Your browser is unsupported and may have security vulnerabilities! Upgrade to a newer browser to experience this site in all it's glory.
Skip to main content
Sindhu Suravaram 2
Sindhu Suravaram

I joined the College in September 2015 as a Tutor in the Chemistry department and teach across different courses A Level, Applied Science and Adult Education. I joined the College after completing both my PhD (Microbial Fuel Cells) and my Masters (Medicinal and Biological Chemistry) at the University of York. I am lucky enough to teach a subject that I love and enjoy talking to people and knowing where they are going in their lives. I am always keen to make chemistry easier to understand for everyone. I enjoy working for the College as it exposes me to a varied range of students and staff members. I have a very positive and supportive team in the science department. I am always learning and I think the greatest challenge for me is to share my knowledge with everyone. Teaching combines both learning and expressing your learning and that is what inspires me to teach.

Ian Coulson

My name is Ian Coulson, and I am employed as a Tutor of Motor Vehicle Technology at York College & University Centre. I joined the College teaching team after completing 26 years at York Audi as a Master Technician, following time at a Ford Main Dealer and an Independent garage, and I continue to work within the Motor Trade as an MOT tester as part of my Continuous Personal Development, something that is actively encouraged here at York College.

My current role consists of teaching the IMI Diploma in Motor Vehicle Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair, to Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 full-time students, and Apprentices from local garages. It is a very rewarding role, for different reasons at the different levels. To see a Level 1 Student join us with no academic achievement from school, and maybe even after having fallen off the mainstream Academic Ladder, successfully finish the year having completed a number of tasks and enjoying exam success is indeed incredibly rewarding. As is seeing a Level 2 or Level 3 student successfully gain employment in the Motor Trade. Seeing the students come to us as inexperienced 16-year-olds and leave us as 19-year-old adults and being involved in their development over these formative years is very fulfilling.

The job is very demanding, however. Behaviour can be disruptive at times, and having to deal with many health and behavioural issues can be very challenging. You have to be able to occupy and entertain the students for an hour and a half at a time, longer if you are conducting a workshop session. You have to be consistently on your A-Game, and there’s nowhere to hide; you are centre of attention for the entire session. When you get this right though, you ask yourself ‘is this really work!’.

Working at the College has many benefits such as 42 days holiday and membership of the Teacher’s Pension, as well as the chance for CPD and career progression. It is not this which brought me into teaching though, it is the ‘giving something back’ and the chance to inspire and help students realise their potential and to help start them off on the journey of the rest of their lives.

Ian Coulson
Emily grimes headshot
Emily Grimes

When I was in Year 11, I wasn’t sure what I really want to do as a career. Following my GCSE results, I decided to enrol at my sixth form and study A-levels. At the time, I thought this was the best option for myself as it would give me the time to think about my career and get idea of what was out there.

Unfortunetly, I didn’t get the AS grades to continue at Sixth Form. At the time, I was completely lost as to what I could do next. The options I had were either a vocational College course or an apprenticeship. I didn’t have any knowledge of apprenticeships so took it upon myself to research into them. I was really surprised at the variety of apprenticeships on offer and the opportunities they could lead to.

I used the Government, Find an Apprenticeship website to research and apply for vacancies. This is where I found the vacancy of Work Placement Apprentice at York College, studying L2 Business and Administration qualification. I was successful in interview and accepted the offer of employment.

Upon completion of my L2 qualification I swiftly progresses onto the L3 Apprenticeship. The progression developed my knowledge and confidence. I was very fortunate to be offered a promotion from apprentice to Work Placement Officer and was given the responsibility to source and allocate work placement to students, rather than just supporting as an administrator.

In January 2021, I was again, lucky enough to secure another promotion, this time to Senior Work Placement Coordinator. I now have line management and team coordination responsibilities.

My apprenticeships built my confidence, skills and knowledge from virtually nothing, to everything I know today. I am proud to be an ambassador for apprenticeships, have been lucky enough to have been nominated for Apprentice of the year in 2017. I made it through to our Regional final and missed out on going through to the National final selection process. However, I did win the award of The North East, Yorkshire and the Humber Highly Commended Intermediate Apprentice of the Year 2017.

I have also spoken on BBC Radio York and at local business conferences promoting how apprenticeships are beneficial to both the apprentice and the company.

Graham Baker

I first started work at York College in August 2006, initially as a tutor of Motor Vehicle Technology, and then as a Team Leader for Motor Vehicle and Engineering Skills, following a career in the British Army. I joined the army aged 16 as a motor vehicle apprentice, servicing and repairing vehicles. I then moved on to a variety of roles within the army, culminating in a promotion to the role of workshop manager where I was responsible for 180 staff of differing trades and ranks.

My first experience of further education was as an apprentice in an army college. It was during this time I realised how much of an impact further education can have on the lives of so many people. This is something that has always stayed with me and something that I share with the students I teach. Further education gives everyone the opportunity to pursue a vocational career that may not have been offered during mainstream education.

Following a short period away from College, I was fortunate to return in 2014, initially as a Team Leader in Foundation English and Maths, progressing to Deputy Head of Foundation English and Maths. Since 2018 I have held the position of Head of Curriculum.

I feel very fortunate in my current role as not only do I get to work in a great team, I also get to meet and work with students and staff from across the College and learn about their courses and experiences in College.

Throughout my time at College, I have been able to continue to develop my knowledge and skills including being supported through my Certificate in Education and my Degree in Education and Training. I have also recently been supported in training as an Ofsted Inspector. The College is also very supportive of the Veterans community including the remembrance ceremony each year.

I enjoy working at York College as I feel part of a community of professional practitioners who are friendly and supportive and whilst all roles at College can be challenging at times, when you see a student achieve something they did not think possible, there is nothing more rewarding.

G Baker upright
Graham Baker
Alice Makahamadze
Alice Makahamadze
Alice Makahamadze

I left Zimbabwe in 2010 to live in the UK with my husband. I had worked in hotels and had a little cake making business in Zimbabwe.

When I came to the UK I started working as a Support Worker for United Response. I thoroughly enjoyed supporting others, but deep down I longed to work with food again. I decided to enrol at York College as a student and achieved my NVQ Level 3.

My tutors had belief in me and encouraged me to progress my studies, so I applied to Birmingham University to study Culinary Arts Management.

To secure my place on the course, I realised I needed my Maths GCSE, and College helped me to achieve this. After my degree I started working for Jamie’s Italian as a Service Chef, and when this closed down, I moved to the North African Restaurant, Los Moros, and progressed to Sous Chef.

With a young family I was looking for a job that would allow me to spend more time with my family. When I saw the job advertised at York College, I knew this was the perfect job for me. It would allow me to use the management side of my degree, which is something that had been missing in my previous roles, and best off all I wouldn’t be working weekends.

I work alongside the Catering Manager to provide a full in-house catering and hospitality service to our staff and students. Through my upbringing in Zimbabwe, I’m able to bring some diversity to our food offer, and this has been well received by our customers.

This is my first management position, so I have had to figure out what sort of manager I would like to be. I have been well supported by my Line Manager and the College. I have not been here a year yet, and I have already completed an Internal Leadership Programme for Aspiring Managers. (Leading with ambition)

York College is a lovely vibrant place to work. There is a true sense of belonging you can be yourself. I don’t feel I have to strive to be liked because of my colour. At York College you are seen as an individual, where your colour doesn’t matter.

The College values are echoed by everyone who works here; we are all committed to a single cause which is to help our students succeed and I am proud to feel that I am playing my part in this.

Reena Sikka

I joined York college in 2017 in Learning Support department after taking early retirement from teaching. I gave up teaching after 32 years, but still wanted to remain in education. I enjoy working with SEN students so applied for the post of Learning Support Practitioner and was successful.

I work within the lessons with small group of students or 1:1 and can share my skills and knowledge and also support the students in developing their skills. I enjoy the job as I do not have the stress of whole class teaching, instead I am teaching and working with a small group.

It has been an easy transition from a teacher to the LSP role as I am an experienced teacher and enthusiastic and passionate about teaching and learning. In this role I get an opportunity to work across various curriculum areas with a variety of staff and students which is so exciting. And I am still learning.

I was born and raised in India. After studying for my Degree in Psychology and English Literature and Masters in English, I decided to become an English teacher in a secondary school, mainly Years 9-12. An opportunity arose through my husband’s work for us to come to England, so we decided to take the plunge and move. It was a big decision for us to move as we had two small children at the time, but we quickly settled into life over here - this was 23 years ago, and we are still here.

When I came to England I worked as an Advanced Teaching Assistant at Brayton Academy for a year as I wanted to explore the school life over here and this seemed an ideal way to gain some experience of the British school system. Alongside this, I enrolled at Selby College to study a Diploma in IT. I soon realised I wanted to teach in U.K.

I explored online the ways to get QTS, so that I could teach in a secondary school. I applied for a GTP salaried post and was successful in it. I wanted to stay local so I could take care of my young sons and also focus on their upbringing and education. Brayton Academy agreed to support me and got an opportunity to be involved in teacher training programme. After several years working as an IT and Computing Teacher at Manor Academy in York, I decided I wanted a change and in 2017 joined York College.

York College’s values of Success, Ambition, Respect and Care are the ethos I strongly relate to. I appreciate and promote the inclusive environment of the college where staff and students treat each other with respect, and everyone is encouraged to attain their full potential through hard work and resilience.

I thoroughly enjoy working in the Learning Support department. The staff are positive, encouraging, understanding and collaborative. Working with a range of students with diverse needs is so challenging but I find it so rewarding to see them gain new skills and grow into mature young adults.

I have a passion for learning and impart this it to the students I work with. York College is a friendly, encouraging and pleasant place to work where you are made to feel valued. You can openly share your opinions and that is important to me. I love my job at York College.

Reena Sikka
Dave Quinn
Dave Quinn
David Quinn

I was born with Cerebral Palsy and I am also partially deaf and rely on lip reading. In 2006 I applied for the role of Payroll Assistant, which I was the successful applicant following an interview process. I was then promoted to Payroll Administrator in April 2010. And since September 2018, I am now the Payroll Supervisor with full responsibility for overseeing the College’s payroll system worth £15.5M. There are 750 staff on the College’s payroll, so this is plenty to keep me busy!

Since the start of Covid-19 in March 2020, like many other professional services staff, I have been predominantly working from home. This has been really helpful and I actually feel I have been more productive. I have been provided with a full workstation like I have in College.

I am lucky to work with such a friendly and supportive team in HR and thoroughly enjoying coming to work each day. Over the years the College has been incredibly supportive to my disabilities and deteriorating health. They have made a number of changes to help me, including assisting me with an electronic wheelchair. The College has worked with Access to Work to put in place a range of adjustments to help me do my job. This has made a massive difference and enabled me to carry on working.

The College provides great assistance to all people with disabilities; please don’t let any disability put you off applying to work at the College, as you will be well supported.