UCNL staff member loses five stone for the Mental Health Foundation


During lockdown, the Estates team member at the UCNL decided to make some positive changes to his lifestyle for the better. After losing a friend to mental health, Jamie looked at his own personal circumstances and challenged himself to look at his diet and fitness and combine this with raising funds for charity. 

Jamie said,

“I never really took exercising seriously before in my life, when I think back, I was overweight and severely lacked fitness. My diet was pretty poor in comparison to where I am now and I have changed myself for the better, no doubt about it. My exercising is a lot more regular, as well as doing my training for the upcoming half marathon event in Boston, Lincolnshire on Monday May 31st. I am also walking a lot more and even using the walking as recovery days before going back in the next day or 2 for another running effort.” 

After starting his own fitness regime initially, Jamie soon enlisted on the help of the fitness app, Couch to 5k. Jamie admitted that he struggled to be able to run for a minute at a time before changing his ways and his dedication has now enabled him to run 13 miles! With his newfound positive mindset, Jamie has also reduced his weight from 18 stone to a much healthier weight of 13 stone!  An initial target was set at £200 but Jamie has already raised over £1000 and said,

“The amount of support from my friends and family to spur me on has been fantastic.” 

Jamie stated,

“My aim of the fundraising is to try and make a difference for the better. I am hoping that my fundraising can help get more people the help they may need. I am hoping more people can be trained up to be in these places of help and support, so for anyone out there struggling can feel like they can talk to someone, when they are feeling down and need some help.”  

He continued,

“I know there are several fantastic charities out there, who do offer help for people who are feeling down and need someone to talk with. I also want anyone who feels down and struggling, for them to be able to think they can speak out about it and that they shouldn’t feel ashamed about it. I know from past experience that coming forward and speaking out about your struggles is the hardest part. I know the lockdowns have had a massive impact on a lot of people’s mental health and obviously it’s a massive concern. I have offered my help and support to a lot of people during this extremely difficult time for everyone. I have tried to make people feel as ok as possible, it’s really an important thing for me.” 

Another ambition of Jamie’s is to inspire people to follow a similar path to the one he has taken and says,

“If I can make a difference that inspires people, then that for me would be absolutely fantastic.”  

Coronavirus News

Thank you students!


We would really like to thank all our students for ensuring your voice was central to decision making around blended learning at UCNL. We had a fantastic response rate for the Online Learning Survey and Student Focus Groups undertaken before the start of the academic year and the data and discussions around were invaluable.
It was reassuring to know that many of the points raised through both mechanisms were points we were already considering, however here are a few examples to show your voice really does make a difference.

You Said

The majority of students understood the current position but didn’t want to completely lose the opportunity for face to face learning and teaching where this could be done safely for all involved.

We Did

Planning was undertaken in a way that considered all modules, and the best way for that module to be delivered. This included consideration for where face to face learning and teaching would be most beneficial. All students will have some level of face to face learning and teaching or contact, this may differ between programmes, depending on the best way to ensure the most beneficial balance of face to face and virtual learning within a blended learning approach. All information was then communicated to students to ensure they were aware of what the new academic year would look like.


You Said

Students needed more information and preparation for the online elements of blended learning and were keen to ensure virtual sessions still had a ‘classroom’ feel.

We Did

We developed sessions for students to introduce online learning platforms before the start of the academic year so that students could familiarise themselves with these. Information was provided during the induction period to ensure all students were prepared to start the academic year, this included consideration of etiquette and we attempted to ensure smaller virtual groups wherever possible to enable effective engagement with all students. Additional support is available for students who still require support from the Academic Support team.

You Said

You were concerned about starting the academic year and the impact of being in a position where we had to go back into lockdown.

We Did

All planning included the need for a contingency plan to be built in, just in case the need for a move back to fully virtual learning was required, to ensure an effective student experience could be maintained. We continue to monitor the situation and are ready to adapt if necessary.


You Said

You valued the Academic Support Team and would like further access to this.

We Did

We have further increased the amount and type of sessions available and communicated the opportunities available to you. Each programme has a dedicated Academic Support team member, as well as access to the wider team where needed.


You Said

You valued the HE learning environment and open door policy.

We Did

We have made all decisions with clear consideration of health and safety. We are working hard on trying to offer space within the HE environment wherever it is safe to do so and to provide opportunities to access staff when needed within these confines. We have also worked hard to build the online community, both at programme level and for UCNL as a whole and all students are invited to be part of the wider community through the Student Society.

You Said

You were worried about how students who were vulnerable could still access a full learning experience.

We Did

Within the planning, each programme considered how virtual sessions and resources could be made available to students if it was necessary to isolate.
Each programme considered the ‘best fit’ for them and we have worked hard to ensure that the technology is available for this to happen.


You Said

You understood there was access to e-resources but still valued the physical resources available in the HE Library and that you missed the ability to look at physical books.

We Did

We worked closely with the HE Library to further enhance the e-resources available and really committed to staff training and development to ensure both staff and students are able to make best use of the valuable resources available. We developed a booking service to allow students to access the library with safety in mind and processes are constantly under review to enable us to provide as much access as is considered safe under the circumstances.


You Said

You really valued the contact and support from staff.

We Did

We thanked them on your behalf and know they will continue to offer this.


UCNL, Phase 1 completed and ready for students


Britcon Limited have been working flat out over the summer to convert the former council head office into Scunthorpe’s very own University campus.

The facilities are being redeveloped in two phases, phase 1 sees the ground floor and first two floors fully converted. Comprising of lecture theatre, Learning Resource

Centre, bespoke classrooms, IT centre, student break out spaces including Starbucks and Alongside these recognisable areas, the contractors have also been installing essential backroom maintenance areas, fire escapes that have been sympathetically installed to the Grade 2 listed building requirements.

Jake Berry MP, Local Growth Minister said, “We are committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the Midlands Engine and ensuring every community has the support and investment it needs to flourish as we prepare to leave the EU on 31st October.

“Thanks to £2.3 million of Government support from the Local Growth Fund, students in Scunthorpe will benefit from state of the art facilities including new lecture theatres, study areas and a new IT centre. This investment forms part of £7.3 million of Local Growth Fund support to build skills in the Greater Lincolnshire area – ensuring that students and apprentices across the region receive the high quality tuition they need to flourish and compete in the global economy.”

Phase 2, set to be completed in Summer 2020, will see the remaining two floors converted into additional study spaces, digital, engineering and construction laboratories and a state of the art conference suite.

New windows and essential roofing improvements have also been made to keep the building watertight for the future, along with a new heating system to ensure occupants are comfortable.

Les Kirk, Head of Capital Project at DN Colleges Group said: “It’s been an honour to be involved in this project. My family have a long standing relationship with the building, having worked in local government, so to be able to be a pivotal member of the team during the renovations has been rewarding.”

Mick Lochran, Principal and CEO of DN Colleges Group said: “We’ve already seen a dramatic increase in local people enquiring about Higher Education programmes through the UCNL in recent months. As a project we knew the location would stimulate interest from the public, especially as the programmes we are offering reflect local and national industry needs. This strong focus on employment means that people can now study locally to gain a Higher Level Qualification that will support them to get their first job, be promoted or to change their career.

Cllr Rob Waltham, Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said: “After transforming the former Civic Centre building with the help of Government funding, seeing the first students start at the University Campus North Lincolnshire is a milestone moment for our area. The UCNL will have a profound effect on shaping the future of North

Lincolnshire, encouraging our young people to achieve their full potential, and supporting local businesses with the higher level skills they need for growth.”

Ursula Lidbetter OBE, Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP said, “It’s very exciting to see progress being made on this new university campus for Scunthorpe.

“University Campus North Lincolnshire will raise aspirations among young people in the area and support local businesses as they look to recruit employees with higher level skills.  It will have a tremendous impact on education in North Lincolnshire in response to the needs of employers and we’re delighted to see the first students enrolled and ready to learn!”

The UCNL has supported local industry through the renovation, with local firm Theaker Joinery winning the bid to recommission the windows, Pogson Decorators led on the painting and decorating and Britcon to lead on the project overall.

Julian Free, Deputy Vice Chancellor of People Services and Operations at the University of Lincoln said: “It is fantastic to see this facility opening and students beginning to arrive.  The University is looking forward to working with DN Colleges Group and local employers to expand the University’s provision and the number of students taking advantage of the programmes the University offers at UCNL.”

New programmes have been launched at the UCNL including a Master’s level course and a HNC Level 4 in Hospitality and Management.  Those hoping to start a Higher Education programme and employers looking to upskill their staff are asked to contact the UCNL team on 01724 294125.


UCNL Students Volunteer in Ghana


The first-ever University Campus North Lincolnshire (UCNL) excursion enabled students to experience another culture and education system, observe and teach classes, as well as help with the building of a new canteen in a local school. The students spent the first night in a guest house in Accra and the rest of the time in the volunteers’ house in the rural village of Woe in the Volta District.

UCNL student Serena Distefano, spoke about her experiences and said, “I will definitely be more grateful for the privileges I have in the UK education system. The people and the children I met were so happy and had amazing spirits, nothing was ever an issue, I will remember how resilient and happy they were and try to foster this attitude more towards my studies and career.”

The group also took a suitcase containing prosthetic limbs as part of the plan for the Charity, Legs4Africa. It contained prosthetic legs for children in need and was collected from the guest house in Accra by Nsawam Orthopaedic Training Centre. They are then given to children who have lost limbs through road traffic accidents and deformities at birth.

Gillian Reid (UCNL Head of Department Health Life and Social Science) said,”It was an amazing week with so many mixed emotions for all of us. I am so proud of all the students who went, they embraced every moment no matter what was thrown at us. They developed great team working skills, supporting each other from start to finish. They experienced communication with children and adults where English is not the first language, and they communicated with each other working together to solve problems.

“They observed and developed their teaching skills, reflecting in action, having to think on their feet. Some also tried their hand at building and painting the new canteen with the £1400 raised through donations from staff, friends and from the community at Grimsby Mosque.

“We fell in love with Ghana, the culture, the people, especially the children, who despite having nothing had so much love to give and were so happy. Every one of us left a piece of our heart in Ghana and brought a piece of Ghana home. Each student who went can’t wait to go back in 2021.”

UCNL have already got plans for their students to participate in another project in Morocco July 2020, where they plan to work with children from disadvantaged neighbourhoods and children with special educational needs and disabilities.

For further information about studying Higher Education locally, contact UCNL direct on 01724 294125 or email


Children’s University Inspires Science Enthusiasts at its Annual Fair


Children’s University aims to engage children from the age of 5 up to 14, providing them with opportunities to get involved in exciting, interactive and voluntary learning activities in and outside of normal school hours.

The Science Fair itself delivered over 60 activities, each with a unique science focus for children of all ages to get involved with.  The UCNL students created their own experiments as part of their graded assessment, which involved them teaching others how to accomplish their task which included walking on eggs, making slime, heart dissections, skittles rainbows, exploding volcanoes, elephant toothpaste, lemon batteries and parachute making.

Zak Barton (10) said, “I’ve really enjoyed the Science Fair and it is really fun experimenting on different things.  I have learnt that you can make fake snow without using chemicals; I also learnt that if you put a see through straw in oil, you can’t see it. I definitely want to come back again.”

Higher Education student, Josh Blake (FdA Children’s, Learning and Development (Learning Support) said, “It has gone down really well with the children, they have had a lot of varied activities to get involved with.  I feel this event has given me a good insight into teaching different ages and abilities.  I’ve loved it, it’s been really good fun.”

If you would like further information about North & North East Children’s University or studying at the UCNL, contact the team via

Coronavirus News

DN Colleges Group Reassures Students During Covid-19 Pandemic


The Group, which encompasses North Lindsey College, Doncaster College, University Centre and the UCNL, have tapped into their digital resources and expertise to keep classes running and support ongoing for students and staff. The digital technology available to staff and students have enabled groups and individuals to embrace new ways of working and delivered sessions efficiently to enable as much of a smooth transition for all involved.

Phil Whitehead (Digital Skills Manager and Microsoft Trainer at DN Colleges Group) reported that DN Colleges Group has 1.5 thousand users on Microsoft Teams per day with 600 individual teams created and said, “I am overwhelmed by the staff at DN Colleges Group who have not only embraced this new way of delivery for teaching staff in a digital way; but who are determined to make this a success for their students.

“We have had to create a whole new way of communicating in a very quick timescale, this has demonstrated the dedication of our staff and for that I am extremely proud of what we have achieved.”

Mick Lochran (Deputy CEO of DN Colleges Group and Principal of North Lindsey College) said, “I am so proud that staff at have moved their classes and support online. It is great to see our digital champions leading the way.”

With exams being cancelled right across the UK, the Group have reassured students but current and prospective that they have their full support in the coming months.

The careers teams across the Group have been on hand to offer advice to anyone due to start in September either as a new student, or progressing internally, “The Careers Team are still accessible to current and potential students. Whatever your circumstances, be reassured there is a place for you. We care about you and want to be available to you, to answer your queries, worries and concerns. We can be contacted by for those based in Scunthorpe, please email or reach out to us via our social media channels.”


HE Engineer Lecturer publishes International paper to inspire the next generation


Meftah completed his PhD in Spectrum Sensory and Cognitive Radio Technology through the University of Hull in 2019, however he is still carrying on with his research in these fields for the University and externally through COST Action (European Cooperation in Science and Technology).

His research on Proposed System Module for Wideband Cooperative Spectrum Sensing with Multi-Bit Hard Decision using Two-Stage Adaptive Sensing, will be used internationally to help improve systems on power saving protocol, improve satellite communications and improve quality of service.

Working at the UCNL in Scunthorpe and University Centre Doncaster, was the motivation for this paper and his desire is to deliver innovative Engineering provision for DN Colleges Group.

He said, “Although I have published a number of papers in the last few years this paper is different, it is the first research paper which will appear under the umbrella of DN Colleges Groups, UCNL (University Campus North Lincolnshire).”

Meftah has already given workshops and presentations to universities in Spain, Switzerland, Lithuania, France and Germany to inspire the next generation and for

scientists to take these findings and make sure that we have systems in place to use Cognitive Radio Technology worldwide by 2025.

He continues to use his findings locally to enhance the way students learn at both the UCNL and University Centre Doncaster and is now working on his next research paper on detecting and filtering multiple drone signal from background noise.

Coronavirus Health and Social Care News

DN Colleges Group Nominated for Top Education Award


Now in their seventh year WUSCA offer prospective students an unbiased, student-led alternative to traditional university ranking systems. The awards are based on averages taken from tens of thousands of reviews submitted by students and published on

DN Colleges Group, which comprises of North Lindsey College, Doncaster College and University Centre and the UCNL in Scunthorpe, has now made it into the shortlisted categories for HE in FE Colleges for three years in a row, winning last year and runner-up the year before, evidencing the excellent experience their higher education students receive.

Debbie Jensen (Head of Academic Programmes, UCNL) said, “We are delighted to have been shortlisted again after winning the award last year. This award is particularly important to us because it is our students who have taken the time to go online and provide the excellent reviews we have received. Knowing that the students value their time with us and appreciate the support provided, means the world to our staff.’

Winners of the awards will be chosen on the night which was due to be hosted by award-winning and BAFTA nominated presenter Claudia Winkleman. The celebration has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak across the UK, but the award winners will be announced as planned.

UCNL Sport and Exercise student Leigh Sharpe said: “It’s quite a big thing, it puts our name on the map. When you study here the lecturers are always available to help you, I would encourage people to come here 100%.”

Steve Johnstone, Director of UCNL adds: “What this demonstrates is that there is a consistent level of support provided to our students. It’s important to us that we create measured growth, but that alongside that we maintain student satisfaction and a great student experience.” To read all the student reviews, visit:

Coronavirus Health and Social Care News

Caring Student Hands over Donations to Frontline Workers


Body Shop Consultant, Emma Devai (28) has already gifted 40 Body Shop hand creams as a donation to ward 22 at Scunthorpe General Hospital and is on track to donate 50 more to other local key workers. The idea came about after Emma has experienced the need for quality hand care when she worked in a caring profession.  

Currently studying at North Lindsey College, Emma is due to start at the University Campus North Lincolnshire in September to study FdA Counselling. Emma is already displaying her caring qualities from combining her part time job to help those in need.   

Emma said, “Having been a support worker for a number of years, I know from experience how sore hands can become from the constant hand washing. I can only imagine how sore front line workers’ hands are right now.  Many nurses have asked to purchase these hand creams, so I decided to raise money to enable me to give them one for free.”  Emma continued, “I didn’t think I would get as many donations as I did, but my lovely customers raised over £200, which helped me to initially purchase 90 hand creams.”  

Emma has selflessly donated all her commission to the cause which was received by staff on ward 22 at the hospital.  Emma has already ordered another batch which will be packaged up to be sent to ward 23 at Scunthorpe General Hospital.  

Student, Emma Devai
Student, Emma Devai who has donated the hand creams.

Shellie Colebrook (26) Senior Healthcare Assistant received the donation on behalf of ward 22 and said, “Thank you so much for the donation of the hand creams, everybody is so grateful for them. We can’t explain how sore and cracked our hands are getting from the PPE, so these are fantastic. Thank you again from everyone.” 

Coronavirus Engineering News

College Teams up with the UCNL to Help Shield the NHS


Darren Farrar (Technician/Instructor Engineering Industrial Technologies, North Lindsey College and UCNL) was inspired to get involved by making PPE after hearing of the shortage with the NHS.

After further investigation, Darren found that people up and down the country have been using their home printers to produce visors and wanted to put to good use the printers that the college own. Students would normally use the printers for creating 3D parts that they have designed for their engineering projects.

Four printers were kept running for ten hours a day at Darren’s home; which produced 20 per day. The process involves spools of plastic PLA filament being melted and extruded which enables the printer to create and print out the visor, one layer at a time to build up the 3D shape.

The visors also had to be sterilised before staff using them on the front line could access them and were split to The visors were split between the community nurses based at Global House, situated within the grounds of North Lindsey College and the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Trust.

The visors were taken delivery by Richard Somerset, MCIPS (Head of procurement at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Trust, who said, “DBTH are very grateful to the team at North Lindsey College for providing us with high quality visors, visors are in high demand and this donation will help massively to protect our frontline staff for Covid 19, due to the high quality of the visors provided these will mainly be used within our Theatres were the demand on visors is highest, we are very grateful to North Lindsey College especially as they went beyond the norm by sterilising the visors as well, thank you very much.”

The creation of the visors has been a team effort, involving the colleges estates team also who had to work alongside Darren to ensure social distancing has been adhered to at all times; and that that the supplies of all the equipment required to create the end product were received safely.

Darren said, “It has been an honour to create the visors, supporting our local NHS by helping out in any way that we can.  We will continue to create them for as long as they are required; helping to protect those that are in need of them.”


UCNL launch scholarship initiative ‘New Perspectives’


The University Campus North Lincolnshire (UCNL) have launched a working partnership with charity Hope Opportunity Trust (HOT) to support local students to access scholarships at public school.

The New Perspectives programme is a joint project led by UCNL, HOT, Royal National Children’s Springboard Foundation, Humber Outreach Programme (HOP), the DN Colleges Group and ONGO. The programme targets local school children from the age of 16, following completion of Year 11, to access scholarships at elite boarding schools such as Eton and Rugby.

The Royal National Children’s Springboard Foundation supports families right across the UK to apply for a bursary to provide full or part sponsorship of their fees which could see them progress onto one of a handful of prestigious institutions.

A number of students in our region who possess good academic abilities along with talents in subject such as music and sport may be able to access these scholarships through the New Perspectives programme, if it can be demonstrated that they would benefit from a boarding education.

Those looking to apply must fulfil certain criteria and be nominated by their current school head.

Simon Henderson, Head Master at Eton College said, “Eton has made school places free of charge to deserving students since our foundation in 1440, we are very proud that there are over 80 boys currently in the school who pay no fees.”

John Denny, co-founder at Hope Opportunity Trust said, “Students with talent, ambition and potential shouldn’t be held back by limited opportunity or personal circumstances.

We have seen the young people who are right for this opportunity exceed their expectations themselves, whatever their background and Eton along with our many other public school partners do a great job of helping them to excel. There’s a really positive knock-on effect in their communities too, as the bar to young people’s ambitions is raised.”

Mick Lochran, Deputy CEO of DN Colleges Group and Principal of North Lindsey College said, “Our Group mission focusses on transforming our communities, as such we’re proud to be the first provider in our region to work with the Hope Opportunity Trust to support local students to access scholarships that will have a measureable impact on their lives.”

Caroline Fielder-Shattell, Head of Access and Participation Development at the UCNL said, “The New Perspectives programme is only possible because of the support offered by our sponsors. It’s with real pride that the team leading on this project are able to bring this to the region and we hope to support a wide range of students access life changing educational opportunities.”

The launch event is open to invited guests only with a wider roll out of the project to the community in 2020.