November 2018 - Capital City College Group
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MP and Shadow Brexit Minister Keir Starmer meets WestKing students

Labour MP and Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer visited Westminster Kingsway College’s King’s Cross Centre last Friday 23 November and spoke to A Level Politics students about Brexit as a deal becomes imminent.

Keir was greeted by CEO Roy O’Shaughnessy and Principal of Westminster Kingsway Kim Caplin. He was then met by A level Government and Politics lecturer, Regine Pilling, who chaired a 45 minute Q&A in the college’s theatre, in which students were free to ask Keir anything politics related.

When asked “What do you think about lowering the voting age to 16?” Keir threw his weight behind the idea, saying that as 16 year olds could pay tax, have a baby and do a host other things, they should be able to vote too.  You can hear more of his thoughts here:

Keir Stamer was elected in 2015 as the MP for Holborn and St. Pancras. In October 2016, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn appointed him Shadow Brexit secretary in addition to his responsibilities as an MP. Meeting someone so influential in UK politics is a great opportunity for students to widen their knowledge and learn from one of the best in this field. The Q&A was perfectly timed just days after Theresa May revealed her deal with the EU. A Level Government and Politics lecturer Regine Pilling organised the visit. She said: “It’s vital that our students hear from those who are making the decisions that affect their lives. Holding a Q&A with Keir Starmer enabled them to ask questions and find out what is really going on with Brexit, trust in politicians, and the role of political parties in the UK. This enables them to make up their own minds and, hopefully, be more engaged with politics.”

The talk concluded with Keir promising to visit the college again, and proposing work experience opportunities for students and a trip to parliament which excited the students.

CCCT help Camden’s cab drivers stay on the road

Capital City College Training – the specialist training arm of Capital City College Group (London’s largest group of further education colleges) teamed up with the Surma Community Centre in Camden to provide training that local minicab drivers need to renew their Private Hire Driver licences.

As Teacher Therese BouAntoun explained: “Transport for London requires all minicab drivers to prove that they have good English language skills in speaking and listening, as well as reading and writing.  When the Surma Centre asked us if we would provide the qualification that the drivers needed, we were happy to help out.”

The learners were all local to Camden, are from various ethnic backgrounds and are self-employed. Capital City College Training delivered two courses of eight weeks each, to a total of 36 drivers.

Nassar Ali, Strategic and Operations Director for the Bengali Workers’ Association (BWA) which runs the Surma Centre said “BWA’s close links to the community means that we are able to recognise the unmet needs of local people and fill the gaps in service provision.  This is exemplified by the achievements of the minicab drivers, where we worked with them to find a solution to TfL’s requirement for them to prove that they had the required English language levels to continue to earn a livelihood and support their families. Our partnership with Capital City College Training helped to come up with a solution for the unmet needs of minicab drivers.”

All the students were extremely happy to have passed their course first time. Jahdur Chowdhury, one of the successful students said: “I enjoyed the course so much I referred a friend. I learned a lot, the main reason I did the course was to get my private hire driver’s license but I improved my English too.”

Teacher Therese BouAntoun praised the class by saying “The class were very serious about passing the course. They worked hard throughout Ramadan – when fasting often places extra pressures on Muslim learners – completed all the homework I set and were happy to stay late and study. They enjoyed improving their English as well as passing the test.”

Delegates from USA and China visit WestKing

It has been superpower fortnight at Westminster Kingsway College, as the college has hosted delegations from both the USA and China.

12-16 November was ‘USA Food Week’ at our Victoria Centre and, on 15 November, Robert Wood Johnson, the United States ambassador to the UK visited the campus to celebrate the week. While he was with us, Ambassador Johnson had an American-themed lunch cooked and served by our 2nd and 3rd year students, and inspected our teaching kitchens.

Our School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts creates a new themed menu each week for our Escoffier Room restaurant and for USA Food Week, we sourced high-quality American ingredients to create a delicious American-themed menu, including wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, Alaska king crab, striploin beef, clams, pumpkins and California prunes, as well as a selection of American wines and craft beers.

And on Monday 19 November, Victoria hosted a 23-strong joint Chinese and British delegation including representatives from the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China; The Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security; the Chinese Embassy in London and staff from the UK Government’s Department for International Trade’s China team. The Chinese Government is committed to vocational education and wants to promote education and industry cooperation, and develop further education and lifelong learning. The Chinese delegation, who were accompanied by an interpreter, were on a tour of educational facilities around the UK. Like many international delegations visiting Britain in recent years, Westminster Kingsway College was a vital stop on their itinerary.

The group were greeted by Roy O’Shaughnessy, Chief Executive of Capital City College Group, and had lunch in the Brasserie, the second of the restaurants in the Victoria centre. After lunch, the group were led on a tour of the Victoria Centre before various meetings with different members of Westminster Kingsway College staff with the aim of finding out more about vocations courses and how they are taught in the UK.

Capital City College Group awards staff above-inflation pay rise

Capital City College Group’s Governors have agreed an innovative pay award for the Group’s staff, which staff will receive before Christmas.

The agreement, which has the endorsement of both the UCU and UNISON unions, will see all staff currently paid less than £55,000 per year receiving a 5% pay rise. Part-time staff including hourly paid will get their rise pro-rata. Senior management staff paid between £55,000 and £76,000 will receive a smaller rise of 3%. Both rises will be backdated to September 2018.

Executive staff paid more than £76,000 will not receive a pay rise.

Group Chair Alastair da Costa said: “It’s widely accepted that the further education sector has been under-funded for many years – resulting in a situation where staff have been under-paid too. We want to do something about this and we are fortunate that as a Group with some financial strength, we are in a position to do so.

“At the same time, there has been much talk in the sector and the media about pay gaps between different groups, including organisations’ executives and their staff. We are happy to be able to start to close this gap, by adjusting our pay award so that lower-paid staff get a proportionately larger raise than their higher-paid colleagues.”

Vice-chair of the UCU union’s further education committee and local lead negotiator Sean Vernell, said: “The UCU have campaigned for many years for fair pay for FE staff, and we are very happy that the Capital City College Group has agreed to make this pay award to all its staff. We are pleased that our local campaigning led to the Group negotiating positively with us. We hope that this is the start of a more constructive relationship between the Group and the union.”

Chief Executive of the Collab group Ian Pretty, said: “Retaining high quality teaching staff in our colleges is vital if we are to boost skills so that our economy can thrive. So it is welcome that the Capital City College Group – London’s largest college group – can reward its staff with an above-inflation pay rise.”

Daniel returns to talk to WestKing students

On 19 November 2018, former WestKing student Darrell Sharpe returned to our Victoria Centre to talk to twenty Business students about their careers.

After leaving school aged 16 and working in a number of jobs, Darrell returned to education to improve his career prospects. He studied the Access to Higher Diploma in Business at Westminster Kingsway College which allowed him to progress to Nottingham Trent University, where he studied accounting. He graduated in 2017 and is now a Mandate Monitoring Analyst in Trade Compliance at Aviva investment and is part of the Investment 20/20 programme there.

Investment 20/20 is a careers programme which helps individuals learn about the opportunities available in the investment management industry. The programme provides information, advice and guidance about school leaver and graduate trainee programmes across their 39 partner companies and run a vibrant network for trainees with regular events and a trainee forum. Westminster Kingsway have started working with Investment 20/20 and, following an intensive recruitment process, six of our Business students have won places on the programme.

In his talk to the college’s Business students, Darrell explained how to get into the sector through school leavers schemes, intern and sandwich courses, graduation training schemes and apprenticeships. He went onto tell them about the work he does at Aviva and answered questions about his career. Darrell’s key take-away for the students was: “You don’t necessarily need to go to university to get the job you want.”

Darrell’s old tutor Mary Dolan said: “This was a great opportunity for the students to meet someone like them who has done so well.  Darrell said: “It was great to come back to the college, see old tutors and inspire the next generation. It’s very rewarding for me to be able to share information about the opportunities available in the investment industry”.

WestKing lecturer launches book in time for Christmas

Westminster Kingsway College Chef Lecturer Jose Souto celebrated the London launch of his latest book “Feathers: the Game Larder” on 12 November.

At a reception held at the college and attended by 150 people from the food and drinks industry, including restaurateurs, suppliers, game dealers, former students of the college and journalists, Jose was on hand to sign copies of the book. He was joined by well-known food photographer Steve Lee, who shot the dozens of beautiful photographs in the book and some of the chefs who contributed their favourite game recipes.

The book explores all aspects of feathered game (pheasant, duck, grouse and other game birds), including how to prepare them for eating and how to cook them. The book includes over 50 recipes featuring game, from dishes that would grace a top restaurant’s menu to pheasant kebabs. Some of the recipes were contributed by ex-Westminster Kingsway student Sonny Lee, whose father is Steve Lee, the book’s photographer.

Feathers: the Games Larder

Jose said: “Game meat is one of the healthiest meats you can get. Game animals and birds are wild and can roam freely, so the meat is very low in fat and saturated fat, and it’s a good source of Omega-3, as well as iron, zinc, vitamins B(6) and E, and selenium.  It tastes amazing too!

“However, the many benefits of game meat aren’t well understood, so I’ve made it my mission to educate the trainee chefs who learn their craft at Westminster Kingsway, so, when they move into the culinary and hospitality industry, they will take their knowledge and passion for game with them.  I also hope that, through this book, the public can gain a better appreciation of this versatile meat and its health benefits.”

Published by Merlin Unwin, Feathers: the Game Larder (Hardback, 246 pages, price £25) is available from bookshops and Amazon now.

CCCT float through London with Canary Wharf

Last Saturday, 10 November 2018, Capital City College Training (CCCT) floated its way through Central London alongside Canary Wharf and a host of other employers they work with, at the Lord Mayor’s Show.

Now in its 803rd year, the Lord Mayor’s Show is an annual ceremony, where participants march through the City of London, to celebrate the inauguration of the new Lord Mayor. This year 148 groups were in the procession, representing the military, companies, community organisations, charities, employers in the City of London, universities and colleges.

Jackie Chapman, Operations Director for CCCT, said “We were really proud to walk with our apprentices in the show. Too many people still have a misconception about apprenticeships and the event gave us the opportunity to show the breadth and depth of the offer.

“Our apprentice ranges from new 16-year-old entrants into the world of work, to mature individuals who were improving their career prospects by continuing learning at higher levels. They are on apprenticeships from Level 2 Business Administration, through Level 3 Engineering to Level 4 Accountancy and are both a credit to their employers and the college.

“We hope that the event will encourage more individuals and employers to continue apprenticeships as an excellent pathway to skills and career development.”

The CCCT float had an imaginative design showing the benefits of apprenticeships and was staffed by apprentices from a range of companies that CCCT partners with.  Special thanks to employers and apprentices from; Horbury, Alstom, Siemens, North Middlesex Hospital, London North Eastern Rail, Eurostar, Hitachi, Canary Wharf, Joe Brennan Training, Berkeley Group and Cheapside for all of your help and enthusiasm on and around the float.

The Escoffier Room hosts war veterans’ lunch

The Escoffier Rooms restaurant at Westminster Kingsway College hosted its annual lunch for over 20 members of the Army Catering Corps Association (ACC) yesterday, Thursday 8 November.

In what is an annual tradition, the ACC meet on the Thursday before every Remembrance Sunday. They first attend the opening of the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey and then move on to Westminster Kingsway College for the lunch. Some of the members of the Association are Westminster Kingsway College “Old Boys” and the ACC have always maintained close links to the college.

One of the “Old Boys” Geoffrey Acott MBE GCGC trained at Westminster Kingsway’s culinary school from 1962-64 and completed the Hotel Chefs Course. After earning his diploma he worked in various establishments in the West End of London including the Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly and The Institute of Directors, Belgravia.

After his time at the then Westminster Technical college, he joined the British Army in 1968 as a Private soldier and served in the catering function of the British Army for 25 years, reaching the rank of Captain. He then joined the Ministry of Defence as a Senior Instructional Officer for a further 17 years.

During his time at Salons Culinaire, the UK’s largest and most prestigious chef competition programme, he won numerous medals and awards.  In both 1978 and 1979 he was a senior member and trainer of the US Army Grand Prix winning team at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago.

Mr Acott said “Despite all my achievements, coming here (Westminster Kingsway College) was the best thing I ever did; it set me up for everything I did.”

In 2013 he was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the Hotel and Catering Industry.

CONEL Alum Recreates Mona Lisa From Leftover Food Sauces

CONEL alum, Molly Napier-Doyle, 18, has recreated the Mona Lisa using sauces and burger leftovers. Molly, who now studies art at our sister college, The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, produced her version of the famous Leonardo Da Vinci painting while out for a meal with friends at her local pub.

They were enjoying burgers and cocktails when Molly began to play with the leftovers on her plate at the pub in Holloway Road.

Using the straw from her drink, she shaped the ketchup, mayonnaise, brown sauce and mustard to produce a copy of the classic work of art.

She also produced another portrait of her idol, Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, using leftover limes, tomatoes and lettuce leaves.

Molly, who studied at the Royal Drawing School for nearly 10 years, said: “It was just a whim – I was having fun with my friends in a pub and thought it would be funny for the waiters to see that when they came to collect the plates.”

Molly’s friends drew the attention of the chefs, who proceeded to take pictures of her artwork, which quickly gained notoriety and was picked up by the media..

The story of her food artwork was covered by The Sun, LADbible and an Indonesian website called detikfood, as well as featuring across social media.

She added: “Frida Kahlo is a face I’m very familiar with because I paint her a lot and I thought that would be a fun one for me. Frida Kahlo is definitely one of my favourite painters. I know that the Mona Lisa is such an icon and because Da Vinci is such an old master, I thought it would be funny if it were re-done out of ketchup.”

Molly was a Key Stage 4 student at CONEL where she won a seasonal greetings card competition in December 2015 and received an Excellence Award in 2016 for her achievements at the college.

At the time, she said: “I found all my teachers to be very qualified in their subjects and really enjoyed my lessons and coming into college every day. They gave me great one to one support when I was stuck and were absolutely brilliant. Overall, my time at CONEL was a fantastic experience.”

CONEL’s Superstar Staff

Jonathan Silman and Darran Brown, who work at The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, have received recognition for contributions to their fields by the college.

Jonathan is the Head of School for Sport, Public Services and Key Stage 4 at CONEL. On Thursday 4 October he was presented with the Newham Community Project of the Year Award sponsored by the University of East London (UEL) at the Newham Awards, for his amazing contribution to the local community.

Jonathan has set-up and runs a borough-wide football programme that offers young people free football activities. Based at the Olympic Park in Stratford, the programme allows people of all backgrounds and abilities to train for free in the local E20 community.

Jonathan said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to UEL for choosing us to receive the award. I’m delighted for all the volunteers; including the work experience learners from CONEL and coaches, because without them, the free football project wouldn’t be possible. A massive thank you to all 750 members that have attended and currently attend. This achievement is for them.”

Darran Brown teaches Public Services at CONEL and specialises in working with people with physical disabilities. Darran is collaborating with Sports Able – a company that aims to promote training fitness instructors who provide a service to clients with disability. They enable the client through health and fitness activities regardless of their disability. Darran and SFE Academy enable the integration of disabled and able-bodied people via training.  His work has been recognised by mainstream health and fitness Workout Magazine, a nationally recognised industry standard magazine.

Darran aims to bring in more equipment and training to our learners to facilitate training sessions with Sports Able at the college.

Queen's Award for Enterprise