were they and how did they help?
When I first joined, we had to figure out student finance for me. Student Finance was a bit of a struggle at first, but once I had all the correct forms it was much easier. The amount of student support that Newcastle College offers is great, without it I know I’d have had a much harder time in education than I have.
Have you overcome any challenges while on your course? If so how has the college helped you?
When I started on this course, I was going through some personal issues. I was missing college and I wasn’t doing assignments up to standard. This was going on for around a month and a half, maybe two months. I spoke with my tutor about it and he had a meeting with me. We put together a plan about what to do and I basically turned it all around, personally and academically. I started focusing on myself and it was really helpful – he supported me through it all.
What do you/did you enjoy most about your course?
My tutors and my friends, definitely. Before coming to Newcastle College I assumed that I’d just do the course and leave and not really engage with many people, but I got extremely lucky with my tutor group – we all clicked really well, and there’s about 12 of us who all gel really well and help each other with assignments. If any of us had a problem, we would all try our best to help and support each other. We go out together a lot too, we’ll have laughs and go to parties, so I found it surprisingly easy to make friends here – but then again, I’m a chatterbox, so that helped a bit! My friends now, from the start of college, we barely spoke during the first couple of months of the course, but my best friends now used to be quite reserved – they would keep to themselves, just work on their laptop and leave – so becoming such a close-knit group that can relax together and have each other’s backs has been rewarding, to be honest!
How do you feel that the course has/is benefitting you?
My course is equivalent to three A-Levels, which if beneficial in getting to my next step. Obviously, you can leave with A-Levels if you want, but personally I’d recommend Steppin’ Up and getting a degree. I’m looking to study a Foundation Degree in Business Management for two years at Newcastle College University Centre after I finish my current course, the reason being that I prefer a small class that offers one-to-one sessions rather than having a massive university lecture hall where speaking to a lecturer requires you to book a meeting a fortnight in advance, by which time I’d either have forgotten my question or it would no longer be relevant.
Have you done any work experience or a work placement as part of your course?
I did some work at Dobbie’s Garden Centre with my friend. We supported at a Halloween event – we recruited some of the Drama students and organised for them to get dressed up and put on a performance. We were responsible for the electronics, the music, the lighting, all the promotional materials and photography, as well as all the social media work as well. Working at the garden centre actually had a lot in common with my current job as a waiter at Sambuca’s, since both are fairly easy-going workplaces.
What would you like to do when you finish your course? Would you consider studying a degree at Newcastle College University Centre?
I am going to study a Foundation Degree in Business Management at Newcastle College University Centre.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I want to work in Marketing. I want to study a two-year course for Business Management here at Newcastle College University Centre and then progress onto a specialist course in Marketing and Advertising. Honestly, what inspired me was seeing billboards in big cities like London - I always wanted to design and produce one of those billboards, walk past on a day off and look at it knowing ‘Yeah, I did that, I put that there.’ I’ve always thought that would be such an amazing feeling! I know it’s a long-term dream though, since I’ll need to graduate and move down to London for starters, but even if it’s a job up here, I’d love being that creative for a living, and to leave some kind of legacy.
What would you say to anyone thinking of studying a course with Newcastle College?
Look at all the different courses available and make sure you picked the right one. If you’re unsure come and speak with the lecturers because they are some of the nicest people ever. If you’re unsure what course to take, research the course, see what you get from it and what your career prospects are beyond the course. The advantage of Newcastle College courses compared to other major universities is that every course here is so industry-focused that no matter what you study, you’ll always leave with knowledge and practical skills that will be useful straight away in whatever job your go into.
Top five tips
Don’t plagiarise – I know ChatGPT exists now, but don’t use it because you WILL get caught!
Be organised - If you are going out with friends, make sure you know the last bus home or else you’re stranded.
If you have a problem, speak with your lecturers – they aren’t scary and they’ve been in your position at one point in their life, so talk to them!
Find out where the best canteens are – Lifestyle is the best!
Always remember your lanyard – you will get stopped at every single entrance if you forget it, and it is very annoying!