Angel of the North


Gateshead College delivers:

  • Summer taster programmes in around 20 vocational areas.
  • Programmes aimed at NEET Young People run throughout the year
  • Pre 16 bridging programmes in a range of areas.
  • Transition support programmes for young people with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities

Gateshead Learning and Skills, offer:

  • Taster programmes for young people joining  Alternative Education
  • Preparatory Programmes for Post 16 provision


  • ALD deliver  tasters in Hairdressing for post 16 learners
  • Gateshead Council Ethnic Minorities and Traveller Achievement Service run a long transition programme for young people with ESOL needs in Year 11 who are planning to move into post 16 education.
  • Gateshead Young Women’s Project run a bridging programme that supports young people into post 16 learning.
  • The Jewish Community Council of Gateshead, runs programmes for disengaged male and female learners and pre apprenticeship programmes for Young Women.
  • Gateshead Council Sparc Team arranges supported work experience programmes and specialist provision for individual learners.
  • TCV run a range of taster programmes in Vocational areas

Contact Details for Gateshead Council Sparc Team

Rob Wedgwood

Integrated Youth Support and Key Worker

Tel: 0191 4338613

Karen Ruddick

Integrated Youth Support and Key Worker

Tel. 0191 4338755

Steve Young

Integrated Youth Support and Key Worker

Tel. 0191 4338755

Terry McPartlan

Gateshead ESF Sparc Manager

Tel. 0191 4338753

Gateshead Council – Sparc Team

The Gateshead Sparc Team have worked together for almost 6 years offering a wrap around support service in Gateshead. The team is multi-disciplinary with experience in Connexions, Youth Offending, Family Intervention, Teaching, Educational Welfare, Youth work and Probation as well as work with Care Leavers.


The team has links with named contacts in all secondary and special school and academies as well as all of the Educational support teams within Education Gateshead and Learning and Children, Youth Offending, Looked after Children, Young Carers and others.


The Sparc Team are all qualified to at Least Level 4 in Careers Education and Guidance or Information, Advice and Guidance. The team plans each year with schools to identify young people who are disengaged from regularly timetabled activities. This allows for young people who are disengaged from school to be easily identified and for a thorough assessment of need to be prepared.


The assessment is designed to identify issues and also to support transition into post 16 education and training via a comprehensive IAG process.


Most post 16 referrals come via providers, but the team actively encourages referrals from Connexions, Youth Contract, YOT, Leaving Care and other organisations.


Support is differentiated according to need and may involve transports to and from training, individual mentoring, intensive logistical and IAG support, conflict resolution and support for progressions. Sparc team members work closely with other professionals through the CAF and TAF process and in supporting Personal Education Plans for Looked After Young People.


Sparc can advise and support training providers and others to design programmes and tailor provision to meet individual need. Team members can also link with outside specialist support agencies where required. The Team monitors quality of provision, paperwork and other aspects of delivery. Sparc has now been audited on three separate occasions by SFA audit and once by European Social Fund Auditors and the Team is skilled in identifying issues and problems.


Current Gateshead provision is delivered via Gateshead College, Gateshead Learning and Skills, ALD, EMTAS, Gateshead Young Women’s Project and the Jewish Community Council of Gateshead, as well as directly through the Sparc Team. The team is hoping to expand the range of providers in Gateshead.


Central to the work of the team is support for progressions. Essential to the success of our Pre 16 programmes is establishing a contract with schools whereby referrals onto the programme for young people who are disengaged from school will only be accepted if the school agrees to support a suitable progression on completion of the ESF programme.


This has worked very successfully and helped to achieve 87% achievement and 85% progression in the 2011/13 programme.


Success stories include the establishment of a comprehensive mentoring and support project within the several Jewish schools in Gateshead, built around reintegration and support for transition. This has enabled the Rabbis to greatly improve outcomes for young people. The Jewish Community Council of Gateshead has coordinated a range of interventions and individualised learning plans under the banner of “NEETZOTZ” which is the Hebrew translation of Spark.


Again in the Jewish Community the Team has worked with the Jewish Girl’s High School to establish a preparatory programme for young women who want to gain experience as Teaching Assistants in Schools. Employment opportunities for Orthodox Jewish women are limited and this programme has proven very successful.


The Summer programme with Gateshead College has helped to radically alter the way in which “non traditional” students are supported in entering the College. The Team supports a two week taster programme aimed at familiarising young people with the College and allowing them a taste of a vocational area and the College’s own expectations. The programme was run originally as a discrete ESF provision, but has now developed into a college wide programme allowing prospective students to experience college. This is entirely down to the success of the ESF method.

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