September 2020 - Capital City College Group
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Our Response To Today’s Announcement by the Prime Minister

Responding to the announcement made today (29 September) by the Prime Minister, Kurt Hintz, Interim Executive Principal of Capital City College Group, said:

“We are delighted that the Government has announced it will offer free Level 3 courses to adults. We know that the biggest barrier to people enrolling on any course is its cost, so we already provide all our courses up to and including Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) for free to everyone, and one of our colleges – the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) – has done this since 2017. In that time, thousands of people from across London have enrolled on a free course, in subjects from Accounting to Travel & Tourism, and from bricklaying to Science – using it as a stepping stone to higher level qualifications, or into an apprenticeship or other job.

“As well as our free courses up to Level 2, we also offer a wide range of free short courses at Level 3, enabling even more adults to gain new skills, and we are delighted that the Government is building on this and making this opportunity available to more people.

“However, we are concerned that the funding for these free courses won’t be available until April 2021.  People whose job prospects have been affected by COVID-19 need help to get learning and boosting their skills now, not in seven months’ time, and we’d urge the Government to make these funds – and the list of qualifying courses – available much sooner.

“We also note that when the funds are made available, it will be through the National Skills Fund. CONEL is part of the Capital City College Group, which is London’s largest provider of further education courses, and we’d like the funds to be added to the adult education budget, which in London is devolved to the Mayor. This would give much more local accountability and would also make it easier for colleges across the capital to access these funds and get Londoners learning faster.”

Students Complete Virtual Internship with Global Media Agency

Twelve CANDI A Level students gained an insight into working for one of the world’s largest media agencies when they took part in a virtual internship during lockdown.

The students completed the 10-week NextGen Leaders programme with Wavemaker, part of communications giant WPP. Wavemaker’s clients feature many high profile brands including Vodafone, L’Oreal, Chanel, IKEA, Paramount Pictures, Xerox and Palmolive.

Students received mentoring advice from business leaders, learnt about working in the media industry, developed their business and presentation skills and had the chance to network with Wavemaker’s clients and partners.

Participants in the programme also watched pre-recorded sessions and joined in live discussions to share their thoughts and ideas with one another. The internship was supported by We Speak, which helps young people develop their confidence in speaking and connects them with business and employment opportunities.

Student Ruth Mbu-Nswingani, 19, said: “My experience of working with the mentors was very positive. Everyone I interacted with had good vibes and gave great feedback.”

Another student Aaliyah Handi, 18, said: “I liked how we got to talk about what we’re passionate about and where we want to go in our future careers.” 

Mentors providing support on the internship were impressed with the students’ commitment and attitude when it came to developing their skills.

Isabelle James, Planning Manager at Wavemaker, said: “The students were all very enthusiastic, bright and ambitious. It was very inspiring.”

Our Careers Service, which arranged for students to attend the programme, provides a wide range of work placement opportunities, resources and advice to help students achieve their university and career aspirations.

Careers Co-ordinator Jo Bishop said: “It was truly inspiring to hear the students speak with so much confidence and many have commented that they now have far more confidence in terms of applying for future opportunities. 

“Our students completed the internship alongside undergraduates, but really stood out with their engagement on the programme and their willingness to learn and develop.  We hope that this is the start of a fantastic partnership with Wavemaker and We Speak.”

Engineering Head Joins Lewis Hamilton’s Drive to Get More Black People in Motorsport

Our head of engineering has joined the new Hamilton Commission to increase the number of black people in motorsport.

Glen Lambert, Head of School for Construction, Science and Engineering, is one of 14 experts forming the commission set up by Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, who said its members would “together make a change”.

The commission is made up of representatives from motorsport, politics, engineering, schools, colleges, universities and other organisations. It will look at the barriers facing young black people in taking up STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) careers in motorsport.

Glen said: “I am very proud to be part of the commission. I wholeheartedly believe it will lead the way in bringing about change and set an example for others to follow to improve the opportunities for young black people.”

Six-time World Champion Hamilton is the only black driver in Formula One history and has made no secret of his feelings regarding the lack of diversity in the sport since the Black Lives Matter protests earlier this year.

He said: “In F1, our teams are much bigger than the athletes that front them, but representation is insufficient across every skill set – from the garage to the engineers in the factories and design departments. Change isn’t coming quickly enough and we need to know why.”

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh, former sports minister Tracey Crouch and Dr Nike Folayan, Co-founder and Chair of the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers, are also among the experts on the commission.

Capital City College Group, of which CONEL is part, was approached by the National Forum of Engineering Centres on behalf of the Royal Academy of Engineering to join the commission because of its “considerable experience” due to its high proportion of black and minority ethnic (BAME) students.

Glen said: “I completely agree with everything that Lewis stands for and his commitment, passion and drive is second to none. Being employed at a college and wider group that has a diverse range of students, I am only too aware of the challenges faced by young people and that change is needed now. Our students can also provide real world insights into the barriers they face, and present ideas and possible solutions to overcome them.”

Prior to joining CONEL, Glen worked at two colleges in Hertfordshire for nearly eight years. He previously ran his own electrical business for almost a decade after completing an apprenticeship.

Glen said: “I hope to provide a valuable insight into the role of FE, and the important part it can play in filling the skills gaps by providing highly trained individuals.”

Find out more about our Science courses and Engineering courses.

Former WestKing Student Shortlisted for Women’s Playwriting Award

A former Westminster Kingsway College student’s powerful drama about a young gay, black woman at her wits’ end has been shortlisted for an award.

Babirye Bulkilwa, 28, who is also an actor, poet and model, has been named among the finalists in The Women’s Prize for Playwriting for their short play, …blackbird hour.

The competition celebrates and supports women playwrights by discovering and promoting the best new work from writers at all levels of experience.

babirye, who uses they, has described their play as “a call to arms to loving oneself when love has evaporated from the body” and said it was inspired by events in their own life.

They said: “It’s about a young, gay, black woman and her safe space, which is her bedroom, and her unanswered questions about love and life. I enjoy storytelling. I’ve always been drawn to creating stories and pictures. Writing allows me to do that, while performing is unlike any type of happiness I have ever felt.”

babirye was pleased to be among the finalists in the competition but feels more needs to be done to promote black and gay artists, writers and performers.

“Without competitions like this, nobody with big pockets would pay my work any attention, but I am proud of myself. I had an idea and I finished it,” babirye said.

…blackbird hour was previously shortlisted for the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, run in partnership with the Royal Exchange Theatre.

babirye recently appeared on stage in …cake, a prequel to Blackbird Hour, at Theatre Peckham.

Listen to …blackbird hour on the Fizzy Sherbert podast, performed by babirye and Michael Balogun, and directed by Anna Girvan (please note: the piece contains strong language).

babirye studied our Performing Arts diploma from 2008 to 2010. “I remember going to see lots of plays, and really analysing theatrical language and technique. My teachers really supported me and celebrated my talent,” they said.

“The lessons were intense, but always provocative. I learnt so much.”

Last year babirye performed opposite Hollywood star Cate Blanchett in When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other at the National Theatre. Her film and TV credits include the BBC series’ Casualty and Our Girl.

babirye co-founded the Sistren podcast to give a voice for the black lesbian community and was named among 10 female creatives in The Guardian newspaper in 2018. babirye is one half of a comedy duo Ackee & Saltfish, seen on BBC Three, and has also modelled for brands including Dr Martens, Adidas, Macy’s and Burberry.

CANDI Student Lands Dream Internship with ELLE Magazine

A Level student, Esther Simuene, was offered a once in a lifetime internship with the renowned magazine ELLE.

Esther, who is studying politics, psychology and economics, spent three months learning everything to do with the publishing world during the lockdown. Read on to find out how Esther landed the dream role, how she found the internship and what she plans to do next.

How did you get the internship with ELLE?

ELLE offered the internship to 12 students around the country. The Careers Service at CANDI reached out to me and asked if I was interested. Of course, I jumped at the chance. I had a telephone interview with ELLE and I was lucky enough to get picked.

What was your first day like?

I was really nervous! I had never done anything like this before and I was nervous to meet the other students. But I had nothing to worry about. As we were in lockdown, we were introduced to each other and the team over Zoom and they really made us feel comfortable and at ease. We learnt about the ins and outs of ELLE which I found really interesting. The magazine has so many aspects to it, there is a lot going on. We were also told that the cover star for the September issue would be with British fashion model, Adwoa Aboah, which was very exciting.

What was it like day-to-day at ELLE?

The internship was two days a week, to fit around our studies and no two days were the same. We were each given a personal mentor who guided and advised us, and we got to work in each department. I loved trying new things and I learnt so much about the industry. 

What did you enjoy most about the internship?

There wasn’t a single thing I didn’t enjoy doing. I was lucky to have the editor at ELLE, Farrah Storr, as my mentor. I loved getting her advice and hearing about ELLE from an editor’s point of view. It was a great opportunity and I learnt so much from her.

What would you like to do after you’ve finished studying at CANDI?

Before the internship, I was clueless about what I wanted to do next. This experience has opened my eyes. There are so many exciting opportunities out there and getting into the media is something I would now seriously consider.

Do you have any advice for other CANDI students?

Trust yourself and step out of your comfort zone, especially if you’re unsure of what you want to do. It could lead to experiences you might never have considered. You may just find your dream career!

Support our #Laptops4Learners Campaign to help Students get Online

Capital City College Group and its three colleges – City and Islington College; Westminster Kingsway College; and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London – has taken to the airwaves to promote #Laptops4Learners, a drive to help disadvantaged students get online during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Restrictions brought about by Covid-19 mean that students will be learning through a mix of face-to-face lessons and online learning, so our #Laptops4Learners campaign is calling on businesses and the community to help provide 2,500 computers and tablets and raise £250,000 to buy more equipment to enable students to study at home.

67 per cent of our students are in the bottom three bands of social deprivation – with some living in the most deprived wards in the country – and almost a third have to share a computer, laptop or tablet with their family. The Government estimates that within the next 10 to 20 years, 90 per cent of jobs will need some sort of digital skills, so your generosity today will help us secure a young person’s future too.

You can donate to the campaign on our JustGiving page:

Speaking to BBC London News today (4 September), Roy O’Shaughnessy, CEO of Capital City College Group, explained how important it is to enable students to learn effectively online: “With the UK heading back into recession and unemployment rising because of the Covid-19 crisis, it is vital that our students do not miss out on their education.

“We’re proud of what we’ve achieved so far and we’re continuing to stretch every muscle to support our students, but we know that there are many more who need our help. And with even more disadvantaged Londoners expected to enrol with us in September, we know we will need many more computers to support their education.

“With your support, we can help more of our learners, so they learn effectively online and gain the skills and qualifications they need to take their next steps into higher education or their chosen career.”

Queen's Award for Enterprise