Painting and Decorating Apprentice Jackson making great strides with support of Nelson and Colne College Group

A chance brush with Painting and Decorating has seen an Apprentice from Clitheroe make great progress in his trade.

Jackson Whalley, 18, is working towards his Level 1 Painting and Decorating Apprenticeship with Nelson and Colne College Group and his Clitheroe-based uncle Simon Thompson of Thompson Décor.

Jackson has not looked back since making the switch from Carpentry and Joinery to Painting and Decorating when he started working with Simon in April last year. He is relishing getting to grips with his new trade working on a variety of Thompson Décor jobs from kitchens and bathrooms to elaborate wall murals.

Simon and Jackson supported Nelson and Colne College Group’s National Apprenticeship Week celebrations when they hosted Vice Principal Alison Rushton during a ‘Back to the Floor’ opportunity, showcasing the Painting and Decorating industry.

Jackson, formerly of Ribblesdale High School, said: “I love Painting and Decorating because every job is different. I think my favourite area of a property to decorate is the hall and stairs as I enjoy the challenge. I also love the satisfaction of finishing a job for a happy customer.

“I’m going to progress through the different levels of Apprenticeships to build my knowledge, skills and experience as I think it is important to do this. Long term, I would like to have the skills and expertise that Simon has and be self-employed.”

Simon said: “I’m grateful for the visit of Vice Principal Alison Rushton during National Apprenticeship Week, as it was great chance to be able to celebrate Jackson’s talent, impact and progress.

“I’m very impressed with the way he is rapidly developing his skills and his attention to detail is strong. For example, I already have the confidence in him to apply finishing coats to doors and other woodwork which is remarkable and very unusual for an Apprentice at Level 1.

“It was also a good opportunity to share how grateful I am for Nelson and Colne College’s Group’s continued commitment to offering Level 3 Painting and Decorating Apprenticeships.

“Not all colleges offer this, but I think it is invaluable for the industry to skill up-and-coming Painting and Decorating Apprentices up to Level 3, and it is a real feather in the cap of colleges that do offer it.”

Alison said: “It was lovely to meet Simon and Jackson and understand in greater detail the work that they do and how we as a College Group can improve the way we support the Painting and Decorating sector and Apprentices working within it, in line with the demands and needs of industry.

“I’m delighted to hear that Jackson is making great strides in his Apprenticeship too and most importantly that he is thriving in a Painting and Decorating environment and is enjoying learning his trade.”

Following the successful merger between Nelson and Colne College and Accrington and Rossendale College, the range of Apprenticeships offered by the Nelson and Colne College Group has expanded.

Sectors in the Group offer include: Business and Professional Services; Catering and Hospitality; Construction Trades and Building Services; Education and Childcare; Engineering; Hair and Beauty; Health and Social Care; Motor Vehicle Maintenance and Repair; Retail, Sales and Customer Service; Sport and Leisure.

The Nelson and Colne College Group is the number one college in Lancashire for employer satisfaction, based on the government’s FE Choices Employer Survey.

If you are interested in starting an Apprenticeship with the Nelson and Colne College Group, please contact the Apprenticeship Team today by calling 01282 440319 or visit

New Centre Principal to lead multi-million pound transformed Accrington and Rossendale College

Progress on the multi-million pound transformation of Accrington and Rossendale College’s facilities is continuing apace, and a new Centre Principal has been appointed for the campus.

Morag Davis, Assistant Principal for Technical Curriculum across the Nelson and Colne College Group, has taken up the position and will be the designated lead from the Group’s Senior Leadership Team for the Accrington site which is currently undergoing £4 million of improvements.

This includes brand new industry-standard Hair and Beauty salons, innovative study spaces, a revamped specialist Learning Resource Centre, dedicated Learner Services and Careers areas and a remodelled and modern student Refectory. Coming soon is the redevelopment of the Construction and Technology building and transformational green space creation to enhance the campus environment.

Within the newly-formed Nelson and Colne College Group, Accrington and Rossendale College has been positioned as the Technical and Skills Centre because of its strong reputation for delivery of vocational and technical training, with Nelson and Colne College sitting as the Sixth Form and academic centre within the organisation.

Morag has been with Nelson and Colne College for 18 years, beginning as a College Lecturer before working her way up to Head of Division for Creative and Digital and then the Assistant Principalship role.

She also has experience of leading on projects on outstanding teaching, learning and assessment, working with the Department for Education on a national communications strategy group and writing for national subject journals and publications on a range of topics.

Morag said: “I am extremely excited about the plans for Accrington and Rossendale College, and progress on our £4 million campus transformation has already changed the feel of the site, creating a new advanced and specialist curriculum plans in place, and the collaboration with our ‘Outstanding’ partner College, Nelson and Colne College.

“I am passionate about the importance of vocational and technical qualifications and curriculum in preparing East Lancashire’s young people for their future, and ensuring they develop the essential industry-focused skills and knowledge that our evolving economy and society need.

“I am currently working closely with the Department for Education in leading the introduction nationally of new ‘gold-standard’ T Level qualifications, developed in collaboration with employers and businesses and which will launch in Education & Childcare and Digital at our College later this year.

“Here at the Group we are committed to a broad curriculum offer for students across East Lancashire and beyond. We continue to increase the range of high-quality education, training opportunities and progression routes available to students, and strive to create a College that raises aspirations and shapes future career choices among our young people.”

Accrington and Rossendale College’s doors will open up to visitors again on Monday 10 February between 5.30pm and 7.30pm for the final Year 11 Open Event of this academic year.

This is another chance for prospective students and parents to come and discover what life is like at one of the top 10 colleges in the country for Level 3 learner achievement and Apprenticeship achievement, and a College which is being significantly improved with £4 million of investment.

Accrington and Rossendale College is in the top 10 colleges in the country for 16-18 timely Apprenticeship achievement, at all levels, and classroom learning achievement at Level 3. The College improved by 50 and 91 places, respectively, in those measures in the 2019 National Achievement Rate Tables published by the government.

If you would like to apply to study at Accrington and Rossendale College, contact 01254 389933 or visit