Business student is helping customers to have their cake and eat it after opening her own café enterprise – while still studying

Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College business student Deborah Yeaman is helping customers to have their cake and eat it after opening her own café enterprise – while still studying.

She is also serving up irresistible ice cream, sandwiches and hot and cold drinks after putting skills learned in the classroom into practice at Tynemouth-based Dibbley’s.

The married mum-of-two opened the busy Percy Park Road outlet while mid-way into our one-year HNC in Business course.

Almost two years later, and having progressed on to our higher HND learning programme – and overcoming Covid lockdown trials – her business is thriving.

Deborah started her HNC in autumn 2019 just as she was making serious plans to open her cosy and inviting eating and drinking emporium.

She credits the course with giving her much of the business acumen she has perfected since and which has helped her eatery and bar to thrive in testing pandemic circumstances.

Incredibly, opening Dibbley’s – a nickname she acquired based on a character in the Red Dwarf TV comedy – was once not even on her radar.

She started her career as a hairdresser, before spending ten years as a military policewoman and the same stretch on the beat with Northumbria Police.

Deborah, 50 said:

The HNC and the HND have really helped me to put my business vision into practice. I have learned much about business theory and other key elements which are essential to successfully running my own enterprise. Some of the topics covered in the course I was already implementing day-to-day, but there was many more crucial ideas and support besides. The course has greatly helped me in areas like workplace policies, staff motivation and even how to use social media to maximise customer potential. And getting such expert help from my tutor, Dawn McLean, has also given me a great sense of reassurance that I am going about things the right way.

She added:

I would undoubtedly recommend a business course at Queen Alexandra to anyone who is thinking of starting their own enterprise. If you want to get ahead in business, you really have to take this course, I’d advise anyone to do it. Dawn and my other tutors have always been very encouraging. Over the years, I’ve worked in lots of different arenas, but having my own business is probably more satisfying than anything I’ve ever done. It’s wonderful to be part of a fantastic community in Tynemouth and to be able to give back through a highly appealing café - and to be employing enthusiastic local people.


Queen Alexandra’s HNC in Business has been adapted to support students throughout the Covid pandemic, ensuring learning has stayed on track at all times.

Topics covered in semester one are entrepreneurial ventures, small business project, innovation and commercialisation, and accounting principles. In semester two, they are business and the business environment, marketing planning and processes, human resources, and management and operations




Dawn Mclean, course leader, said the programme, which progresses students on to an HND in Business Entrepreneurship Pathway, is the ideal first step for would-be entrepreneurs.

She added:

It is a pleasure to watch our higher education learners develop throughout their studies. Deborah is a shining example of how to use the programme to develop your business idea and grow it into an established business.

More course information is available from Dawn by emailing or visiting our business studies page.

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