November 2019 - Capital City College Group
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Islington Candidates Attend CANDI Hustings Event

On 27 November, City & Islington Sixth Form College hosted a fiery hustings event with the five candidates for Islington South and Finsbury.

Organised by the college’s Politics in Action enrichment group, this marks the fourth time local politicians have hosted such an event at the Sixth Form College, following General Election debates in 2015 and 2017, and a special Brexit hustings in 2016.

The five representatives were Emily Thornberry (Labour), Jason Charalambous (Conservative), Talia Hussain (Green), Paddy Hannam (Brexit) and Kate Pothalingam (Liberal Democrats).

The candidates each gave a three-minute exposition of their party’s policies and vision for the community before responding to pre-prepared questions from students, and finally opening the floor to the audience. Over the course of two hours, London’s brightest minds quizzed the speakers on the housing crisis, tuition fees, knife-crime, climate change and the north-south divide.

Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, was keen to address the key concerns of Islington South and Finsbury’s young people, backing voting for 16-17 year olds and examining the “intergenerational injustice” at the root of the housing crisis and education. She expressed Labour’s commitment to abolishing tuition fees and reintroducing maintenance grants, which garnered support from the audience.

Conservative candidate Jason Charalambous focused on the successes of the current government and presented clear goals for the next. The Tories plan to invest £9billion in affordable homes and to prevent unfair eviction, but Jason also looked at the successes of Stamp Duty and recent campaigns to build new homes.

Education was a contentious issue for both the Tories and the Liberal Democrats, who rose course fees during the last coalition government. Both parties explored the arguments of student fees versus a universal tax increase, with the Liberal Democrats keen to reintroduce maintenance grants scrapped by the following Conservative government. Kate Pothalingham also pledged to introduce a cabinet secretary for sustainability, to invest £500million in youth services and to address the relationship of distrust with the police, starting with the legalisation of cannabis.

Brexit Party member Paddy Hannam aimed to provide a “young voice in politics”, assuring the sixth formers that party policy was, above all, focused on “affordability” and “realism”. While the audience tended not to sympathise with Hannam’s pro-Brexit views, applause was duly given for the pledge to invest in vocational apprenticeships and to create viable futures through education, steering young people away from crime.

Green Party candidate Talia Hussain aligned with Labour on a number of issues, including taking inspiration from Scottish local laws in dealing with the ongoing knife-crime epidemic. The Greens plan to abolish fees for undergraduates and wipe out existing debts, citing the “social obligation” to give the next generation proper training. Above all, the conversation moved towards climate control and the need to act with urgency and priority on environmental issues.

Although tensions between the Brexit Party candidate, Paddy Hannam, and Emily Thornberry simmered throughout the event, the student chairs were quick to steer the conversation back to politics. The candidates ultimately looked for common ground where possible. Liberal Democrat representative Kate Pothalingam backed the sustainability programmes of the other parties; the Tories and Labour agreed that education and youth work was the best way to address the knife-crime epidemic; and the Brexit party candidate acknowledged the need for a “sensible conversation” on drug legalisation.

Students made up a thoughtful and respectful audience, applauding individual policy ideas and giving all the candidates a fair hearing.

Speaking after the event, Emily Thornberry said: “My view is that you get lots of invitations to hustings when you’re in Islington; I always say yes to this one because I think it’s incredibly important to engage young people, but also it’s always really lively and it’s fun and well organised. It’s great to be here and to give support to this great college.”

Jason Charalambous added: “It was a real honour when I saw that this college was doing a hustings event, I thought that, without question, I had to go. It was an amazing audience, very dynamic… tough questions! It’s so important to see young people involved in politics and in important issues. Part of the reason I’m in politics now is that when I was at school my local MP spoke in my assembly. I had never encountered a politician before and I thought ‘one day I’d like to be like that’ – to do something meaningful and to help others… so I hope that, if anything, we can play a role in inspiring others.”

All those who registered to vote before 26 November will be able to vote in the upcoming general election on 12 December. For more information on how to vote, click here.

Q&A with our latest OBE

Pablo Lloyd, the co-founder of our visionnaires entrepreneurship and mentoring programme, has worked in education and skills – inspiring the next generation of businesswomen and men – for 20 years. 

And on Thursday 7 November, his years of dedication to young people’s vocational and technical careers were rewarded, when he received an OBE (at a ceremony called an Investiture), from HRH Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.

After the Investiture, we caught up with Pablo, to ask him about his journey from primary school to an OBE and to find out if he took the bus to the Palace…

Capital City College Group (CCCG): Hello Pablo and first of all, congratulations! What an achievement! Can you tell us why you were awarded an OBE?

Pablo Lloyd: Hello, and thank you! The citation states that my OBE is “For services to WorldSkills UK”. I was a Trustee of WorldSkills UK for 12 years and, although I stepped down last December, I still do some informal project-based advice and coaching for them, including support for their exciting new Productivity Lab.

WorldSkills UK is a charity that champions vocational and technical careers and world-class skills across the UK. They do this in a number of ways, but principally by selecting and training young people to represent the UK in the EuroSkillsand WorldSkillscompetitions. They also run the national skills finals, held every year at the massive WorldSkills UK LIVE event in Birmingham.

The WorldSkills and EuroSkills competitions are a big deal. Take WorldSkills for example. The last one was earlier this year in Kazan, Russia. In all, 1,354 young people from 63 countries competed in 56 different skills competitions: best chef, best landscape gardener, best beautician, best tiler, etc – categories covered everything from Cyber Security to Fashion to Plastic Die Engineering. China, Russia and Korea are the countries to beat, but the UK usually gets in the top 10 in the categories we enter, and in Kazan we won Gold medals in two incredibly competitive categories, Aircraft Maintenance (Haydn Jakes) and Beauty Therapy (Rebecca West).

CCCG: So it’s fair to say that skills and education are close to your heart. What’s your personal education journey?

Pablo: Well, I grew up in south London and I managed to pass my 11 plus exam at primary school. That meant I got a subsidised bursary place at a public school in Wimbledon called Kings College School. From there I went on to read maths at Cambridge University and got a job in the City of London as a trainee Chartered Accountant. Today we’d call it an apprenticeship.

For a while, I was a Finance Director in the music industry, at the Performing Rights Society(PRS) – making sure that musicians and performers got the royalties they were due when their music was played publically or on the radio. One of the PRS’s Board members was the record producer Pete Waterman. At that time, Pete was famous as the man who’d recently made Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue pop stars and I remember him as a funny, insightful and very dyslexic man. He was one of the people who showed me that everyone has a talent, and some people need help to find it.

In 1999, I moved into the education sector and I’ve been here ever since.

CCCG: How did you feel when you were notified of your OBE? Did you have to keep it a secret?

Pablo: I was astonished and humbled. To get an award like that, someone has to nominate you. WorldSkills UK nominated me, which was wonderful, but in reality, the WorldSkills UK’s successes are a massive team effort.  I am delighted to have been honoured but I hope it will also help to gain proper recognition for the work that we all do in vocational and technical education and training.

My OBE was announced in the Queen’s Birthday honours in June [there’s also a New Year honours every January], but I was notified back in April, so I had to keep it a secret for two months until the official announcement in June. It was hard not telling anyone about it apart from my wife!

CCCG: What happened on the day? Any strange looks on the bus wearing your finest, or did you get a taxi?

Pablo: We got a cab; we couldn’t go to Buckingham Palace on the bus wearing hats and fascinators…but more seriously, my mother in law can’t walk very far!

When I found out I could only get five tickets for the Investiture, I worked out that the most important people in my life are all women, but I did invite my brothers-in-law to have lunch with us afterwards. There have also been a few celebratory drinks with friends over the last few months too!

CCCG: Were you nervous?

Pablo: On the day, I felt strangely calm. I was just as excited to meet the other people being honoured! There were about 80 of us in all; men and women from all walks of life – from the armed services, fire service, policing, the care sector, performing arts, the Scouts – all sorts. No-one wants to be late for their Investiture, so everyone arrives early and there is a fair bit of waiting around, which means there are lots of opportunities to chat to the other recipients about what they’ve done.

Don’t tell anyone, but I was secretly disappointed not to meet Olivia Coleman or Elvis Costello who were also honoured in the Queen’s Birthday honours list. It turns out they went to the palace on a different day.

CCCG: What was it like meeting Prince Charles? What did he say to you?

Pablo: He was incredibly well informed considering he had 80 people to pin a medal on within an hour or so. He asked me if we were making progress in helping young people. I told him we were, because they are so gifted and motivated, and our training experts are so expert! I reassured him that our future is safe in young people’s hands – he didn’t look convinced, but I am. I get so much hope and energy from working with young people.

We are working with Prince Charles’s charity The Prince’s Trust as they are a referral partner for the Start Up, Step Up Londoninitiative we are running with the Mayor of London. The Prince told me about a new initiative he’s started called Industrial Cadets, but unfortunately, there wasn’t time to chat about visionnaires too.

CCCG: Reflecting on the nomination, announcement and now your Investiture, how do you feel about having been awarded an OBE?

Pablo: I am hugely appreciative of the hard work and effort of all the professionals who I’ve worked with over the years, which means that a few random people like me can shout louder about our efforts in vocational and technical skills.

Save the date to kick-start your career in Accountancy

Strong numeracy skills? An analytical mind? Good at managing money? Discover all you need to know about becoming an accountant at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London. Accountants are essential for business growth and are valued for using their expertise to steer important financial decisions. Upon qualifying, chartered accountants are among the top earners in the UK, with an average salary of £35,000. With two to four years of experience post qualification, salaries often rise to £60,000, and £90,000 following five years of experience.

Interested? If you are a school leaver, parent, teacher or a graduate, looking for a career in accounting, this event is for you! The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London are proud to present our accounting apprenticeships and careers conference, Make Your Future Count. The conference is a half-day event on 22 January 2020, kicking off at 9:30am at our Tottenham Centre (High Road, London, N15 4RU). The event will bring together big brands Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, BKL Chartered Accountants, CIMA, CIPFA, Haringey Council, Adroit Accountax and AAT.

At the event, you will get up-to-speed in the accounting and finance sector by engaging with professional accounting bodies like CIPFA and the AAT. You’ll also be able to meet key employers in person which will allow you to increase your visibility and expand your network.

You will also meet past and current CONEL students and hear their success stories as they share their career journeys with you from studying AAT to becoming qualified Chartered Accountants. And you’ll be able to find out more about studying Accounting here at CONEL.

There are currently 394,651 jobs in the accounting industry with an average salary of £38,286 per annum. Between 2015 and 2020 the industry is expected to grow 9.2% creating a further 34,574 jobs. So, for those looking to get into a career in accounting, now is a great time to come to CONEL to get the skills you need to succeed.

Camila’s Journey as an Access to HE Student

Eight months since appearing in our Summer campaign, Access to Higher Education – Law, Politics & International Relations alumna Camila returned to the Centre for Lifelong Learning in Finsbury Park. This time, wearing a bright yellow visitor’s lanyard, but still recognisable from the ten-foot advert outside, facing the Blackstock Road.

“I was living here in Finsbury Park before and this lady at a hair salon I used to go to asked me if I was the girl on the window banner. I didn’t know what to say! And on YouTube when I’m watching videos, I come up on adverts. It’s still weird.

“And yet, I used to come here every day and the security guy still didn’t recognise me. I didn’t want to be the person to point and say ‘It’s me – from the window!”

Since our last conversation, Camila has graduated from City and Islington College, moving on to Kingston University in the summer. She finds it strange to be back in Finsbury Park.

“I haven’t quite found home yet, but college was great for me. It worked because I could fit it around work while gaining the most relevant qualification I needed to go to university.”

Camila walks me through her move from Caracas, Venezuela, in 2015, seeking a course that would provide a route into the world of politics. “It’s hard,” she says. “Venezuela is still not there yet. We’re still waiting. But the UK is definitely a place that offers a lot of opportunities.

“If you come in with the desire and the will to do something, it provides the tools… to study, to get a degree that will allow you to do something with your life. Now? I’m getting there. It’s taken me many years, maybe six years, to realise that I’m okay and that I’m safe. I’ve been in the UK for four years, but it took some time to adjust.”

It hasn’t been an easy ride for Camila. Venezuela remains hampered by political instability, violence, inflation and food shortages. Camila recounts a number harrowing stories from her time at home, but speaks candidly about them. 

“It’s part of the culture,” she says. “We Venezuelans get together and talk about these things openly. You can’t internalise it. We try to be warm; we laugh about these things. You abstract it and take away how real it can be, and suddenly it’s just a joke.

“I’ve had a gun in my face back home. A friend of mine got kidnapped. I saw a guy get shot in a protest, bleeding out on the floor. These things follow you and it’s not something you can just get over. It makes normal things difficult sometimes. I just went to see The Joker and found it really hard to watch at points — and going to the cinema is my favourite thing to do.”

During her time at City and Islington College, Camila founded the CANDI Model of United Nations (MUN), an extra-curricular activity designed to provide students with a space to talk through and understand global political issues. Since progressing to university, she has become involved in Kingston’s equivalent society, but still works with the City and Islington chapter to help ensure a legacy.

“Living in Venezuela pushed me to come here and try to make a difference politically. I saw the opportunity, acknowledging ‘oh – this thing exists and I have these feelings and this desire to change this’. And this – the MUN – is the right way to do this. The college helped me set it up and it’s been really good so far.

“I love the International Relations course I’m on now, too. My Access course at college provided the foundations that I needed for my degree. It’s taking that to the next level. The university took us to the Imperial War Museum recently and we got to see the different narratives and stories told around these events. The critical thinking fits well with my MUN work, and I feel like I’m developing the skills I need to make that difference.”

Camila recently returned from an MUN conference in Oxford and is currently organising trips to Geneva and New York to see how the professionals do it. She’s hopeful for 2020, telling of preparatory work with the college’s Sixth Form Centre in Angel to establish the programme as a regular enrichment activity at the site. 

“We’re going to do the Sussex University conference again next year. This time I’m the Faculty Advisor because I’m not a student at the college anymore. I can’t be Head Delegate. But I still want to work with the college to ensure there’s succession and that the next generation of students have the opportunity to participate.

“It was important for me to find a voice through the MUN. It’s about recognising the meaning of these political issues and working out what you think about them, and then having the confidence to stand up and defend your point of view… but also, you’re representing a delegation. You’re not debating on behalf of yourself. You have to learn to see the world through someone else’s eyes.”

She ties things up: “Doing an Access to HE course at college was the right decision for me. There were support schemes and a lot of care; I learnt how to reference and how to digest information properly. Setting up the MUN helped me to empathise with other people, to be patient. I learnt what I needed to reach this stage.

“My dream is to represent Venezuela in the Security Council for the United Nations… but I also want to see Japan, and I like England. I’m still working things out. I’m still trying to find ‘home’. But things are moving in the right direction, I think.”

You can find City and Islington Model of United Nations on Instagram at @CandiMUN, or contact them at Meetings take place at the Centre for Lifelong Learning on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5pm – 7pm.

Distinction for Scientist Mum at CONEL

Originally enrolling on a GCSE course at the College of Haringey, Enfield & North East London back in 2014, mum-of-two Cassandra Crucefix has progressed through the ranks and is now studying our Science Level 3 Diploma.

Dental nurse Cassandra decided she wanted to change her career after having her first child. She wanted to work in a hospital environment as a radiographer, but needed to improve both her Science and English qualifications to do so. She enrolled at CONEL and, despite having to take a break in learning due to her pregnancy, achieved a grade B in GCSE English. In 2018, with two toddlers and still wanting to change career, Cassandra returned to CONEL to join both our Maths Functional Skills and Science Level 2 Diploma courses.

Cassandra explained: “I didn’t do science at school, so it was all new to me. I found Physics really hard, but I didn’t give up, just because it was my weakness. I focused on it and it ended up being my favourite of the three.

“With two toddlers, it was hard work. If I wasn’t at college, I was at home caring for my children. I would study once they had gone to sleep which meant I did not get much sleep myself, but in the end, it was all worth it as I got a distinction star. I want to study Radiography at university to get my dream job.”

When asked about her tutors, Cassandra said: “They have all been so supportive, especially as they know I have my two children. They all encourage you and want you to do the best you can. If you have a problem with anything, they are there for you. Without them, I wouldn’t have got the grades I got.”

Now in 2019, and with a distinction in her Science Level 2 Diploma, and 100% in her Maths Functional Skills, Cassandra is studying our Science Level 3 Diploma and Maths GCSE courses that will see her progress to university to get her degree.

Cassandra’s Tutor, Minas Mina, said: “Cassandra is an excellent student. She is diligent and approaches all her work with maturity and consciousness. She works very hard to balance family and academic life. If she carries on like this, she is destined for success.”

Media Students Work at MullenLowe

Creative Media students from CONEL recently went on a day visit to large advertising and communications agency MullenLowe as part of a new initiative called Advertising Unlocked.

Advertising Unlocked is an industry-wide open day, which sees top UK advertising and media agencies opening their doors to the next generation of advertisers once a year. During the day the companies reveal how campaigns are made and what jobs are available in the advertising industry at every stage of this process, giving students a taste of the real world.

Upon arrival, students were divided into groups and set a task which asked them to promote one of MullenLowe’s client’s brands. They had to develop their ideas and present them to MullenLowe employees at the end of the day. Our student teams worked closely with advertising professionals from the company who supported and mentored them, to help them develop their ideas.

Creative Media Lecturer at CONEL Selda Yuzudik, said: “I thought it was a fantastic experience and an eye opener for our students. Since the trip we have had loads of interest from students who want to pursue a career in marketing and advertising.

“The staff at MullenLowe were really helpful and professional. They treated our students like staff and really helped them develop their ideas and look at tasks in a different way.”

The trip was organised by curriculum manager Sharon Wallace and has resulted in some of the students being offered work experience because of their great work.

When presenting their ideas to the People Partner at MullenLowe, Nancy Poysden, they were judged and given feedback. The winning team were then awarded £20 Amazon vouchers each for their great idea and pitch.

Winning student Ellis Bocking said, “It was a really good day. The company was very welcoming to us as students. We obviously weren’t as good as them, but they listened to us and our ideas and helped us develop them.

Students at Mullen Lowe
Winner, Ellis Bocking (left) and other students at MullenLowe

“Winning was great, but seeing our ideas being accepted by a professional company was amazing!”

CONEL Becomes AOC Beacon Award Finalist

The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, have reached the final of the prestigious Association of Colleges Beacon Awards, in the NOCN Group Mental Health and Wellbeing category.

The AOC Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK colleges each year. This award celebrates the important work colleges are doing to support the mental health and wellbeing of their learners and staff. The rise in ill health amongst learners and the greater public is of great concern and is attracting heightened attention nationally.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said: “The work colleges do on wellbeing often gets overlooked. But institutions and especially these final three have shown a whole college mental health strategy that impacts on improving teaching and learning and effective support. All this great, much-needed work enables students to feel secure and able to learn.”

CONEL’s Interim Assistant Principal, Hilary Moore, said: “Mental health is a key issue for us all, with 1 in 4 of us being affected.  The nomination represents the work which we have done, are doing and will continue to improve for all learners and staff at CONEL to respect the importance of mental well-being, to offer targeted support and referrals to experts.

Competing against CONEL in the final are Barnsley College, Bridgend College, and Hartpury College. Assessors will visit all four before the final decision is made and the winner is decided. This will take place between December and early February before the awards in June 2020.

General Election 2019: WestKing Students Grill Candidates on the BBC

On Tuesday 19 November, Westminster Kingsway College held a General Election hustings event, where candidates from the Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and Brexit parties came to the college’s Kings Cross Centre to pitch on behalf of the parties for the Youth Vote at the upcoming general election.

Around 60 students were in the college’s theatre space to hear the pitches from the four candidates:

  • Councillor Abdul Hai (Labour Councillor for King’s Cross Ward, and Camden Council Cabinet Member for Young People and Cohesion)
  • Matthew Kirk (Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Holborn and St Pancras)
  • Kirsten de Keyser (Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Holborn and St Pancras)
  • Hector Birchwood (Brexit Party Parliamentary Candidate for Holborn and St Pancras)
Candidates and Westminster Kingsway students at a general election hustings event held at the college on 19 November 2019

After the pitches, the students posed a variety of challenging questions to the candidates. Top priorities for the young people were issues close to their hearts, like knife crime, stop-and-search, tuition fees, the funding of youth services, young people’s mental health, Brexit and the future of the NHS. Rather like last night’s televised debate on ITV between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, the debate got quite heated at times, as the four candidates alternately tried to respond to the questions and attack each other’s record on the issues raised.

Afterwards, Rosa Kurowska, A Level Politics lecturer at Westminster Kingsway College, who had many of her students at the hustings, said: “The students really appreciated the opportunity to meet several party candidates and question them about issues that matter to them. Our students are highly engaged in politics both in their studies and outside of college, but they often find that mainstream politicians often don’t address the issues that matter to them.

“Therefore it was great to hear so many insightful and challenging questions from students for the candidates, as well as from those who stayed behind to debate further and speak with the candidates and the BBC about their views. Hopefully, this event will encourage more young people to register to vote, because, as reported yesterday by the Electoral Commission, a worrying one in three teenagers of voting age aren’t actually registered to vote in the general election at all.”

The college organised the event in partnership with Vote for Your Future, a non-partisan body that aims to get as many young people to register to vote as possible. A futher hustings will be held next week at our Victoria Centre, giving more students the chance to grill local election candidates.

In addition, a crew from BBC London News came to the hustings too. After filming at the event, we took them and a group of our students to a classroom to interview them in more depth about their views on the election and voting. For these students, the lack of diversity in Parliament and representation by people from their ethnic groups was a major issue. “To be honest, we’re just represented by white people. How can they understand what we care about and what we feel matters?” was one reaction. Expanding the voting age to 16 and 17-year-olds is also important to the students – as long as young people – and voters of all ages – can access the information they need to make a truly informed decision.

Westminster Kingsway College students talk about politics, voting and the election

Anyone aged 18 or over can vote in elections, but you will not be able to vote in the 2019 General Election on 12 December unless you have registered to vote. There is still time to register – the deadline is 11:59pm on Tuesday 26 November – register to vote online now.

It’s time we valued, and supported, our entrepreneurs more

Entrepreneurs make a massive but often overlooked contribution to the UK economy. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, the UK has an impressive 5.82 million small businesses (those with less than 50 employees), accounting for 99.3% of all the businesses in the UK. Three-fifths of everyone with a job in the UK – that’s 16.6 million people – works for a small business.

Between them, the UK’s small businesses have a turnover of an estimated £2.2 trillion – an amount of money so vast it is hard to get your head around. If you had a big enough pile of pound coins and could count one coin per second, it would take you 69,761 years and six months to count up to £2.2 trillion. It’s a lot of money.

So, entrepreneurs matter.

This week is Global Entrepreneurship Week #GEW2019 – a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit – and you might be surprised to know that, as one of the UK’s largest further education college groups, entrepreneurs are important to us too. Every year, dozens of people leave our colleges – City & Islington, Westminster Kingsway and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) to be entrepreneurs. Armed with the skills they learned with us, they set-up their own businesses – be they consultancies, photography studios, hair and beauty salons or even as personal trainers.

And that’s not all. We’ve set-up our own incubator – Visionnaires – a social enterprise co-founded with the Capital City College Group that provides mentoring and practical support, advice and access to funding, for people who want to pursue their dream. I started Visionnaires because I saw that new or budding entrepreneurs often struggled to make that huge first leap from having a great idea to turning that idea into a tangible and viable business.

I’ve drawn heavily on my own experience of working for and running start-ups, to make sure that Visionnaires is valuable. My first experience of a start-up was 20 years ago, when I joined a new business that used early web technology to teach maths and English. It was exciting, unpredictable and very hard work. Eventually we grew to become the largest further education provider in the UK, and over 1 million people achieved qualifications using new technology. I loved the fact we were breaking new ground in education and giving a lot of people practical help. That’s when I became a social entrepreneur and went on to start three more successful businesses, which in turn led me to start Visionnaires.

Over my years in business, I have seen many people start businesses and many fail. Here are my four tips for start-ups – which we expand on in the Visionnaires programme:

1.   Build a vision – it’s not just about the money, your purpose is to make a positive difference to your customers, your team, your communities and the planet.

  1.   Love your business – if you don’t love it, your customers won’t either, do something you care about and do whatever it takes to make it happen.
  2.   Get curious –  listen to your customers, team, competitors and your own creative spark, build a bank of crazy ideas, one of them will be your next move.
  3.   Ask for help – don’t be alone, work out what you’re good at and build a network which helps you with everything else, find a mentor and business partners you trust.

Maybe Global Entrepreneurs Week will be the spark that starts you on your journey? You can find out more about Visionnaires on our website

Pablo Lloyd OBE

CEO and Co-Founder, Visionnaires

Jeffrey Boateng – From Student to Staff Member

Progressing onto our Sports Level 3 Extended Diploma course in September 2013, Jeffrey Boateng had already secured himself a work placement role in the college’s sports department in the Enfield Centre, which he maintained throughout his Level 2 and 3 courses.

Jeffrey said: “The courses were challenging at first because I was advancing from GCSE level of PE to BTEC level, which needed more thinking and research. Later on, everything started to be clear and I enjoyed everything I learnt.

“My work placement was enjoyable because the staff members made me feel needed as their assistant, which gave me some authority and confidence with the students in PE sessions.

“I decided to do the work placement as I noticed that there are many career pathways in the course that I was studying. The work placement made me narrow down the options that I had as I enjoyed the role of a PE teacher and sports maker. Doing my work placement in the sports centre made me understand and know where I wanted to get to in the future.”

Jeffrey’s hard work was not limited to the college; as well as his work placement, he also pushed himself in his spare time securing jobs outside of college, to help earn a bit more money.

“Whilst studying my Level 3 I also got jobs as a cleaner, a carer and in Sainsbury’s.”

Upon completing his Level 3 course at CONEL, Jeffrey went on to study Sports Science at the University of East London in September 2015. Jeffrey said, “It was a great feeling when I knew I had passed everything I needed to for me to go to university as it proved to me that I had a lot to offer.

“I had teachers who would help me and push me to get higher grades. It was tough but I look at it now and thank the teachers I had at CONEL, especially Fabian Darku who dedicated his time to me and advised me on the courses I can choose to do, and the universities that could bring out the best in me. The college also held workshops for us to write our UCAS personal statements and checked them before we sent them off.”

In his third year of university, and after four years of work placement with us, Jeffrey successfully applied for a Sports Attendant role at CONEL. This included responsibilities such as sales, marketing and taking good care of the facilities at the CONEL sports centre. When asked how this made him feel, Jeffrey said, “I had my foot in the door when I was doing my work placement at CONEL but when I got this job I was overwhelmed.”

After completing his degree, Jeffrey pursued a Masters degree in Sports Management while still working as a Sports Attendant at CONEL. When asked how he found this Jeffrey said: “It was not too challenging juggling the job and Masters degree together, as the times that I worked allowed me to attend lectures and have time for independent learning.

“The Masters was a lot harder than the Bachelor’s degree as I needed to put in more work to get the grades that I needed. In addition, it was the first time learning anything related to business.”

Jeffrey completed his Masters in September 2019 and progressed into a full-time role at CONEL as our Work Placement Officer. Settling into his role Jeffrey said: “This new job is great! I believe I will have a big impact on the lives of the students because I will be the point of contact when they need any advice for the career they will like to go into.”

Queen's Award for Enterprise