York College

Welcome to our Higher Education alumni page. Here you can find out what our graduates are doing now.  If you’re considering a Higher Education degree at York College, this is the perfect place to find out where our programmes could lead you. If you’ve completed a HE course at York College, we’d love to hear about your journey since graduation. Contact us anytime at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on (01904) 770229.


Josie Hewson

BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy

Josie completed her GCSEs at Sherburn High School in 2010, where her high grades and involvement in sport inspired her enrolment on the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science at York College. Whilst completing her programme (gaining a D*D*D* grade), Josie also undertook Level 3 and 4 VTCT qualifications in Sports Massage Therapy, and a career in Sports Therapy began to appeal. Her tutors encouraged progression to the foundation degree to help Josie achieve her chosen career path. Soon after she enrolled on the top-up element of the degree, meaning Josie could graduate with a full BSc (Hons) degree in Sports Therapy in September 2015.

Josie valued her time spent at College. She recalls: “The tutors were great; constantly providing opportunities for work experience to develop us as individuals and giving constructive feedback on every piece of work, challenging students to bring out the best of their abilities. They were full of enthusiasm for the degree and had great experience within the field of work. The lessons were developed, tailored and delivered to our needs. It was a very hands-on course, which I loved; I was able to put my knowledge into practice and even do pitch side first aid for the College’s Centre of Excellence. The course fit in with my working life at the time, so I was able to save and study to help fund my ambition”

Josie graduated with a 1st Class Honours, enabling her to gain a role as a Sports Therapist for the York City F.C Regional Talent club for Girls football, where she had volunteered alongside studying for her degree. Josie also works as a Physiotherapy Assistant at York Hospital on the acute elderly wards. She says: “The interpersonal skills and knowledge I gained on the degree enabled me to gain these roles due to my experiences and understanding within the area. Moreover, the Personal Professional Development module of the course immensely helped me prepare for job interviews and working life. York College played a big part in enabling me to get these jobs; without the connections the College had I would have not gained the work experience and be where I am now.” The critical writing and analysing skills Josie developed throughout her degree enabled her dissertation to be published in the UK Strength and Conditioning Journal 2015, her tutors fully supporting her throughout this process.

Alongside her developing career, Josie has progressed onto a Masters (MSc) in Physiotherapy at Leeds Beckett University starting in January 2017, which she wouldn’t have been able to apply for without a 1st or high 2:1 grade or without the experiences from her current sports therapy role at the RTC and physiotherapy role at the hospital.

Josie would recommend the course to any prospective student thinking about expanding their knowledge in the Sports Therapy field. She added: “It’s a very flexible programme with lots of avenues you can get involved with. The tutors are very supportive and have great connections within the professional field, from the army to local elite football and rugby teams. I thoroughly enjoyed my three years and the skills and knowledge the course gave me have been invaluable.”

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Fiona Salmond-Smith

BA (Hons) Business Management 

After completing her GCSE’s, Fiona Salmond-Smith was keen to get out into the working world, though she never really left education behind. Completing an NVQ in Business Administration whilst in full-time employment meant that she could gain qualifications whilst gaining commercial experience, confidence and understanding of the working world. A similar opportunity came along at her second full-time job, where she was offered the chance of studying for a course through day release, and Fiona decided on York College’s part-time BA (Hons) Business Management. Sadly, however, this opportunity was taken away after the first year of the course, when Fiona was made redundant. Knowing she already had the first year credits, Fiona was determined to complete the course, and returned to the College full time whilst holding down a part time job in any spare time she had, to gain the BA she had begun.

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Fiona valued the commitment and endless encouragement the College tutors provided, saying: “The tutors were outstanding in terms of what they give and how committed they are to their subject area. They offer support and advice and show a great belief in each and every student.” After struggling through her GCSEs, Fiona was amazed to find that no matter what she had done previously; her aspirations could still be achieved at the College. The flexibility of studying at the College also appealed to her, changing from a part-time course to the full-time programme after the first year.

Crediting York College with helping her finally find her desired career direction, Fiona has now progressed to a Master’s degree at the University of York, in the fascinating subject area ‘Marine Environmental Management’, after securing a first class honours degree here at York College. Scuba diving since she was sixteen, Fiona truly has a passion for the ocean, and the confidence built throughout her BA provided her with the encouragement to study the MSc.


Rianne Hughes

BA (Hons) Business Management; PGCE

From student, to Restaurant Coordinator, to tutor, we’ve been delighted to see Rianne Hughes’ progression at York College over the past seven years.

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Rianne had worked in the hospitality industry since she was 17, but was sadly made redundant in 2008. Soon afterwards, a York College Higher Education guide was pushed through her letterbox, giving Rianne the inspiration to gain a recognised qualification in the hospitality industry to add to her years of experience.

Rianne enrolled on our Foundation Degree in Hospitality Management in September 2008 and shortly afterwards received a full-time job offer in event management. Rianne therefore completed her programme part-time, appreciating how flexible the College were about fitting her study around her full-time career.

After achieving a Merit in her foundation degree, Rianne decided to progress onto our BA (Hons) Business Management top-up programme, graduating with a first class in 2013. By this time, Rianne had gained a full-time position as Restaurant Coordinator in our very own Ashfields restaurant, so alongside graduating Rianne also organised the fantastic catering for the ceremony, providing wonderful drinks and canapés to graduates and their guests with the help of her team of budding hospitality students.

Rianne said: "I used the knowledge gained in my degree alongside my previous experience from industry to take ‘Ashfields’ in a fresh direction and offer students extensive opportunities to sample various styles of hospitality and service and build a strong reputation within the local community and beyond. The position of Restaurant Coordinator afforded me the opportunity work in further education alongside students and allowed me to build my experience and confidence in an area in which I was already a practising professional. Working alongside the students in the restaurant proved to be both rewarding and life-changing. The role helped me to realise that my true vocation lay in the education field and that all that had gone before in my career had helped to prepare me for this monumental step."

Rianne truly found York College’s Higher Education provision to be excellent, with the highly experienced teaching staff at the heart of this: “The success of the Higher Education department at York College is down to the dedication and inspiration of their staff, whose excellence inspired me to become a member of staff at York College.”

Achieving her true ambition of becoming a teacher, Rianne has since completed various teaching courses and is now nearing the end of her PGCE with us. She has recently been appointed as Tutor of Business, Hospitality and Travel and Tourism at the College, which she is particularly delighted about.

She said: “The College and my manager have always supported me in my career aspirations and, with that knowledge, I knew when the opportunity arose to apply for a teaching position I was ready to experience the interview process. I didn’t think that I would ever get appointed; I was overwhelmed to be offered the post.

“I was also very emotional about leaving the restaurant as a lot of hard work and dedication had gone in to making the restaurant a showcase of the hospitality department but I am delighted to be teaching many familiar faces and excited about teaching new subjects. I’ve achieved my career goal; I’ve wanted to teach since the age of six!”

We are extremely proud to have Rianne with us as both a student and an employee and she is a great example of how gaining qualifications at York College can lead to achieving your ambitions.


Linda Harrison 

BA (Hons) Educational Leadership - Children’s Workforce; PGCE

Throughout childhood, Linda Harrison faced considerable difficulties within education due to dyslexia and hearing loss. Linda had no support at school, and felt incapable of achieving anything. Thankfully, in later life, Linda discovered York College, which has enabled her dreams of gaining an education to come true.

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Linda began attending York College sixteen years ago, and has since achieved GCSEs in English and Maths, A Levels in Accountancy and Sociology, qualifications in Learning Support and British Sign Language, NVQ Level 3 in Childcare and Education, a Foundation Degree in Young Children’s Learning and Development, and she graduated this year with a fantastic first-class BA (Hons) in Educational Leadership - Children’s Workforce. And Linda isn’t stopping there; she has recently commenced her next venture on a PGCE course with us, hoping to ultimately become a teacher.

Speaking extremely positively about her time at the college, Linda told us: “My life has been transformed through learning. At York College my tutors have been so supportive and I have made some good friends. Getting my degree has been a passion and a pleasure. I feel very proud of my achievements and I would like to thank my tutors for their encouragement and support”.

Linda’s achievements have not only been at York College, in 2011 she was awarded an Individual Regional Adult Learner Award for her commitment and dedication to learning, which Linda accepted with an exceptionally moving and inspirational speech. Throughout her studies Linda has volunteered for the Pre-School Learning Alliance (PLA) where she now works as a development worker alongside her PGCE.

We are truly proud to have a student as inspirational as Linda here at York College, and we are delighted that she will remain at the College a little longer to complete her PGCE. Her tutors have found her an honour to work with.


Georgina Laverack - Fashion Designer and Dressmaker

BA (Hons) Fashion Design 

It was Georgina’s love of sewing which led her to a series of Fashion courses at York College. Telling us “it was the one thing I was actually good at and enjoyed at secondary school”, Georgina was delighted to discover she could pursue a National Diploma in Fashion and Clothing whilst re-sitting her Maths and English GCSEs alongside the course. Achieving a triple distinction grade in the ND and realising she wanted to pursue a career in fashion, which she had not even thought possible before, Georgina chose to progress to the Foundation Degree in Fashion Design. After graduating with a distinction, she completed the top-up BA (Hons) degree, achieving a first class. She tells us: “From day one I just wanted to keep learning more and more, especially the technical aspects of fashion”.

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Working towards the York College end of year fashion shows was one of the main reason Georgina loved her time at the college so much, but the aspect she most appreciated was the help and support of her tutors. Georgina says: “I definitely think that it was because of the fashion tutors at York College that I managed to complete my degree successfully, they were always there when I needed help or guidance. All of them have personal experience in the fashion industry and were happy to share their tips and advice, and I have learnt things from them that I still and will always use in the future. I cannot thank them enough for everything they taught me during my five years. Studying any degree can be daunting, but my tutors were always there for support. This made the intense workload much more manageable, and most importantly enjoyable. I would recommend York College fashion courses to anyone, I would go back and do it all again if I could!”

Upon completion of her BA, Georgina knew the career path she wished to pursue, but was unsure how to achieve it. Her tutors encouraged her to apply for London College of Fashion, where she completed a postgraduate diploma in Garment Technology and Pattern Design, achieving a distinction. “Without completing my BA I would not have had the confidence to take this step into the unknown” she says of the LCF course, “I feel the BA prepared me for the demands of a postgraduate level course. Taking forward the skills I had already gained in my BA has been immensely relevant to my further education.”

Georgina is currently working part time for a lingerie web store whilst concentrating on her young family. She is also making clothes for herself, family and friends in the sewing room she has put together in her home, which even has an industrial sewing machine. Georgina spends a lot of her time in there and tells us she’s working on some exciting projects already. She is carefully deciding on her next steps, whether this will be working as a garment technologist or pattern cutter locally, setting up her own business, or re-locating to London to work in a big city. Georgina says “with so many different possibilities, I am excited about what the future may hold.”


Suzanne Dekker - Artist and Designer

BA (Hons) Contemporary 3D Crafts 

York College graduate Suzanne Dekker hit the big time when her work appeared on Channel 4’s Grand Designs programme featuring an eco-house project in York. Suzanne was commissioned to design and make four stunning lighting pieces out of reclaimed glass for the main entrance and kitchen area of the property.

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Since graduating York College with a first class honours degree in Contemporary 3D Crafts in 2010, Suzanne has pursued a career in design predominantly giving reclaimed window glass new leases of life as art, using a wide range of techniques. There is a recurring theme of nature throughout her work, and Suzanne’s pieces show a strong passion for British Land Art.

Speaking highly of her York College degree, Suzanne said: “My degree gave me the confidence to exhibit my work at York Open Studios, which is when I was approached by a lady who asked if I could make her some lighting samples for a project she was working on, as she really liked my pieces.” Suzanne was amazed to find out that the eco-house project was to be featured on Grand Designs. Suzanne’s lighting pieces each incorporated 1,500 pieces of glass cut from old glazing window units. Suzanne received great feedback after the show aired and she really enjoyed being involved in the programme.

Suzanne’s daughter Danielle also graduated with a first class degree in Contemporary 3D Crafts (in 2012) and is an accomplished silver-smith. Suzanne and Danielle have applied to take part in York Open Studios together next year. Suzanne says: “It’s amazing what can happen when you exhibit your work, I certainly didn’t anticipate that my work would appear on Grand Designs.”


Trudy Weir - Ceramic Artist

BA (Hons) 3D Contemporary Crafts

After 20 years as a dentist, Trudy Weir decided on a change in career, and she turned to York College to gain the qualifications to pursue her next venture. Enrolling on an art foundation course in 2005, and graduating with a first class degree in 3D Contemporary Crafts four years later (2009), as well as taking a ceramics class and a life drawing class, Trudy has certainly made the most of the courses on offer in the Art and Design department here at York College.

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Whilst Trudy acknowledges that dentistry and art are worlds apart in ways of thinking, her career as a dentist is not completely forgotten throughout her artwork. The metal instrument Trudy uses to scrape patterns into her ceramic work is actually a dental carver used in fillings, and if you look closely enough at her motif of a man ‘running’ on a stoneware bowl, you will notice that it is actually a diagram of a molar.

Trudy’s true passion is making ceramic art pieces which look like fabric work, such as knitting and crochet, whilst the pieces are in fact made of clay. Her “Quilt” piece, which hangs proudly on the wall in her home, features images of her family and gives an impression that crafts such as broderie anglaise have been used, and her “Abandoned Chair” which at a glance appears to have torn upholstery, but both the ‘seat’ and ‘stuffing’ are made entirely of clay.

Her artistic talents do not end here, though, as she also makes ceramic jewellery sets including rings, earrings and pendants, as well as creating ornamental vessels, again using her dental carver for the designs. Trudy sells her work in a selection of small galleries across York, including the Blue Tree in Bootham.

Whilst studying for her degree Trudy was lucky enough to secure a position as an assistant to York ceramist Ben Arnup who at the time was pursuing some research funded by an Arts Council Grant. The experience proved invaluable to her, teaching her techniques she would go on to use in her own practice, and within 18 months of graduating from York College she was successful in being selected for “Earth and Fire” - an International ceramics fair at Rufford.

Until recently Trudy worked from her home in York individually creating pieces in her garage at the back of the family home, but she has now moved to Sheffield where she hopes to set up a studio in her back garden very soon and continue her “out of control hobby”. Trudy has always had a passion for craftwork partaking in pottery classes whilst training as a dentist, but it wasn’t until 30 years later that she stepped back into an art class, as she decided to whole-heartedly pursue her dentistry career. She explains how the two careers are completely different experiences; in dentistry everything is usually right or wrong, whereas art can never be right or wrong, making it a truly exciting experience. We are delighted that she chose York College’s art classes, in particular, for her return to the art world.

www.trudyweir.co.uk

Facebook: Trudy Weir Ceramic Art


Ben Wheeler - College Tutor

BTEC National Diploma in Film and TV; PGCE 

It is always a pleasure for York College when a past student returns to study with us again, but it is especially exciting when it is with the intention of being on the other side of the classroom as a tutor.

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Ben Wheeler completed a BTEC National Diploma in Film and Television at York College between 2007 and 2009, after discovering his talents in filmmaking over a summer spent with like-minded friends. He left his first College, which was closer to home, to travel to York College as he was so interested in the course on offer here.

Gaining a triple distinction in the course, in which his highlights were working on video projects and using the impressive technology at the College, enabled Ben to progress onto the University of Bradford, where he gained a BSc (Hons) in Media Technology and Production, graduating with a first class.

Remembering his enjoyable time at York College, Ben contacted one of his ex-tutors to discuss the possibility of returning to volunteer in the Media department. This led Ben to complete a PGCE whilst working in the vibrant department as a Teacher, Progress Tutor and Course Leader.

Whilst completing his BTEC, one of Ben’s favourite aspects of the course was working with other departments to carry out photography and filming for them. This is something Ben has now enabled his students to do; He is currently working on a project with the College’s catering team, Duets, in which Ben’s photography students will be upgrading and improving the food court’s wall art by producing imagery of the locally sourced and delicious food at York College.

In his spare time, Ben runs his own photography and videography business, which also specialises in graphic design and illustration. When he is not teaching or working on his business, he is out with his camera embracing his passion for photography.

Ben says : “It’s great that my hobby became my College course in 2007, and is now a large aspect of my job at York College.”


Dora Clouttick

BSc Extended Degree in Environmental Science

The BSc Environmental Science Extended Degree is delivered in partnership with our colleagues at the University of York. The first year of the course is delivered here at York College, with the subsequent three years being at the University of York. This extended degree programme is designed for students who do not have the required qualifications to be able to progress onto a degree programme, or for those who are returning to education. The qualification enhances underpinning knowledge and provides students with the opportunity to develop their study skills, understanding of academic work and self-confidence.

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This route was ideal for Dora Clouttick, returning to education at 25 with two A levels and nine GCSE’s. She says: “York College was a stepping stone back in to Higher Education; it helped settle and prepare me so I could hit the ground running when I started the degree at York University. It gave me a strong foundation in the subject area and the chance to get back in the swing of learning and being assessed”.

Dora loved the design of the modern College and the Science department, which is on the very top floor of the building, ‘near the sky and a bit removed’. Her small classes meant she had a lot of one-on-one mentoring from the tutors, and she also made the most of the facilities outside of the lessons, regularly visiting the on-site beauticians and attending Tai Chi classes. Dora naturally progressed onto the University of York after her year at College, and graduated with a first class degree in Environmental Science in 2013. She is now working at a vineyard in East Sussex making English sparkling wine, as well as conducting research into various management trials.


Andy Calvert - Sports Therapist

FdSc Sports Therapy 

Beginning his time at York College back in 2003, Andy Calvert describes his first few years with us as having a ‘colourful course history’, before finding his feet in the Sports department. Not sure of what he wanted to study, York College were supportive in allowing Andy to try various routes from an IT practitioners course, to a stonemasonry course, to a year of A Levels, all of which he failed. He then decided to enrol on the sport and exercise science BTEC diploma on a probationary enrolment (due to his three years of failing various courses), and he went on to gain the highest grade of triple distinction as well as a ‘Learner of the Year’ award. Finding his niche, it took little persuasion from his tutors to encourage him to take on the brand new Foundation Degree in Sports Therapy.

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Andy loved the practical element of the Sports Therapy programme, helping to treat members of the public from the fourth week of the course. Alongside his studies, he often supported the College sports teams providing first aid and injury treatment. Within the first year of the course, Andy gained employment as head of Sports Therapy at Tadcaster Albion FC, and he is currently into his fifth season with the club. After the two year foundation degree, Andy had gained enough skill and experience to start his own business, as well as moving on to the top-up year in Sports Therapy at York St John University. More recently, Andy has volunteered with two local football youth academies: City Football Development (CFD) and York and District School Boys. This experience has led him to gain an internship working with Sheffield United Youth Academy, working with aspiring footballers aged nine to sixteen.

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With such vast experience in sports therapy both throughout his time with the College and within his accomplishments post-graduation, Andy has found his perfect industry. He says: “I accredit all of my success to York College and it’s staff; not only did they support me through the many courses I chose to do, but the teaching was excellent and I learnt the true meaning to the phrase ‘hard work pays off’”.


Kelly Peaurt - International Soccer Coach

FdSc Sports Therapy 

Kelly Peaurt is a shining example of how a York College student can immerse themselves within the College, and utilise every opportunity . She began as a National Diploma Sport and Exercise student, gaining a triple distinction, something which amazingly every student in the class achieved that year. Kelly believes this is down to the tutors providing fantastic support whenever needed, not only within teaching time. The great result was a huge achievement for Kelly, it helped her progress onto the Foundation Degree in Sports Therapy, graduating in July 2012. Alongside this, Kelly gained a VTCT Level 4 qualification in Sports Therapy, on which she says: “The extra qualifications I undertook whilst at the College broadened by horizons and enabled me to boost my CV”.

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It wasn’t just the courses on offer at College that Kelly made the most of; she also used the facilities and various other opportunities to get as much out of her experience that she could. When she wasn’t in the classroom, she was football training or playing other sports the College provided. Kelly says: “The facilities were amazing, the sports hall was a great size, the 3G pitch was awesome, we had everything we needed to train and move forward in our sport and course. The main thing that appealed to me about coming to College was the Football Development Centre. I was, and always have been, a football fanatic, so the prospect of being able to combine training, playing and studying was exciting for me.” Whilst at the College Kelly managed to secure a job with North Yorkshire Girl’s Centre of Excellence, an opportunity made available to her through a tutor, which led to several more fantastic coaching opportunities.

One of Kelly’s highlights was being given the opportunity to work in Cyprus over the summer after her first year at the College, which she says was an ‘enriching and life changing experience’. Kelly even got a job at the College itself as a Leisure Assistant during her time here, which she found great for meeting new people and developing new contacts. After her two months in Cyprus, Kelly had truly caught the travelling bug, and her time at York College resulted in many incredible job opportunities across the globe since leaving last year.

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In her own words: “After finishing my degree I travelled to Mexico to work as a football coach, gym leader and PE teacher. I worked in schools and at the West Ham United Academy. I thoroughly enjoyed my ten months over there. I was mainly coaching young players and the Varsity girls (who were the best high school team in the area). My time there enabled me to make many contacts and I had several job offers across the country. I left Mexico in June 2013 and made my way to Biarritz, France, to be part of a sports therapist team working on the Masters' Roller Hockey World Championships for all of the international teams. I had previously worked with them in Italy in 2012 and Beroun, Czech Republic, in 2011. Through this I worked in a number of charity tournaments and have been invited to many more.

Just after I returned home to England I was offered a football coaching job in Chicago, Illinois, so I came over to Chicago in August 2013. I currently work with four teams as part of the Chicago Fire affiliated club set up. My role as Goalkeeper Specialist means I am in charge of putting together a development programme and of delivering the sessions to all the goalkeepers in each of the 24 teams within the club. I'm also now the U13 girls coach.. Without the contacts I made in the College I would never have been approached about these opportunities and wouldn't have ever dreamed of doing a job I love in another country. I would like to personally thank my tutors for providing me with the opportunity to work with many great athletes.”

From day one Kelly loved York College; she lived in Northallerton and commuting every day didn’t put her off as she enjoyed every minute of being here. Kelly was really impressed with the York College staff, telling us they were by far the best teachers and colleagues she's worked with! “Their dedication, hard work and excellent teaching skills inspired me, and this is reflected in the high marks students achieve every year”. Anybody considering a Sport course at York College can truly look to Kelly as an inspiration, she has embarked upon a fantastic journey since graduation.


Lisa Fenwick - PE Teacher and Sport Researcher

FdSc Sports Therapy 

Made redundant after fifteen years in the banking sector, Lisa Fenwick decided it was an opportunity to pursue a career in an area she had passion and excitement for, and this was sport. As well as having a strong desire to return to education after leaving school at 16, Lisa knew this was essential if she were to achieve a successful career in a different industry.

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Lisa found that York College was ideal for multiple reasons: The tutors were flexible around her busy family life, she felt settled and comfortable as someone that had not been in education for a long time amongst younger students, and she was offered fantastic opportunities such as working with the College’s 1st football team and travelling around the country with the squad. Alongside this, Lisa found the sports facilities were excellent, especially the Sports Injury Clinic, which offered a great service whilst enhancing the learning experience for Sport students.

After graduating from York College, Lisa progressed to Leeds Metropolitan University to complete a one year top-up course to gain a BSc in PE. She was then offered a full-time position at Ampleforth College, where her role within the Sport, Physical Education and Activities department includes leading cross country, triathlon events, swimming and athletics. Her time at York College, as well as her year at Leeds Met, also sparked Lisa’s love of academia and research, and she is currently working within Research and Insight at the Amateur Swimming Association at Loughborough University, providing data and findings around motivations and barriers within swimming. Multiple articles Lisa has contributed to have been published. Lisa says: “Working in both research and education uses my knowledge and experience of lifelong participation in physical activity to help young people.”

Lisa is also a freelance sports journalist, writing about all things fitness with a clear, fun and interesting tone whilst also remaining informative. Publications Lisa has contributed to have included SportSister, ACCA magazine and her own creation ‘LOVESTORUN’, in which she also offers personal training and sports therapy services. Alongside her professional career, Lisa has also achieved many personal goals such as completing the British Relay Championships two years running (2011/12), the Chester Marathon (2012) and the Virgin London Marathon (2012). Lisa is a fantastic example of how a hobby can become a career, using York College to kick-start the conversion.


Matt Hindmarch - Sports Therapist

FdSc Sports Therapy (Graduated 2011)

After graduating from Leeds University with a 2:1 honours degree in Mechanical Engineering, followed by ten years work experience as a Firefighter with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Matt Hindmarch decided on a change of direction and began seeking the pathway to a career in Sports Therapy. His time as a Firefighter obviously gave him a great insight and experience in first aid procedures, and dealing with various injuries gave him the inspiration for this career move. Matt decided that the foundation degree in Sports Therapy at York College was perfect, especially as he could complete the course part time over three years whilst continuing to work full time as a Firefighter.

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Matt found the tutors at York College really approachable and knowledgeable in their subjects, and he found the other students on the course so welcoming. The course group often arranged social nights out, which Matt says was like reliving his earlier student days. As well as the FdSc, Matt gained a VTCT Level 4 qualification in Sports Massage alongside his course, making the most of the extra opportunities York College offers its students.

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Since graduating College in July 2012, Matt has pursued a successful career in sports therapy, working with both professional and amateur athletes across a wide range of sports. His highlights include working as a sports therapist for New Zealand Rugby League international team ‘The Kiwis’ during a Four Nations tournament, providing sports therapy for some of the worlds greatest athletes at the Glasgow2014 Commonwealth Games and working for Adidas at the Virgin London Marathon.

Matt is particularly proud of his very own business ‘The Recovery Zone’, which provides sports massage services at sporting events, as well as running sports injury clinics. His clients have included Olympic medal winners, world champions and British record holders. The Recovery Zone continues to go from strength to strength now cited as Yorkshire's premier events sports therapy service, working with clients at the highest level and even securing some work with Yorkshire's most famous sporting brothers

Matt credits York College as giving him the skills and confidence to head straight into the workplace, and with more experience, set up his own business.


Jodie-Marie Toone

A Levels: Psychology, Sociology, Law, Early Modern History; PGCE 

Jodie-Marie Toone began her York College journey in 2007 as an AS Level student. Little did she know she was about to embark upon a Psychology course which would map her future career and be the reason for her return to the College in 2013.

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After completing her GCSEs at Carlton Holy Family Catholic High School, Jodie-Marie chose to move onto York College where she completed A Levels in Psychology, Sociology, Law and Early Modern History, and an AS Level in German. She instantly took to Psychology, going on to win the Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation Psychology Prize which is presented each year to an outstanding Psychology student in memory of ex-student, Caroline Stuttle.

Wanting to pursue her passion further Jodie-Marie progressed onto a degree at the University of York in Sociology and Social Psychology. Whilst Jodie-Marie enjoyed her university experience, she always missed York College and the phenomenal support she had received from her tutors. When she decided on pursuing a PGCE upon graduation, returning to York College was the obvious choice.

She explained: “I chose the York College PGCE course for a number of reasons. I am particularly interested in teaching at AS and A2 level so the focus of the course on Further Education and Lifelong Learning was perfect for me.

“Being accepted onto the course would also mean I would be able to do my teaching placement with York College itself; something that I knew would be an incredible opportunity. I’m taught in the Psychology department; a fantastic team of professionals which was very well led, and who are supportive of each other. The chance to work with them for a year, while studying in an institution with an outstanding reputation, was very appealing.”

The PGCE programme at the College  certainly lived up to Jodie-Marie’s expectations. She added: “The course has been fantastic - hard work, but worth it! The tuition is excellent, the mentoring system invaluable and being able to work with a range of professionals and students has cemented my decision to teach.

“When I first started the course I never thought I’d be able to actually stand up in front of a class and teach, but thanks to the fantastic support of my mentor, I now know that I can!”

In June 2014, York College was delighted to see Jodie-Marie win the Adult Learner award for the category 'biggest achievement'. On completion of her PGCE, Jodie-Mariemoved onto Selby College, where she gained a full time Psychology tutor post.


Natalie Taylor 

HNC Construction and the Built Environment (Graduated 2013)

After completing a three year apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery at York College, Natalie Taylor decided to continue on to the HNC in Construction and the Built Environment. Natalie found that the practical knowledge she had gained through her on site apprenticeship really helped with her progression on to the HNC, rather than learning everything through books alone. From the beginning of the apprenticeship through to graduating with a HNC six years later, Natalie always found the tutors brilliant and supportive. She had a great relationship with her programme leaders, telling us that although they are extremely busy, they still make time for all of their students.

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Whilst working part-time both at Aldi and delivering pizzas during her studies, Natalie’s tutors told her about a job opportunity as a trainee estimator for a steel company. Natalie was delighted to get the position, and she is happy to have finally found a career she is passionate about. Natalie went on to complete a HND top-up course at the prestigious Leeds College of Building, along with a night course in CAD there, and is now 'topping-up' to a full BSc (Hons) degree in Quantity Surveying at Leeds Beckett University. Natalie describes York College as a ‘fantastic stepping stone’, and we wish Natalie every success in the future.

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