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21.06.22 – New Principal at NSCG, Young Traders Market Winner, Beware of Scams

Written by on 21 June 2022

Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG) is pleased to announce the appointment of Craig Hodgson as Principal and Chief Executive. Craig will step-up from his current position as Vice Principal with effect from 01 September 2022, as current Principal Karen Dobson OBE retires at the end of this academic year.

Following a rigorous two-day recruitment process, the interview panel recommended to the governors that Craig be appointed to the role from September, a decision that was wholeheartedly endorsed by all members of the Corporation Board.

Speaking on behalf of the Corporation, Simon Leech, Chair of Governors said: “I would like to thank the students, staff and governors involved in the recruitment and selection process. It’s an indication of the strength of leadership at NSCG that the perfect candidate to succeed Karen as Principal is one of our own.  Having been with the College for 25 years, Craig is well-known and well-respected by staff, students and key stakeholders alike.  Karen will be a tough act to follow, but we are confident that Craig has the experience and skills necessary to ensure that NSCG maintains its position as one of the leading general further education colleges in the country.  We wish Craig every success in his new role.”

Karen Dobson OBE added: “I have enjoyed every minute of my time at NSCG and feel privileged to have worked with many fantastic learners and an amazing staff team.  I am delighted to be able to hand over to Craig, someone I’ve worked closely with for the last 20 years.  I know that his vast sector experience and relentless drive to achieve the very best outcomes for learners will ensure the College continues to move forward in the right direction.

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Newcastle-under-Lyme’s ‘Young Traders Market’ for 2022 took place on Saturday.  Free stalls were provided for 18 to 30 year olds who are trying to get a business off the ground.  There was a lot of very strong competition, but the winning stall was ‘Abi Through the Ears’ – a stall run by  Abigail Proctor specialising in hair scrunchies, headbands, facemasks and tote bags.    The judges comments were – “The business is contemporary, well-considered, well-branded and popular. Abi has a bright future in business”.     Abi will now trade in the regional finals for the Midlands held at the Wolverhampton Market on Saturday, 13 August.

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With many families facing extra financial pressures due to increasing household costs, people are being warned to be aware of the risks of scams.

Each year, millions of people in the UK fall prey to scammers, although it is thought that less than five per cent report them. An estimated £10 billion is lost to scammers each year.

Scammers will often look to exploit a crisis, as they did during the Covid-19 pandemic, and now Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards service is asking people to remain vigilant.

Officers expect to see an increase in the number of scams relating to offers of help towards energy bills, council tax refund scams, pension pot scams, green homes grants and home insulation scams.

People should always be suspicious of any unsolicited or out of the blue approaches whether via text messages, emails, phone calls, the post or even on the doorstep.

If you feel that you have been the victim of a scam, report it as soon as possible to the Trading Standards team.

Some common scams to look out for include:

  • Text, email and online scams, offering financial support with energy costs.
  • Cloned keys to top up energy credit illegally
  • Companies offering to claim council tax rebates on your behalf.
  • People being offered a cut price deal on their doorstep
  • bogus charity collections.

Other popular scams include online investment offers, bogus bank and HMRC phone calls and texts, online job adverts asking for an upfront fee and fake prize draw winnings.

The reminder comes as part of Scams Awareness Fortnight delivered by Citizens Advice which runs from 13 to 26 June.

Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council said: “Scams Awareness Fortnight is always a busy time for our Trading Standards service as they try and make people aware of the dangers of scams.

“With many households facing increasing household bills and additional financial pressures, we are expecting to see an increase in scams, so it’s vital we do everything we can to stop people from being conned.

“These criminals are clever and can appear very convincing. They will often claim to be from Government agencies, companies, banks and charities, offering help, refunds  or access to financial support.

“But there are some things we can do to help keep ourselves safe. For example, if you receive a suspicious email or text, don’t click on links or attachments.  Never respond to unsolicited messages that ask for your personal or financial details. People should also be wary of unsolicited phone calls or knocks on their door asking for personal information.”

People can find out more about avoiding scams and how to report them at www.nationaltradingstandards.uk/work-areas/scams-team/ or by calling the Citizens Advice consumer helpline: 0808 223 1133