April 2020 - Capital City College Group
Accessibility & Translation

Star Chefs and WestKing Team Up for Online ‘Lockdown’ Masterclasses

Since it began in March, the Coronavirus lockdown has provided an opportunity for students of Westminster Kingsway College’s renowned School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts to put down their utensils and engage with renowned chefs.

The college – home to London’s leading culinary school – has hosted four online ‘lockdown’ question and answer Masterclasses for students so far, with chefs Ben Murphy, Freddie Forster, Selin Kiazim and Andrew Wong – all of whom are former students of the college. The Masterclasses gave students a unique opportunity to hear the alumni talk about their careers so far and what they have learned along the way, as well as their top tips for success.

Ben Murphy

The first Masterclass was on 1 April with Ben Murphy, head chef at Launceston Place restaurant in London’s Kensington, who gave a ‘warts and all’ talk about his career. Ben graduated from our Professional Chef Diploma course in 2010 aged just 19 and went on to work in France and at the five-star Berkeley Hotel, Knightsbridge. He said: “The college is the foundation of everything that I learned, from holding a knife to making a base for a sauce.

“But it wasn’t just the cooking. I learned how to be more patient, how to respect my elders and those who know more than me.” He went on to talk about those that influenced his career including mentor Norman Fu and his tutors at WestKing, whose advice and feedback he still seeks. Career highlights for Ben include being driven by Pierre Koffmann to the south of France to work in a 3 Michelin starred restaurant. “It was tough, but I learned a lot and eventually I think I earned their respect,” he said. Providing inspiration to the next generation of culinary and hospitality professionals, Ben told them: “You get out what you put in. The harder you work, the more you get. Live your best life, be happy and have no regrets.”

Freddie Forster

The next chef to share their expertise and experience with students was Saturday Kitchen regular and former Head Chef at le Pont de la Tour restaurant in London, Freddie Forster, on 8 April. Describing his decision to stay at the college and complete his final year as “the best decision I ever made,” Freddie graduated from the three-year Professional Chef Diploma course in 1990 and went on to work for Raymond Blanc in a career that has taken him all over the world. Freddie’s Masterclass covered everything from his favourite dishes to cook and eat, to staying positive and setting goals. Freddie provided a unique insight into the impact of the pandemic and how he believes it will affect the service industry. He discussed the need for restaurants to be more vigilant on spending money and how hygiene practices will change. You can watch it here:

Selin Kiazim

Our third culinary Masterclass was on 23 April, with Selin Kiazim, who graduated from the college in 2008. Students logged in to hear her talk about her time at WestKing and how competing in culinary competitions helped shape her future. One of these competitions resulted in her winning a five-week trip to New Zealand where she met world-famous chef Peter Gordon. She went on to work for him and eventually became head chef at the Kopapa restaurant. Trying to establish herself in her own right, she then ran several pop-ups across the UK and it was only after a career-changing review from Giles Coren in The Times that she gained confidence in her Turkish Cypriot cuisine and opened her restaurant Oklava in 2015. Selin also competed on The Great British Menu in 2017 and her dessert was selected for the final banquet.

Students questioned Selin about being a female in a male-dominated industry. She talked about the harsh reputation that working in kitchens has and how working for Peter Gordon taught her that nurturing her staff is important. “The way that I treat people and the way I run my kitchen is very much in line with him [Peter Gordon],” she said. Watch Selin in action:

Andrew Wong

Andrew Wong – the host of our fourth Masterclass – grew up in a culinary family. His parents were restaurateurs, but the young Andrew was much more interested in studying to go to university than helping out in the kitchen – indeed he deliberately threw himself into his studies so he wouldn’t have to work in his mum and dad’s traditional Chinese restaurant. But people, and circumstances, change and after leaving university and training to be a chef at Westminster Kingsway College, Andrew is a highly accomplished chef with a Michelin Star for his restaurant A.Wong. Watch his Masterclass here:

Programme Manager for the Professional Chefs Diploma at Westminster Kingsway College, Paul Jervis, said: “We are a very well-connected college and these Masterclasses are a unique chance for students to hear first-hand from people who are not only their heroes in the industry, but who, like them, have studied here. We’ve been delighted to run four Masterclasses so far and we are really grateful to Ben, Freddie, Selin and Andrew for taking part.”

“We have a lot of other talented and successful culinary alumni who we keep in regular contact with. We’re pleased that so many of them want to help inspire the next generation of chefs and so we’re planning more Masterclasses, with more alumni, as the lockdown continues.

Find out more about our Hospitality and Culinary Arts courses here.

Sixth Formers to Participate in Video Game Design Project

City and Islington Sixth Form College are offering students the opportunity to try their hand at games design. In an exciting new development, the Sixth Form’s Careers Department, in collaboration with Fusebox Games, have organised a competition to allow students to develop their skills in creativity and teamwork.

Fusebox are known for their hit publications, ‘Love Island: The Game’ and ‘The X Factor Life’.

The winning team or individual will be given the opportunity to go to a real game development studio and meet the professional game designers, developers, and 3D and technical artists who bring games to life.

For those looking to go into the industry or just to build a varied portfolio of accomplishments, the 2020 Games Design Competition will provide a practical route into the world of work. Entrants are expected to put together a supporting Game Design Document, detailing the features and game mechanics they would like to include in their finished product.

Participants are encouraged, where possible, to work together in teams. The original brief notes that video game companies are making increasing use of remote working, and that the competition will provide useful experience in online collaboration.

For more information on the competition, students should email joanne.bishop@candi.ac.uk

The final submission date for all entries is 5 June 2020.

CONEL Partners With Engineering Companies to Offer Apprenticeships

Engineering offers great career prospects in some of today’s most exciting and dynamic industries.

Whether your chosen field is mechanical, chemical, civil or electrical, by doing an engineering course at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, you will gain the skills you need to progress. In addition, CONEL has partnerships with a host of blue chip companies, including Siemens, Bombardier, Hitachi, Thales, Keolis Amey, TFL, Alstom, Miele, Eurostar, Bombardier, Bifa, Virtiv, CBRE, NTAR (National Training Academy for Rail) and many others, which helps students gain valuable work experience.

CONEL’s Strategic Advisor for Engineering Development, Barry Connelly, said: “Our engineering facilities and courses are among the best in the country. Our engineering lecturing staff are all qualified, experienced and industry-trained,. During my time here, we have received several industry achievement awards and endorsements and as a result, our students are well on their way to achieving their career aspirations.

We deliver high quality engineering training programs to a number of Blue Chip companies who we clearly regard as our training partners. We are a centre of excellence for delivering Rail Engineering training and one of our partners is Transport for London (TfL), who have 79 apprentices with us on a number of courses.

TfL’s Teaching, Learning & Assessment Manager, Carley Blythe, said: “Our partnership started when we went out to tender for the contract to deliver our educational needs, in which CONEL was successful in winning.”

“Through regular meetings with the curriculum management, students who attended the Tottenham Centre have successfully achieved the knowledge units that CONEL committed to deliver. We have received confirmation of their good work and through further discussions and centre site visits, we are now sending our apprentices to the Enfield Centre where they will be able to relate their learning even more specifically to the Rail Industry using the infrastructure and equipment at Enfield. 

“Staff at both sites are collaborating well to maintain a productive working relationship which continues to develop. We have gained additional opportunities to share good practice between our own delivery staff and those employed by the college.

“Our relationship is a relatively new one and we are keen to explore how we can work with the college in the future to further develop the partnership and continuously benefit our learners. Our current experience is that the college aims to be responsive to our needs and are working on ways to offer further potential benefits.”

Another key employer partnership is with CBRE, an industry leader in building services management. CBRE’s UK Technical Services Operations Lead, Karl Curtis, said: “CONEL have been committed to working with us on our new apprenticeship programme, showing a huge amount of passion and flexibility in developing a “Best in Class” programme for our future technicians.

“Our partnership developed through engagement sessions and support in developing a new apprenticeship programme. Learners have benefited from this by developing strong foundation skills in engineering during their apprenticeship.

“As an employer we have gained apprentices with core skills that will be ready to move into the workplace and support the business.

“Our 31 London and surrounding county-based Engineering apprentices currently attend CONEL’s Enfield Centre. Our plan is to continue a year-on-year apprentice intake to support our business.”

We caught up with apprentices Catherine Burrin and Pedro Duarte to get their take on Engineering at CONEL.

Catherine is a Thales railway engineering apprentice. She said: “I went to university, studied History and graduated, but didn’t really want to be sat at a desk which is where that career path was going to take me. I took a bit of a chance on a one-year Marine Engineering course and as soon as I started it, I really enjoyed it.”

Catherine at Thales

“After that course I worked abroad for 6 months and when I returned to England, I took the first job I could get. This was as an engineer in a bowling alley, which could only take my engineering career so far. 

“This is when I started applying for apprenticeships, I knew someone who worked at Thales, applied and they got me onto my apprenticeship.

“I’m currently halfway through my Level 3 course, but I aim to progress onto a Level 4 HNC, which they offer here at CONEL. I have an hour-long commute, but what we are getting here makes the journey worth it; I am getting what I need for my career.

“There is a lot of support if you need it here, and there are no stupid questions. Especially the practical side of things, a lot of us have never done this before but the tutors are always there to help us 1-to-1 when needed.”

Pedro, who is an apprentice at CBRE, is completing his Level 3 Building Facilities Maintenance course at our Enfield Centre. He is loving his block release course and is excited by the possibilities of his future career.

Pedro at CBRE

He said: “Working in theatre before, I wasn’t enjoying it, so I looked to do something more practical. When looking into engineering I found CBRE who paired me up with CONEL to deliver my apprenticeship. 

“I like CONEL because the workshop is huge. Right now, we are on the maintenance unit working with hydraulic rams, air conditioning units and using lathes to manufacture various components. I love improving my skills and using engineering machines that I have never used before. 

“CONEL gives you opportunities. My theory tutor is really patient, especially with someone like me who likes to take his time and get it right first time. He will often sit down with me and explain things through to me. This is the same with the tutors in the workshop. They all have a lot of industry knowledge to pass onto us and help develop our careers.”

NSAR (National Skills Academy for Rail) which works with the UK Rail industry, skill sector bodies and Government to ensure the quality of training standards, have said that the overall performance and growth in apprenticeship numbers achieved by CONEL’s Enfield Centre academy is really impressive. This illustrates clearly what can happen when an FE college works hard to create efficient and effective partnerships with employers.

Barry Connelly said: “It’s vitally important to us as a college to develop and maintain our reputation within the industry as a valued training partner that adds real value to companies’ profitability. We believe a successful college/employer partnership must include a number of things, such as: 

  • Personal Connections – the establishment of trust in a partnership is often the result of personal connections between key players;
  • Partnerships must have agreed aims and outcomes, be clear about the responsibilities and contributions of all those involved;
  • Industry experts working alongside college training providers to develop the preferred standards and expectations.

Engineering apprenticeships have seen a revival in popularity and respect within the country. CONEL have engaged with and committed to the needs of employers, adapting to their requirements and standards to change the landscape through partnership and collaboration.”

As the Coronavirus outbreak has spread, many industries have been badly affected, but we are delighted that we’ve been able to help our apprentices to continue to work and learn. As Barry explains: “We have been successfully delivering remote tuition to our learners since the college closed its doors on 20 March. We have been in touch with our partners to inform them of this and they have all confirmed they are happy with these new arrangements.

“Many of our partners have subsequently contacted me to say how pleased they were with the quality of our teaching delivery (keeping their learners on-track where possible) and thanked CONEL for doing a great job.”

CONEL Launches Online Distance Learning Courses

As the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak means many throughout the UK are working and studying from home, the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London is offering a wide range of free online distance learning courses to everyone.

The college has more than 60 free vocational and practical courses available to study in the comfort and safety of your own home, with more being added all the time – helping people gain new skills and boost their job prospects. CONEL is the only London college with such a wide range of free online courses.

Subject areas include accounting, business, construction, customer service, hospitality, airport operations, engineering, IT and digital skills, modern languages, teaching support, public services, science and sport.

Some of the more unusual courses include storytelling, knitting, creative activities for young children, managing personal finances, how to pitch your business Idea, managing challenging teenagers, getting started in British Sign Language and business in football.

CONEL has been offering free short courses at its centres in Tottenham and Enfield for more than two years, with over half of people who take them going on to study at a higher level. As the college’s Vice Principal Robin Hindley explains: “Our short courses are leading to bigger and better things for many students. Since we introduced them, they have gone from strength to strength, with 60% of those studying on a short course last year staying at CONEL to boost their skills even further, by taking a higher-level course with us.

“Following the COVID-19 lockdown and the closure of our buildings, we wanted to keep giving people the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge – and help families at this difficult time – which is why we’re now offering a wide range of free online short courses.

“All you need to join and learn is a PC, laptop or Mac, tablet or even a smartphone, and access to the internet. We’re committed to making education accessible to as many people as possible, and we hope that many will take advantage of this fantastic and unique offer.”

Many of the new free courses are starting during the week of 20-24 April, with more and new courses being added all the time, so there’s still time to book. See the full range Free Short Courses and sign-up today!

Excellence Award Winner Joe Watson Talks About His Time at CONEL

A truly inspirational student, Joe Watson, has overcome a number of barriers in his life to successfully pass the first year of his Media Production Level 3 diploma. Brought up in care and living independently at a young age, he has shown huge commitment and enthusiasm during his studies.

In December 2019, Joe won the Paul Head Excellence Award, (an award in memory of CONEL’s former principal), which recognises learners who have overcome significant barriers to their learning.

We caught up with Joe to ask him about his time at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London so far:

When and why did you join CONEL?

“I joined CONEL back in 2018 when I was looking to find a college that not only had a great media team but also a college that would help me get a foot in the door in the media industry. This qualification will allow me to eventually go to university too.”

How has CONEL helped you develop your skills and knowledge? 

“I had a few self-taught skills, but felt like I really needed to dive deep into media and not just the areas that I was interested in. At CONEL I have learnt about the legal and ethical issues, as well as practical skills like filming a live multi-camera show. I have gained the skills and knowledge that I’ll need to work in the industry at CONEL.”

Has CONEL helped develop you in any other ways? 

“Yes, the college has definitely helped me develop my soft skills, especially my social and communication skills. Being a closed person it was quite a challenge when faced with a group task. I really had to push myself to share my thoughts with my teammates but through the help of the staff and my learning support teacher, I was able to really grow in that aspect.”

Joe’s media tutors say he now demonstrates a real flair and ability to communicate, pitch and develop creative ideas.

You’ve been living in care. How has CONEL supported you through that? 

“CONEL helped me apply for a college bursary that helped support my travel costs as I lived a little way from the college. Being able to receive that fund was really helpful. My amazing form tutor Selda Yuzdik and the rest of the media teachers where aware of my situation and they were amazing in making me feel comfortable and normal and just like any other students, not making my care a big issue. I’m especially grateful to the staff for taking me for who I am, not the label that of a looked-after child. Also, for being there for me in any situation where I felt like I needed to have a conversation about anything home or work-related.”

What is your favourite thing about college and your course? 

“My favourite thing about the college is how diverse it is. Over the years at college, I’ve gained an amazing group of friends and met people that I would have never met in my life if I hadn’t chosen to study at CONEL.

“My favourite thing about my course is the teachers, how driven they are and how they push us to work harder and always obtain distinctions. That mentality has stuck with me and I don’t think I will ever forget the teachers from CONEL. They have always gone above and beyond for me.”

How did it feel winning the Paul Head excellence award, the most prestigious award at CONEL? 

“I was told I was getting an award. I thought it was going to be for media. I sat in the hall thinking ‘where was my name?’ in the little booklet that was on all our seats. I couldn’t find it. I thought there was an error. It wasn’t until my cousin pointed out to me that the Paul Head award was the award I was winning. I cried. I had never won anything before especially a big award like this.

“It was a real sign that all the work and pain that I had gone through was for a reason and that just because you in care or have had been in the system, doesn’t mean that defines your life. You really can go onto doing big things. It was truly an honour.”

You recently appeared in a video for BBC Bitesize about moving from care into college, and are also set to feature in a BBC documentary. What was it like working with the BBC? 

“Working with the BBC and building a relationship with such a massive company is a dream come true. The opportunity came about from me posting some videos on YouTube about my experience in my past care homes and what I went through back in 2012. Someone from the BBC saw them and wanted to work collaboratively on some projects. These projects were BBC three documentaries about living in care homes and more. This was a dream and so unexpected, as even when I posted the videos being 12-15 years old I wanted to change the message that the media portrayed about care homes.

“The idea that care homes aren’t like Tracy Beaker, which was the only media representation that we had about them, was far from true. It was either I get someone like the BBC/ITV to push my content or I write my own book or documentary. So for the BBC to find my content online and them wanting to work with me was honestly incredible.”

What are you plans for the future?

“I plan to attend university and study fashion PR to take my education further. I also want to work with more brands and hopefully write my first ever book and publish it. Apart from that, the future could have anything in store for me, but the college has put me on a path of greatness and brought me closer to my dreams.”

A Model Online Lesson for Year-12 A Level Media Studies Students

The Coronavirus lock-down means that our staff and students are all getting used to teaching and learning in their own homes. Even though we are isolated from each other, it’s really important that we stay in touch and can learn from each other, so we’re delighted to share this article, written by our Digital Education Coordinator, Kerry Vandersteen, on the Teach Learn Digital website.

Recently, I had the pleasure of observing some excellent teaching practice online with Google Classroom and Hangouts. Beck, the Head of A Level Media Studies at City and Islington Sixth Form College, invited me to a Year 12 Class on Radio, so I was able to view how she organised a typical lesson for her students during lockdown. I was really impressed and decided to write up my observations as a case study so others can benefit.

Welcoming and signposting

The lesson ran from 9:15am-12:15 on the Friday. The first thing I noticed in the main stream for the class was an announcement wishing the group a good morning and informing students what was required. This directed them to a register activity and a video explaining the lesson content in the classwork tab. Beck also provided a link to a Google hangout half-way through the lesson (at 10:45am) so students could discuss the tasks they needed to complete and ask any questions.

The icebreaker was a lighthearted poll asking students to name their favourite chocolate bar. Beck could then see who was present and working through the main tasks. She also reminded students she would mark them absent if they did not complete the tasks.

One thing I really liked was a screen-recording of the slides introducing the lesson (using Screencastify). It was labelled very clearly and I felt really comforted by Beck’s warm, friendly voice and sense of humour as she explained the lesson, so am sure her students did too.

Lesson Explanation Video

Beck then provided a range of bitesize activities. Some were due for submission on the day and some were due later. The tasks were designed as scaffolded activities so to build on knowledge which would eventually equip students to complete an independent assignment.

Beck advised students to look through the tasks before the online meeting so they could ask any questions about anything they were not sure about.

Tasks included:

  1. A class survey on radio listening – this was a shared Google doc – so Beck was able to monitor who had contributed.
Collaborative Google Doc

2. A Jamboard (an interactive whiteboard)- students were able to share their previous knowledge about the BBC using coloured notes. This was the first time Beck had used this tool with her class and she was really pleased how well it worked and the students enjoyed it too!

Class Jamboard

3. Research Task – students completed their research individually.

Individual Doc

4. Reflecting on Research – students completed a quiz individually

Google Form Quiz

5. Watch 2 video clips and then take part in a discussion on Jamboard

Video Clips & Jamboard Discussion

6. Reading and note-taking activity – a non-digital task for a change

7. Homework – individual written task

How’s it going?

Beck fed back to me that she has been pleased with the level of engagement from her class. Her advice is to avoid talking through PowerPoints. Instead she tries to design stress-free, bite-size activities to get the students active. You should always try to think from the student’s point of view and make the learning as straightforward and as interactive and as possible. Although the tasks are designed to be completed in sequence, it does not matter if they decide to work through them in a less linear fashion.

Beck also regularly checks in to see if her students can cope with what they are being asked to do. Students seem to appreciate the routines and human contact with their teacher and each other because it creates a sense of normality despite the challenges of the current crisis.

Managing Class Hangouts

Beck starts by welcoming her students as she would face to face with a warm smile, by welcoming each student by name and cracking jokes. There is a lovely atmosphere in the class and students feel relaxed and able to ask questions. Clearly, Beck had already done a lot of groundwork for building this rapport previously when teaching face to face but it is good to see this continued online.

While Beck uses the camera, the students keep theirs switched off. Students have their mics muted but unmute them when they want to contribute to the discussion about the task so far and what they have been set for homework.

I asked Beck about those that were not present in the hangout and she told me she was aware why some of the students could not attend and was following up with those that she does not know about. It turned out three students didn’t have questions which is why they didn’t join, one did not want to speak due to a speech and language need but now knows he can use ‘chat’, two were worried about bandwidth sharing with a working parent and the last one felt unwell. While it is good to prompt all students to participate, it is also important to be understanding and flexible towards students’ personal circumstances.

Student Feedback

During the hangout, I asked the students to tell me what they thought of their online lessons with Beck so far. They told me:

  • They used Google Classroom at school so expect to use it at College and had been using it for Media Studies anyway.
  • They really like what Beck is doing with them now and feel that this is the best type of lesson that they can get currently.
  • They like how they can work on the activities at their own pace.
  • They like having the hangout as it forced them to do some work!
  • They are now using Google Classroom on a daily basis and can also start their own hangouts with each other, which they find useful and empowering.

Finally, a few of the students asked me why some of their other teachers were not using Google Classroom yet and still sticking with platforms like Moodle as they find it far less personalised and interactive. This is something we will need to discuss with some of our teachers but it is still early days and we are are all on this journey together!

Covid-19 Support for Employers and Businesses in London

The London Growth Hub have launched a new portal to support London-based businesses and employers manage and mitigate their exposure to COVID-19 (coronavirus) available here.

Supported by the Mayor of London, the portal is now freely available to all London businesses and brings together essential free resources to help you keep up to date with the latest developments, support offerings and all relevant COVID-19 information, including:

  • Access to book a free 1-2-1 meeting with an expert business adviser (subject to availability)
  • Checklists, factsheets and guides for businesses and employers
  • Information on Government and sector-specific support
  • Information about financial support, grants and schemes
  • Access to COVID-19 webinars, virtual events and external resources
  • The latest news and updates
  • A feedback survey to help us, and our partners, understand the changing needs of businesses

If you are in need of COVID-19 support, check out the hub here.

Media Students Visit Sky Academy Studios

In January, a group of Media Level 3 students from the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London were lucky enough to visit the Sky Academy Studios in west London, to see a real studio for themselves and create news reports using Sky’s broadcast-quality equipment.

For our students, a visit to the Sky Academy Studios was a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience. The experience was an innovative way to bring their curriculum to life, as students worked together with talented professional studio staff, in Sky’s bespoke studio to create their own news reports.

All the studios are kitted-out with broadcast-quality microphones and cameras, and touch-screen editing software that can be used to select green screen backdrops, edit clips, and add special effects, sounds and music.

Attending student, Ellis Bocking, said: “It was a surreal experience seeing the Sky Studios. We filmed our own news reports about celebrity culture and my group decided to talk about the Stormzy and Wiley clash. We saw Sky One news being reported live and the facilities were amazing. Sky have their own cinema and we saw the costume that Spiderman wore on set during the filming of ’Spider-Man: Far From Home’. We also had the chance to meet Ovie from Love Island. It was a great opportunity to get a taste of the media industry.”

The students had a very enjoyable time and learned a lot about the industry. Here is one of the clips they produced during their visit:

After working in the studios to create their news reports, the class then gathered for a final screening of their work. The students said it was an amazing opportunity to see what the media industry looks like and many said they will consider applying for a job at Sky through the company’s apprenticeship scheme.

Queen's Award for Enterprise