April 2019 - Capital City College Group
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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Feedback

Capital City College Group has applied to be formally assessed by the United Kingdom Investors in Equality and Diversity (UKIED), the leading national organisational charter mark for equality and diversity.  To find out more about the UKIED please click here.

The assessment will review how well CCCG meets its statutory duties but also how effective Equality Diversity and & Inclusion (ED&I) is in the delivery of services and support to staff, students and relevant stakeholders.

With this in mind, we have produced a short questionnaire to get feedback from our external customers on Equality, Diversity and & Inclusion within CCCG. Please take a few minutes to answer the three questions below:

Business students visit INTUIT offices

On 3 April, Business – Level 3 Extended Diploma students visited INTUIT offices to get a first-hand experience of business development. INTUIT was founded in 1983 and has since grown into a multinational software provider for small businesses, with a revenue of $6.0billion, referenced across insider sites including Forbes and Fortune 100.

INTUIT also make QuickBooks(TM),the world’s number 1 online accounting software with over 3.5 million users worldwide.

Following a tour of the offices, students benefitted from a sit-down conversation with staff to understand how the cutting-edge company provides an exciting, modern business environment for its employees. Students learnt about the importance of company values, and how collaboration works between teams in the professional world.

Trips like this do so much to help bring our Business students’ learning to life and enhance their understanding of the growth in online financial products. Students took a great deal from the trip, describing it as “a real eye opener” into the broader industry, but also expressed great interest in joining the company.

INTUIT marketing executive Julie Trunkfield is keen to ensure that our students are able to use these experiences to drive their ambitions and gain insights into how to develop their career readiness. The week before, Molly Swan from INTUIT attended our ‘Dragons’ Den’ pitching event as a panellist, giving students expert feedback on their own projects.

If you represent a business and would like to get involved, please contact us at wendy.breakell@westking.ac.uk

CONEL Welcomes Professional Footballing Partnerships

Since opening its gates in November 2017, our Enfield Centre’s 3G Sports Pitch has been home to some amazing footballing talent ranging from our very own Charlton Athletic Academy players to local football teams. Of the local teams that make use of the pitch, Jack Wilshere’s NCF Elites (JW’S NCF Elites) has become a regular partner.

As well as bringing some of North London’s top youth talent to Enfield, JW’S NCF Elites has recently invited ex-professional footballers including Tony Adams, Aaron Ramsey, Ashley Cole, and David Seaman along to help coach and inspire the next generation of football. Posting Jack Wilshere to the position of working Director in February 2019, the company – previously known as NCF Elites – has been able to make use of the West Ham & England midfielder’s industry contacts, bringing seasoned professionals along with him to weekly training sessions.

This is what Nick Cook, JW’S NCF Elites Director, had to say about our facilities: “We are delighted to be working with CONEL and the fantastic facilities they have available. They have offered us great support on our journey so far and we look forward to our partnership developing further during the coming months and years.”

Beck Morris talks mental health ahead of London Marathon

At the time of interview, Head of Media Studies Beck Morris is nine weeks into preparing for the famed London Marathon this April. She’s already feeling the burn. “I’m beginning to realise that being in constant pain from muscles and joints I didn’t know I had, is the ‘norm’,” she tells me. 

“I can no longer get up from the floor or a chair without emitting a weird groaning noise (I feel sorry for the people I share an office with).” But she is confident, prepared: “I think there will be a sense of achievement when I’ve done it, as I will be in the 1% of the UK population to have successfully run a marathon.”

Beck has been with City and Islington College for the last 17 years. She’s been head of Media Studies for the last 12, and found her way into running three years ago: “I started running in May 2016 – before that I’d not run more than about 20 metres since I was in school!”

She talks about her chosen charity – the Mental Health Foundation – and Beck explains the rationale: “the focus on prevention resonates with me and the way we deliver discussions around mental health conditions in our tutorials at City and Islington College. 

“I’ve specifically chosen the Mental Health Foundation because of their history of putting effort into research, particularly around identifying and targeting vulnerable groups in society.”

“My real motivation is George, my husband, and Katy & Erica my two best friends. George was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression nearly 5 years ago. Right from the start he was really honest and open with everyone about what was going on, and as a result of this has encouraged others to talk about their mental health conditions. Our local pub has inadvertently become a place for men in our local community to discuss their mental health conditions as a result.”

Beck says she’s currently putting in 35, 40 hours a week into training – and that’s just the running. “My life is just one long boring cycle of working, marking, running, eating and sometimes sleeping if I’m lucky. I run the three miles from Marylebone station to work a couple of times a week in the morning to get in extra miles.

“Marathon training completely takes over your every thought. Everything I do has to be planned around it. It’s a huge commitment. “Oh my God.” she concludes. “What am I doing?!”

If you would like to sponsor Beck, visit her Virgin Money Giving page here.

Statement about Daniel Linsey

“Everyone at Westminster Kingsway College was shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic death of one of our students, Daniel Linsey, in the Sri Lanka bombings on Sunday. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this terrible time, and we are offering counselling and support to those students and staff who knew him.

“Daniel was extremely popular. He joined us in September having completed his first year at another college. He was happy at WestKing and was planning to start university in October.”

Kim Caplin, Principal of Westminster Kingsway College

Media students attend private screening with alumnus Reggie Yates

City and Islington students were out in force on Tuesday night to view four short films by the acclaimed actor, writer, director, documentary filmmaker – as well as City and Islington alumnus – Reggie Yates. Screened at the opulent Ned private members’ club in the heart of the City of London, students attended the screening as guests of the Association of Colleges (AoC).

Interviewed by journalist and filmmaker Leah Green, Reggie was forthright in describing the themes in his work, from masculinity and fatherhood explored in ‘Patriarch’ to the complexities of relationships formed using apps online in ‘Date Night’, and the vulnerability of a young black man wearing an electronic tag in ‘Shelter’ — a theme revisited in ‘Roadkill’, the final film of the evening.

Student Ubayda Basith, 16, asked what advice Reggie, 35, would have for his teenage self, starting out in the filmmaking industry. Reggie reminisced about his journey from Lewisham to City and Islington College each day on a Genaro Moped 125, sporting dreads, moustache and a Bajan blue bomber jacket, as a naïve but self-confident youngster. He concluded: “I simply did not have the same self-awareness that you clearly have, so you will be ten years ahead of me if at your age you just concentrate on what it is you want to do and where you want to get to.”

Also from Lewisham, City and Islington student Skye Weldon commented on a powerful scene from ‘Shelter’ in which the white female character appears uncomfortable sheltering from the rain next to the black male protagonist. Skye asked if the dynamic in this scene could be a racist one as well as a sexist one.  

Reggie responded: “I didn’t give any answers for the scene, I left it open ended. You need to watch it and find the answer for yourself based on your own experience.”

Reggie Yates studied A Levels in Media, Art and Graphic Design at City and Islington College.

‘English is for Everyone’

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Reflections on Capital City College’s Group’s first English conference by Julie Sinclair, Head of Development and Innovation Unit at Capital City College Group

It seems obvious, but everyone needs English skills to manage their lives, their homes and to hold down a job. If you want to progress to any higher level of education beyond Level 1 or 2, or to progress in your career, you need English skills.

According to the National Literacy Trust the latest available data for England (from 2015) suggests that a staggering 1 in 6 adults in England (16.4% or 7.1 million people) have very poor literacy skills. And perhaps more pertinently for FE, a 2016 OECD report found that England is the only country in the developed world in which adults aged 55-to-65 perform better in literacy and numeracy than those aged 16-to-24. Read into that what you will. Many of our students come to us with very low proficiency in English. Many are non-native English speakers who have come to the UK as teenagers and need our support to reach fluency in English, while others have not had a successful experience of secondary education and need a lot of help with re-engaging with education to boost their reading and writing skills.

With a new Ofsted framework from September 2019 expecting more than ever before of students (and therefore of their teachers too) and the new T levels on the horizon, it was high time we gave English teaching the attention it deserved. So, on 22 March 2019, we brought over 90 teachers involved in English from across our colleges together, to discuss how we can improve our teaching of English. Delegates included staff from all 3 of the Group’s colleges (City & Islington College, the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, and Westminster Kingsway College) as well as from the Group’s training arm (Capital City College Training).


The conference’s aims

Our aim was to bring everyone together to hear about changes to reforms, share common challenges and work on sharing strategies to best prepare our learners for Functional Skills and GCSE English. The conference was opened by a welcome and introduction from Andy Forbes, Principal of City and Islington College. Our keynote speaker was Sonia Thomas (London Regional Specialist Lead at the Education and Training Foundation. She stated there are three key issues facing English teaching:

  1. New Ofsted framework

It will place more demands on students and staff, but what does this mean in practice? Are we preparing learners for the next stage of their lives  – either work or education?


  1. T levels (11 industry routes by 2022)

Taking a T level will require at least a level 2 in maths and English, and some routes will require higher than level 2 English and maths.


  1. Functional skills reform

This will be harder than before. Students at each level will have to know more, especially in spelling, punctuation and grammar. This is already happening in primary schools, where pupils of any given age are now expected to be, in effect, a year further advanced than would have been expected of them a few years ago. It’s hard to overstate the importance of English. As we know, if your language skills are poor, your life chances are poorer: it’s as simple as that.


 Watch our video summarising the day, the importance of English and what delegates took away:

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As one of our delegates – Functional Skills and English GSCE teacher Orishia Bojczuk – said: “English empowers learners and allows them to go on to do things in life that they wouldn’t be able to do without it.It also helps them to escape into worlds that they wouldn’t be able to access without English.”

Another delegate told us: “It was good to meet colleagues from the other 2 colleges, and even some who I rarely have the chance to meet in my college.  For me the thing I benefit the most from is hearing about tried and tested methods that other people have tried and see if I can use them too.”

All the conference sessions were rated highly by staff. The most popular sessions were from Pearson’s on the functional skills reform, one on creative writing and the other on stress-busting techniques. 

Stress in particular is a growing area of concern for staff and students, as teachers Orishia and Steve explain in this video:

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Work experience from both sides of the desk

During the February half-term holidays, many of our students took up work placement opportunities, to gain new skills and experience the world of work. For some, it will prove to be vital experience for their CVs.

One of our students, Victoria Freitas Tineo (studying Business), spent a week at the leading London think-tank Centre for London. The week was lined-up by Victoria and Wendy Breakell from Westminster Kingsway College, working with an organisation called S4S: NextGen. Both Victoria and Jonathan Tuck (Senior Operations Officer at Centre for London) have written about her week, in this special guest blog:

Jonathan Tuck

“At Centre for London, we value the development of essential, transferable skills and experiences. Hosting our second work experience placement in February 2019 gave us a chance to curate a thorough and rewarding placement for a London-based student, Victoria Freitas Tineo.

When shortlisting applications via S4S: NextGen (run as part of Speakers for Schools), we actively prioritised selecting students based on specific criteria. These were their previous work experience, existing access to work experience through connections, and overall student need. We felt that the opportunity would be of more overall value to those who wouldn’t normally have access to work experience through their existing connections.

We wanted to introduce Victoria to the organisation, our values and priorities, and our way of working as early as possible during the week – Centre for London is the capital’s dedicated think tank, and we develop new solutions to London’s critical challenges, advocating for a fair and prosperous global city. A lot of our work, through our research and events programme, tries to solve London’s big challenges and think about how we can make our city better. Victoria was inducted into our programme through meetings with various team members, who gave her an insight into our current priorities. During her placement, this was the imminent release of our new report, Culture Club: Social mobility in the creative and cultural industries.

The team were keen to involve Victoria in helping with the preparation for the report launch on 28 February, so she could experience the logistics involved with event planning. Victoria was tasked with searching for photos to use in the event presentation, with guidance from our communications and design team, and collating and organising them for our internal image library. She also helped to identify potential event attendees and was able to explain why, and how their interests might align with the themes of our report. In addition, she helped with uploading our report to our website and quickly learned how to use our website management system. These tasks tested her data and prospecting skills and was useful to our team in their preparation for the report launch.

As well as desk-based tasks, we wanted Victoria to leave the week with some new knowledge. She had the chance to drop in to our internal coaching session; learning valuable skills in communication and peer support. Our research team gave her an introduction to data manipulation using Excel – downloading data, picking out key themes and trends, and then working on how best to present this visually. Victoria also gained a useful insight into the process and stages of recruitment at Centre for London, including advertising, shortlisting, and interviews. She had the chance to look at some example CVs and their formatting, and learnt about easy mistakes to avoid, as well as how best to present her experiences, when tailoring applications to a job profile.

The week culminated for Victoria with presenting a research proposal, assisted by some of our team members. Presenting in front of different audiences is a key skill that will prove invaluable in developing confidence, cooperation and communication.

Centre for London was pleased that Victoria had the opportunity to join us for the week, as well as attending our report launch the following week. It was a pleasure hosting her as our work experience student in February. Think tanks like Centre for London are ideal places to undertake work experience because we have a unique perspective into current and relevant policy challenges. We believe experiences here can help shape both an analytical and creative approach to tasks.”

Victoria Freitas Tineo

“The work experience was just brilliant. Wendy who helps the Business course students with her links to the real world of work and employers, connected me to S4S [the company offering the placement]. She wrote the reference that I needed and I was offered the placement. I was thrilled to get it.

I learnt so much during my week at the Centre for London. I met all the team and they gave me training every day on a new skill to help develop my skills for a career. I learnt Excel which is proving to be useful in my studies as well as in a future junior job.

They took time to help me to complete tasks and my communication and confidence in myself have really improved.

I enjoyed working in a professional environment and it has helped me to think about working in a company like this in a future. I am intending to study International Relations at university and I think this placement will really help me with my UCAS application.

I would like to thank everyone at the company and at the college for their support.”

Founders and Coders lend a hand with software development programme

On Wednesday 27 March, Level 3 Software Development students proudly presented their efforts after two terms working in collaboration with local business Founders and Coders.

Founders and Coders is a non-profit organisation based in Finsbury Park, providing training in web development for those looking to find an ‘in’ to the thriving industry. The company have been helping a new generation find employment across the Levant in Gaza City, the West Bank and Nazareth. Late last month, they were at the Centre for Business, Arts and Technology in Islington.

Students took turns presenting ongoing projects to develop applications that would facilitate life in the city. One proposed a map application that would provide directions for building interiors, starting with the centre and looking to slowly expand. A representative said:

“The original idea came from bins. It was about recycling. We wanted to create an application so that if somebody was looking to throw something away, it would be easier. This eventually became CANDI Maps.”

Another sought to give bus users information on how crowded a bus was, providing alternative routes for people in wheelchairs or with buggies. Students had also create applications to help share coursework notes, and a to-do list programme.

At the end of the presentation, Founders and Coders Executive Director Dan Sofer gave feedback on the students’ work, highlighting impressive pieces of coding and urging learners to stop and understand the inner workings of their programmes as they tried out new things. The environment was supportive, and students were keen to learn from one another’s efforts.

“We cover everything at Founders and Coders – HTML, CSS, Java Script,” Dan told us after the presentation. “Our students learn on the job; they teach themselves. When you’ve been through the programme you expect to come back and mentor somebody else. The training leads to interviews with employers, which keeps us going.

“Working with City and Islington College came about after a conversation with the principal, who pointed me towards Karen Sudene, Curriculum Leader for Digital Technologies.”

Working with college students was a new venture for the organisation, but Dan was happy with their progress, suggesting they come back and get in touch upon completion of their studies. Another route to be explored was an apprenticeship, becoming an ever more popular option for Further Education.

“Slowly, we may end up looking towards an apprenticeship. We have a lot of employers, some of which are subject to the Apprenticeship Levy. I think we’re overdue a conversation to say: ‘would you like to do an apprenticeship with us?’”

Dan left with a message of encouragement for the students, telling them to keep up the hard work and to get in touch later on down the line.

Industry experts discuss the importance of fish

Westminster Kingsway’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts in Victoria recently hosted a round-table discussion on the use of fish and seafood in restaurant menus. The event was sponsored by trade body Seafood from Norway and was extensively covered in the leading hospitality trade magazine, The Caterer.

The panel featured figures from the seafood industry, foodservice companies and restaurant, including Westminster Kingsway alumnus Ben Murphy (Head Chef at Launceston Place in London).  The college was represented by Chef Lecturer Jose Souto, who wrote the college’s culinary sustainability and ethical buying policy.

As Jose explains: “Here at Westminster Kingsway, we strongly believe that all our culinary students should understand where their food comes from, how it is produced and any of the welfare issues that are connected with its production.  So we try to ensure that all of our produce is sustainably sourced, cared for under the highest husbandry standards and ethically farmed with the lowest environmental impact.

“Fish and seafood are really important part of our curriculum. Students visit Billingsgate fish market and we train them to work with whole fish (as opposed to fish that has already been filleted and prepared), so that they learn the fundamental knife skills that they’ll need to work in the best kitchens and restaurants.

“We use a variety of different fish to train our students – fish which we also serve to customers in our public restaurants. All the fish that we use are sustainable species as listed by The Marine Conservation Society (MCS). We work very closely with our fish suppliers to ensure we keep within the MSC guidelines and we keep a close eye on the sustainability status of each species, as well as on seasonal variations in fish availability, cost and quality.”

After the roundtable, the panel enjoyed a lunch of fish cooked by our second and third-year students.

Queen's Award for Enterprise