March 2020 - Capital City College Group
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CCCG welcomes new board members

Capital City College Group welcomed three new governors on Friday 13 March.

Sanna Jordansson, Sharon Saxton and Anthony Impey have joined the existing board of eleven governors to help bolster our expertise in training and apprenticeships, in line with our aim to become the first choice training provider in the region.

Sanna Jordansson joins us as a board member of young person’s charity Making the Leap, and as Global HR Director for Broadway Maylan. Having built a career around social mobility and finance projects, Sanna makes an important addition to the team with experience of education settings abroad.

Sharon Saxton worked as Group Director of People and Organisation Development at vocational education provider City & Guilds until 2019, and is currently a freelance HR Consultant, Trustee and Leadership Coach. At City & Guilds, Sharon helped increase revenues from £98m to £150m with the design of a new strategy, and joins us with familiarity of the Further Education sector and its challenges.

Anthony Impey has an extensive track record of board and advisory positions in a number of sectors, working to analyse London’s skills shortages, and advising the City & Guilds council on strategy. Anthony’s experience in tech led to the launch of Tech City Stars and Tech Up Nation, providing employer-led training for young Londoners to kick-start a career in technology

We are delighted to welcome our new board members to Capital City College Group.

Principal Kim Caplin bids farewell to Westminster Kingsway College

Kim Caplin bid a final farewell to students and staff on Wednesday 18 March after three years as Principal and seven years as Vice Principal at Westminster Kingsway College, and twenty-eight years in the further education sector.

With a series of successes under her belt, Kim is retiring and plans to spend her time focusing on new interests, including fundraising for the charity Myeloma UK and joining the London Symphony Orchestra Community Choir.

During her time at WestKing, Kim oversaw many pivotal moments in the college’s history, including the opening of the King’s Cross Centre in 2010, attended by alumni Ainsley Harriott, Trevor Nelson and Steve McFadden, winning the Careers and Enterprise Award and three successful Ofsted inspections, where teaching and learning was rated consistently good throughout the college.

Kim said: “Westminster Kingsway College is unique: it is creative, innovative and highly inclusive, with a culture of mutual respect and tolerance throughout staff and student communities. While I was at the college, we produced a Key Stage 4 provision which transforms lives; developed a strong career-focused ethos that won two AOC Beacon Awards for Careers and for Mental Health and become a Careers College for Health & Social Care and Digital Skills. We have developed an award-winning creative media department and a multiple award-winning global Institute of Culinary Arts.

“All of this I will dearly miss, but I feel confident that it will only go from strength to strength as it continues its mission to open minds. Thank you for all the support you have given me and the college over the last 10 years and may the spirit of WestKing continue with passion and success!”

Kim was highly esteemed by colleagues. Gary Hunter, Deputy Principal for Westminster Kingsway College said: “Kim always placed students and learning at the heart of every decision that she made as a leader of WestKing, and I know that the college’s senior managers hold this aspect dear as we take up the challenges of further education into the future. I would personally like to thank Kim for her mentorship and confidence to share her experiences with me, in her support of my development as a senior manager and leader.”

Curriculum Director, Amanda Whelan said, “Kim was a truly inspirational Principal. When she arrived as a Vice Principal, she had a very clear vision and strategy of what she felt the 14-18 provision should be. One of the most important aspects of this was her passion and interest in the type of work I do; the vulnerable low-level learners and the Special Educational Needs (SEN) work in Foundation Learning. This work is unglamorous and largely unnoticed, and I always appreciated her championing of these learners.”

CEO of Capital City College Group, Roy O’Shaughnessy said, “Kim is a consummate professional who represents the best of further education (FE) and inclusive education. Kim has worked tirelessly on behalf of her learners and staff whilst building deep relationships with external stakeholders including local authority partners, local businesses, and civic society. Kim also mentored several of the emerging leaders within the college staff and has seen those individuals progress within the college and move on to senior roles in the larger FE community.

“Since the merger to create Capital City College Group, Kim has worked with her fellow Principals and the other members of the Group Leadership Team to integrate cross-group services whilst also speaking out on behalf of her staff and students, when improvement was required. I am grateful to Kim for the expertise she has provided to me since I joined the organisation, her professional approach and, most importantly, her absolute commitment to our learners and staff.”

Respected by staff and students alike, everyone at Capital City College Group would like to thank Kim for all the hard work and energy that she has tirelessly given, to make Westminster Kingsway College one of the capital’s leading FE institutions.

Sixth Former Experiences Brexit day First-Hand through EU Education Programme

In January, City and Islington Sixth Form College student Muhammad Mahmoud was selected as part of a national educational programme to attend the European Parliament in Brussels.

The Young Visitor’s Programme is a week-long trip to the European Parliament in Brussels designed to teach students about the EU. It’s hosted by Renew Europe and offers 20 spaces for UK students to experience first-hand the inner-workings of the European Union.

City and Islington College was proud to secure a space on the programme for Muhammad, who is  studying A Level Geography, Politics and Economics. His  outstanding application for the programme saw him selected to travel between 27 and 31 January.

“Being able to visit the EU parliament, speak to NGOs like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and businesses like Facebook, and to discuss work with MEPs,  was a one in a lifetime opportunity”, said Mohammad. “It allowed me to apply my classroom knowledge in the real world and, for that, I am forever grateful to City and Islington College, Renew Europe and the European Union.”

Muhammad is planning to read Geography at university, and applied to the programme to develop his understanding of the EU’s function. Returning from Brussels, he told the college that he was pleased to have a deeper and more balanced understanding of the intricacy of the Union and its role in world politics.

“After attending a few events and lectures at the London School of Economics’ (LSE) European Institute, I was ever so eager to learn more about the EU and understand its role in the world today. I wrote articles that commentate on these lectures and events to inspire other young people to become politically aware.

“Attending lectures at universities only provides so much input, however. The opportunity to visit the European Parliament further helped develop my understanding of such an important global body.

“I was always aware of the EU’s influence, but I didn’t know the full magnitude of that influence.”

Muhammad described the trip as an “emotional time”, coinciding with the country’s formal decision to leave the EU on 31 January. Having shared a lift with Nigel Farage and spoken extensively to MEPs about their various roles, Muhammad concluded his visit, saying: “I believe that by working together, we achieve greater success. My visit taught me how the 28 – now 27 – countries worked together to achieve the EU’s objectives.

“Seeing the UK depart from the EU first-hand was a touching moment.”

The Renew Europe Group is a pro-European political group of the European Parliament. While City and Islington College is an unaffiliated and non-political institution, we believe it is important students have the opportunity of diverse experiences relevant to their courses.

CONEL’s Mahdi Radmehr Awarded ‘Maths Teacher of the Year’ at National Skills Conference

Mahdi Radmehr, a Maths teacher at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, beat stiff competition to win the prestigious ‘Maths Teacher of the Year’ award at the National Skills Conference earlier in March.

The awards are a celebration of outstanding English and Maths delivery, and reward the quality and diversity of educational delivery and achievement. Mahdi was recognised for his innovative, creative and effective teaching strategies and his support for learners.

Mahdi said: “This is excellent news and I’m speechless. I am very honoured and proud that all of my hard work and dedication has paid off. Teaching is my passion and I love what I do. Through this passion my students can see how beautiful Maths is.” 

Mahdi joined CONEL in 2010 teaching Functional Skills and managed to get an impressive 100% achievement rate. He went on to lead GCSE Maths and recent results for adult learners were the best national achievement rates for those with no previous qualifications. His students have started at Functional skills Entry Level and progressed to Level 1, then GCSE and even Level 3 Core Maths.

Iranian-born Mahdi discovered his talent for teaching after being asked to privately tutor his friend’s daughters. “I found it so rewarding to see what a difference I could make in a single session,” he said. “I then found a part-time job teaching maths in a secondary school during the final year of my Engineering degree. This changed the course of my career forever. I found teaching fun and rewarding. Teaching is a platform to change people’s lives for the better.”

A student of Mahdi’s was ready to quit education after failing his A Levels. With Mahdi’s support and guidance, he continued studying and went on to achieve a Master’s in Civil Education. He is now a Minister of Transport in the Middle East. “This is just one example of why I take such pride in being a teacher,” said Mahdi. 

Mahdi is also currently delivering Core Maths at CONEL and has worked above and beyond to support learners to get into the financial sector in the City. He recently worked with a 16 year old GCSE student who had only been in the country for 4 years. Mahdi committed many hours, including the weekends, to working through exam questions with him and the student went on to achieve an astonishing Grade 9.

Director of Curriculum, Sheila Rai, said: “Mahdi is a teacher that every learner dreams of. He loves his time in the classroom, where. he is at his best – teaching, discussing, coaching and solving everything from long multiplication to simultaneous equations. He makes the hardest of questions look simple and has turned many nervous Maths students into confident learners. 

“It’s absolutely exhilarating to have one of our team win the Skills Award. Mahdi deserves it more than anyone as he lives and breathes Maths. His recent initiative is to open a breakfast club offering orange juice and a croissant while chewing over those algebra formulas that always pop up in exams. He has developed a subject which is a golden nest for learners to huddle into.”

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Updated: 27 March 2020

Following the Government’s announcement on Monday 23 March of more restrictions on people’s movements, all teaching, learning and working is now being delivered online and all our college sites are now closed.

Online delivery of lessons started last week and I am pleased that we have had very positive feedback from staff and students. I am especially impressed with the maturity and commitment displayed by our students during this time and I am confident that together we will maintain our high standard of teaching and learning.

Students who qualify for them will continue to receive their bursary payments, and their Free School Meal allocation will be added in cash to their bursary payments going forward.

Cancellation of Summer exams

We know that the cancellation of this year’s summer exams (including A Levels, GCSEs and other qualifications) is very unsettling and we want to reassure you that affected students will be able to move on as planned to the next stage of their lives, whether that’s starting university, college or sixth form courses, or getting a job or an apprenticeship.

On Friday 20 March, the Department for Education (DfE) announced that it plans – before the end of July – to give each GCSE, A and AS level student a ‘calculated grade’ that reflects their performance as fairly as possible. They will work with the exam boards, and with schools and colleges, to ensure this is consistently applied to all students. And to make sure this is fair for everyone, the Government will provide clear guidance to us on how to do this.

If any student or their parent feels that the calculated grade doesn’t reflect their performance, they will be able to sit an exam once schools and colleges are open again. Students could also choose to sit exams in the summer of 2021.

Universities have been asked to be flexible and do all they can to support students and ensure they can progress to higher education.

The Government still has a lot of work to do, and a lot more detail is needed on how all the above will work in practice. They will keep us updated, so when we get more information, we will share it with you.

If you are studying for a vocational qualification, things will be different for you too. For example, Pearson (the awarding body for BTECs) has said: “We feel confident we can award grades for students finishing this academic year by working closely with teachers to collate completed student grades, taking into account student progress on assignments and course work to date and by sampling and verifying student work. We are working to understand the implications of the current context for BTECs and other applied general qualifications and will communicate with learners as soon as we can.”

Staff and student safety is our main priority, and we continue to follow advice from the Government, Public Health England and the Department for Education. We very much hope to be able to reopen our sites as soon as it is safe to do so, but we must take our lead from the Government. We will provide further information as soon as we can and will keep our college websites and social media feeds updated in the meantime.

Useful links

Thank you for your continued support and keep safe.

Roy O’Shaughnessy
Capital City College Group, Chief Executive

Photography Students to Feature in Global Bank’s Climate Change Exhibition

On Tuesday 19 March, City and Islington Sixth Form College students exhibited their winning photography at the Macquarie Group Foundation’s London Headquarters in the City of London.

Three classes of the college’s Photography A Level students were invited to interpret a brief of ‘Climate Change and the Environment’ at the start of the year. Forty-six entries were whittled down to fifteen in February, representing the points of view of a diverse range of the college’s students from across London.

City and Islington College has worked with the Macquarie Group investment bank in different capacities over the years, now facilitated by The Big Alliance, which is based at the college’s Centre for Business, Arts and Technology.

The Big Alliance is a charity, enabling employee volunteering and engagement in the community between schools and local businesses.

The exhibition was a great success, with winning students and parents present. Associate Director of Macquarie Rachel Engels said:

“We partner with City and Islington College and have done for a number of years. That’s because we are very proud of being in Islington and our relationship with the borough.

“This is the third year that we have done a photography competition like this with the college. It really was not an easy task to select the final 15 images.

“There are nearly 2,000 people in this building and when you see where we have put the images, I hope you will recognise the impact it will have for staff to walk past every day.

“We are really proud and overwhelmed by the thought that has gone into the work on show. Our staff are really passionate about climate change and Macquarie does a lot to tackle this issue.”

Macquarie recently committed more than £20 billion in capital towards renewable energy and manages a number of projects globally to help secure the progress of clean technology and energy markets.

The work of students Nancy Brown, Angela Jones, Yaren Kaya, Amy Page-Osborn, Oscar Sakalauskas, Rose Samuels, Lotte Shennan, Jessica Tunks, Milly Watson, Nikiri Wharton and Shaqira Zia will now become semi-permanent installations on the walls of the Macquarie building.

Employability Update at CONEL

Over the past year, our employability team has run over 300 employability programmes, helping thousands of local people thrive as part of a greater initiative to support the local economy. Here are just a few highlights of our employability work over the past year.

BAME Into Employment

In September, the team ran a ‘BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) into Employment’ course for two weeks. It saw participants improve their employability skills, including communication, collaboration and organisational skills.

As part of the programme, the students participated in industry-relevant work experience with a number of employers, including Bombardier, Cubic and Lanes Rail.

Student Tairat Shote said, “It was an overwhelmingly positive programme. The employers were informative, accommodating and forthcoming with how they operate, and what they have on offer. Cubic, who I did my placement with, tailored the programme so that there was a lot for me to engage with. I had a very positive experience. At the end of the programme, I was really pleased with how easy the company made getting access to an interview, which I hope will result in a job.

“Finally, Julie my tutor has been extremely helpful and resourceful.”

Women in Construction

For the last two years, CONEL has run a number of initiatives to help women access construction roles. Through our employability team, we ran a range of workshops to give women the knowledge and skills they needed for a successful career in this traditionally male-dominated industry.

Back in January 2018, CONEL and Transport for London (TfL) launched an employment programme to inspire women into construction and engineering careers. The college and TfL worked with not-for-profit organisation Women into Construction to run a pre-employment training programme with the aim of recruiting women into these industries. It was a great success and inspired the employability team to run more sessions, such as the recent Women into Construction programme, which has worked with three groups of students so far.

Also in partnership with Transport for London (and in support of the international ‘Women Into STEM’ movement), CONEL has run a Women into Transportation and Engineering Pre-Employment Programme (WiTnE), which had 22 participants. All learners who attended their work placements as part of the programme were guaranteed interviews with their employers if they wanted full-time work at a later date. The event was a success for students and employers alike, and four learners: Chelsea, Fiona, Catherine and Vanesha, were even fast-tracked to the second round of interviews in their applications with Arriva Rail.

Sophia Nicola from Transport for London (TfL) congratulated CONEL and partners for the successful delivery of the WiTnE pre-employment programme, saying that “The candidates completed the programme with a greater appreciation of the transportation and engineering sectors, and the opportunities that are available, regardless of gender.”

As well as these partnership initiatives, CONEL also runs FREE short courses specifically for women aiming to get into construction.

Get into Transportation

The ‘Get into Transportation’ programme started in October 2019 and was designed by CONEL, Transport for London, HS2, Heathrow and NSAR (The National Skills Academy for Rail) to help unemployed Londoners kick-start their careers in transportation. This sector-wide programme offers two weeks of pre-employment training, which focuses on getting candidates ready for work, followed by a two-week work placement at one of a number of different organisations supplying these key transport sector clients.

Placements are available for both site and office-based roles and are matched as closely as possible to the needs and wants of the individual students. Upon successful completion of the programme, students are guaranteed an interview or assessment for vacancies that the participating employers have.

CONEL also ran ‘Go Ahead London’ last year, a programme with Transport for London (TfL) designed to help people get into careers with TfL. 18 CONEL learners were on the programme, of whom 16 were fast-tracked into assessment, getting them closer to that all-important job.

London Ambulance Service

CONEL ran a Maths and English course for 28 London Ambulance Service technicians who needed Functional Skills qualifications to become paramedics. The course was delivered by CONEL at Unison’s offices in Central London and all 28 learners achieved their qualification.

Head of Employability at CONEL, Shiv Emmimath, said, “Mark from London Ambulance Service (LAS) approached us to see if we can help some of his colleagues with Functional Skills. These learners work for the London Ambulance Service and not having a Functional Skills certificate would disadvantage them from progressing within the service to become paramedics.

“Mark worked tirelessly behind the scenes, organising open days and marketing this great opportunity to his colleagues. He organised a fantastic group of learners who were determined to do their course with us. These learners – who have very busy work schedules and long hours at LAS – made a commitment to the college that they would attend and complete the course. Mark played a huge part in coordinating things, arranging rooms in central London and constantly keeping track of his colleagues attending their course. We’re delighted that all the students on the course fully achieved both Maths and English.”

The London Ambulance Service won a CONEL Employer Excellence Award this year as a result of this project.

Tottenham Hotspur Foundation

Over the last year, CONEL has been working closely with the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, which has a commitment to supporting their local community. CONEL is currently working with the Foundation on three projects:

  1. Functional Skills and Customer Service courses for the local community, with job opportunities at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium
  2. Build Enfield Project – CONEL and the Foundation are delivering this fantastic community-based project in the heart of Enfield to deliver jobs, work placements and apprenticeships
  3. Spectator Safety Training for Stadium Stewards – CONEL will be delivering the Spectator Safety training for match day staff employed by the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

The Tottenham Hotspur Foundation was also an award winner at the CONEL 2019 Excellence Awards.

Coming Up

CONEL’s employability team are halfway through their first cohort of delivering a Spectator Safety Level 2 to a group of Premium Stewards at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. This is an exciting project that further enhances the college’s excellent partnership with Tottenham Hotspur FC.

We have also started delivery of our Enfield Council European Social Fund project to help Enfield residents into local jobs. The £500,000 project has been designed to get unemployed people in Enfield into construction to meet the demand of the local workforce. If you want to get involved in this programme, please contact 

International Women’s Day 2020: Westminster Kingsway Hospitality students meet the Prime Minister

An all-female team of Westminster Kingsway College Hospitality and Culinary Arts students had an unforgettable experience on Thursday 5 March, when they had the chance to showcase their skills – as well as meet the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and a galaxy of famous women – at Number 10 Downing Street.

The students prepared and served delicious canapés and drinks to 110 guests at the Prime Minister’s reception to mark International Women’s Day (#IWD2020). At the reception were leading female figures from business, science, sport and other sectors, including double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes, the founder of STEMettes Anne-Marie Imafidon, and Collette Roche, the chief operating officer at Manchester United Football Club. Also present were fifty secondary school girls from Year 9, who are due to make their GCSE choices.

In a panel discussion at the event, the Prime Minister and an all-female panel spoke about a range of issues, including the importance of inspiring the next generation of women into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fields, and the gender pay gap.

The International Women’s Day reception is an annual event at No. 10 and this is the first year that the college has had students working at it. The team of nine students and two members of staff worked with their colleagues at our Victoria Centre’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts to overcome some logistical challenges before they faced the novel and high-pressure situation of serving hot food and drinks at one of the world’s most famous addresses.

As Hospitality Lecturer Lindsey Lamont explained: “No. 10 contacted us a few weeks ago asking us if we could provide the food and drinks – and the students to prepare and serve it – for their International Women’s Day reception.

“Because of the nature of the event, they wanted the team to be all-female. We also realised early on that we would need to pre-prepare the food at our Victoria Centre and transport it to Downing Street, for the team to assemble, cook and plate-up in the No. 10 kitchens – which none of us had used before.

“We are always finding ways to prepare our students for the workplaces they will be in when they graduate from the college, so we jumped at the challenge!”

Number 10 Downing Street

On arrival at Number 10, the students worked in two teams. The kitchen team of culinary students were mentored and supported by Chef Lecturer Miranda Godfrey; they heated and plated the food, which had been made their fellow students at the Victoria Centre. Meanwhile, the front-of-house team of Hospitality students, led by Lindsey Lamont, served drinks and the canapés to the Prime Minister and his guests.

The canapés created and served were:


  • Smoked Salmon Roulade
  • Chicken Skewers with a dip
  • Warm Mushroom Tart


  • Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cremeaux
  • Baked Cheesecake
  • Baileys Choux Bun

One of our Professional Chef Diploma students told us: “It was amazing experience working at 10 Downing Street. There were women and girls from all walks of life and it was wonderful to be able to meet them.”

“I’d never been to Number 10 before and it was a great experience for me and the rest of the team”, explained another student. “Although I was busy working, I was able to chat to some of the guests. Quite a few of them asked me about my course and my ambitions for when I leave college.”

Also present was Boris Johnson’s fiancé Carrie Symonds, who is expecting the couple’s first baby in the summer. One of our students who is studying Hospitality and Events told us: “It was nice to see Boris and his fiancé together at the event and great to see her supporting International Women’s Day. Carrie spent time chatting to the schoolgirls, and after the event was over, Boris came to talk to us privately. He shook all our hands and said that he’d loved the food. The whole thing was a brilliant experience.”

Hospitality Lecturer, Lindsey Lamont summed up the event: “There was such a lovely atmosphere there. It really was buzzing at the event and it was fantastic that the Prime Minister took the time to meet us and the students afterwards. We were delighted to be able to give some of our students the opportunity to work at such a high-profile event – what a thing to have on your CV! – and we hope that No. 10 will be calling on us again in the future.”

Paul Jervis, Programme Manager for the Professional Chef Diploma courses at the college, said: “This was an amazing team effort, involving a lot of people. The students were fantastic and, as the people at No. 10 told me afterwards, were real ambassadors for the college.

“Supporting them was a big team of staff and students back at our Victoria Centre, who devised, prepared and created the dishes. A big thanks to Norman Fu and his students who prepared the savoury canapés, and to Sue Yeates and her students, who did the sweet ones. I’d also like to thank everyone who held the fort back at the college, while their colleagues worked at the event.

“Our location in the heart of London and our fantastic contacts in the industry, mean that we can offer our students a host of amazing career development opportunities – not just working at big events, but also doing work placements in Michelin-starred kitchens and the opportunity to work in the college’s own high-quality public restaurants, which are rated in the top 120 of London’s 19,000 restaurants on TripAdvisor. These opportunities are one of the things that sets us apart from other culinary schools and catering colleges.”

Helping our Teachers to be the Best they can be

The world of education is changing all the time and Further Education colleges are no exception. Modern FE colleges like ours teach a very wide range of subjects – from art and design to engineering and from health and social care to hair and beauty – to people of all ages, and at a range of levels, from entry level (the level before GCSEs) and A Levels, right up to degree-level courses. And rightly, there’s an increasing emphasis on making sure that Further Education courses and the curriculum meets the needs of the wider economy – properly preparing students for university or employment.

Teachers and lecturers need to constantly stay abreast of this changing world and ensure that their teaching methods are up-to-date and relevant to students. Our teachers invest time and effort in their own continuing professional development (CPD) and to help them with this, City and Islington College has launched a new Teaching and Learning hub at its Centre for Business, Arts and Technology in Camden Road. The hub is a dedicated space for staff to gather, and exchange ideas and best practice from across the college, to help everyone improve their teaching practice.

The hub has been designed and set-up by the college’s Quality Team. The team includes Rosie Francis (Head of Teaching and Learning), Kerry Vandersteen (Digital Education Co-ordinator), Dawn Duval-Macsporran (Head of Quality), Chris Humphreys (Student Progress Manager) and Daniel Cramp (eLearning Manager), as well as learning enhancement coaches, digital leaders and advanced practitioners. Between them, they have a wide range of skills and expertise to deliver training, support and consultancy to staff.

Rosie explained: “The aim of the Teaching and Learning Hub is to provide a space where staff can come to collaborate, communicate and create.” The team have created a flexible timetable for staff (so it can fit in with people’s teaching commitments), covering a wealth of topics including; Teaching, Learning and Assessment, Student Progress, Management Training, Quality Assurance, Digital Pedagogies and Using Microsoft Teams. Teachers and managers can book training through the online booking system on the college’s staff Intranet, or attend a lunch time drop-in sessions where a member of the team will be on hand to provide inspiration and discuss any questions they may have.

The hub was officially launched on 3 March with staff from across the college attending an evening event. Performing Arts curriculum leader Tim Chaundy provided the entertainment for the evening; with his students reciting poetry and playing the piano. He said: “the teaching and learning hub will be a great place for teachers to refresh their techniques and improve their skills, as well as experiment with their teaching style.”

Student performances included Alex Ifill (Performing Arts) who recited the poem Teachers, Kevin Gomez who played the piano, and A level student Ellie O’Brien who also performed a poem. She told us that: “The hub is a nice way to use the space, and by helping teachers to improve, it would be beneficial for all students in the long term”.

City and Islington College is part of the Capital City College Group, which is London’s largest Further Education college group. The hub’s launch was a great example of collaborative working, as sister college Westminster Kingsway College (which runs very highly-regarded Hospitality and Culinary courses at its Victoria Centre) provided Hospitality students for the event. The students – led by Hospitality lecturer Lindsey Lamont – managed the catering and service for the evening. Lindsey said: “This is a different experience for our students, enabling them to see the other sites and experience a different style of service – it is great to do cross college events.”

Principal Kurt Hintz said: “Our goal is to make a real difference to students’ lives, and by investing in a hub like this where all our teachers and lecturers can share ideas and make continual improvements to their practice, it will enable us to do just that.”

Royal Navy Engagement Team inspire Public Service Students

On 15 January 2020, the Royal Navy Engagement Team visited a group of 30 Public Services students at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London’s Tottenham Centre, to deliver workshops designed to improve students’ soft skills. Soft skills are usually defined as the attributes that people need to be able to work in a team and get on with others, and include things like communication skills, team-working and leadership.

This visit was arranged in collaboration with the Royal Navy to allow Public Service students to practice specific unit content relating to Teamwork, Leadership, Self-Discipline, Command and Control. The aim of the event was to develop collaboration and teamwork between students – essential skills for the modern workplace.

Split into three groups, the students completed four tasks revolving around building, shooting, cooking and teamwork.

The groups were tasked with building a two metre tall ‘satellite’ from the building blocks provided. This structure then needed to be adapted to withstand the ‘wind test’ by Lt Commander Sim Low, one of the attendees from the Royal Navy Engagement Team.

Students then moved on to a shooting range simulator, where their hand-eye coordination skills were put to the test on the laser simulator before going head-to-head in a number of challenges.

Teams also got a chance to try some of the foods in a standard ration pack that the Royal Navy uses in their operations. The final challenge saw students work together to manoeuvre from one side of a spider web structure to the other without touching the web.

Our Public Services Level 3 Extended Diploma students said: “The building task was the hardest because the pieces were hard to put together and we had to change it when the ‘wind’ was added to test the strength of the structure.

“We learned a lot during the cooking task. We found out all about the ration packs that are used in the Navy. It was cool seeing things you can’t get in a normal shop. 

“The final team building exercise was the Spider challenge. This was where, as a team, you had to move from one side to the other of a spider web-like structure without touching the rope. It was difficult, but we worked together and we completed it. It was fun working as a team.”

Lt Commander Sim Low said: “It is important for students to be exposed to days like this and learn new skills.

“The Navy engagement project goes to schools, colleges and youth centres up and down the country. We deliver these soft skills workshops to encourage teamwork and communication among young people in England.

“We also raise awareness for the jobs the Royal Navy do worldwide, including providing aid to third world countries and protecting ships against piracy. People’s perception of the armed forces can sometimes be negative, but we want to help show the high level of teamwork and communication skills that we need, to carry out the good work we do around the world.

“During these events we are happy to share our experiences and help educate people about the role. It isn’t our main goal, but we are always happy to help those who want to, to find out more about joining the Royal Navy.”

Curriculum Manager for Sport, Public Services and Key Stage 4, Brendan Berry, said: “It was a highly productive day that enabled our Public Services students to engage with the Royal Navy SET Team. The broad range of activities provided by the Navy gave the students the opportunity to display the skills they have gained during their time with us over the past two years. The day’s activities enabled students to consolidate things they are learning on their course, including Teamwork, Leadership, Self-Discipline, Command and Control.

“I cannot thank the Royal Navy enough for working with our students and creating an engaging day that brought practical enrichment and a greater understanding of the role and purpose of the Royal Navy. The team upheld the ethos and finest traditions of service from the Royal Navy, and we look forward to them returning this spring to work with our Sports Students at our Enfield Centre.”

Queen's Award for Enterprise