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Students to Create Recipes to Tackle food Poverty this Christmas

Students at Westminster Kingsway College are to create their own nutritious recipes to help disadvantaged families make best use of ingredients from foodbanks this Christmas.

Chef Lecturer Vince Kelly was inspired to take action following a sharp rise in the number of people using foodbanks during the pandemic and food hunger being highlighted by Marcus Rashford’s free school meals campaign.

The project will see BSc (Hons) Culinary Health and Nutrition students devise easy to follow recipes that will be printed on festive cards also featuring a QR code linking to videos showing how to make the dishes.

The cards will be distributed in food parcels by volunteers from four foodbanks supported by The Trussell Trust at St Margaret the Queen in Streatham Hill, with students being encouraged to help.

The four foodbanks at Norwood and Brixton, Clapham Park, Vauxhall and Waterloo came together to use the church as a base after adopting a delivery only service during the pandemic.

If successful, the college hopes to run similar projects with students on other Hospitality and Culinary Arts courses at WestKing to support more foodbanks.

The college also plans to launch free cooking courses to teach people basic culinary skills and how to make simple, nutritional dishes on a budget.

Vince, who has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 25 years, said: “It’s a sad reality that there are many starving families living in the UK who are struggling to put food on the table. The pandemic has exacerbated this further and led to me thinking that there must be a better way we can reduce food deprivation.

“There are many culinary educational centres throughout the UK, with at least 16 in London alone. Alongside volunteering students and contacts in hospitality, we are well-placed to help provide meals out of term-time for vulnerable schoolchildren and anyone else who may need it.”

The Trussell Trust, which supports a network of more than 1,200 foodbanks in the UK, has forecast a 61 per cent rise in the number of food parcels being handed out between October and December.

The charity says families are the worst hit with nearly two in five households needing to use a foodbank. Half of people using its foodbanks at the start of the pandemic had never used one before.

Rebekah Gibson, Waterloo Foodbank Manager, said: “The need for our foodbanks is higher than ever. People are really struggling and anything to support them will make a huge difference.

“We’re really pleased that the students at WestKing will be providing us with recipe cards to help those in need this Christmas cook healthy, delicious meals.”

Vince has had his own experience of living and supporting a family while on a low income when his catering business in Ireland collapsed in 2011 in the aftermath of the last recession.

He said: “I have had my own personal struggle with feeding my young family but was always too proud to ask for help. I have only just recovered over the past couple of years thanks to the support of family, friends and work colleagues.

“Not everyone is that lucky. That is why I cannot sit back and watch this happen.”

WestKing students at the college’s three centres in King’s Cross, Victoria and Soho are also donating food and other essential items to a foodbank at The Selby Centre in Tottenham.

Click here for more information on Hospitality and Culinary Arts courses.

WestKing Scoops Two Prestigious Awards at Hospitality ‘Oscars’

Westminster Kingsway College has scooped two prestigious Catey awards, the hospitality industry’s equivalent of the Oscars. The Cateys are run by The Caterer magazine and recognise the most talented individuals, biggest brands and strongest performers in the industry.

Gary Hunter, Interim Deputy Executive Principal at Capital City College Group, won the Education and Training Award and WestKing received the Health and Nutrition Award at an online ceremony on 24 November.

Gary was awarded the Education and Training Award for delivering on his ambition to better the standards of culinary education in the UK. Judges hailed Gary as a worthy winner who has “continuously adapted and changed the college’s curriculum to reflect the needs of the student to meet the demands of the industry.”

Gary Hunter

Gary, who is also a trained pastry chef and chocolatier with Michelin star restaurant experience, said: “The team at Westminster Kingsway are pivotal to our success with the many students that have graduated from us and gone on to make such a positive impact within the Hospitality industry. This award is just as much a reflection of their hard work as it is mine. 

“I have an undiminished passion and love for this industry and working with a team that shares my vision for the future of training and education means that we can meet the needs of students and hospitality in clearly tough circumstances at the moment. My thanks go to The Caterer for continuing to highlight and celebrate such great examples of what makes this sector so innovative, vibrant and strong.”

The Health and Nutrition Award was awarded to the college for its creation of an academy in partnership with Culinary Medicine UK to educate students and clinicians on the importance of food as medicine. 

Judges described the relationship as a great example of partnership working that has “the potential to change the health of the nation and reduce costs to the NHS”.

Vince Kelly, Chef Lecturer, said: “I believe chefs can play a huge role in the nation’s health and can increase awareness by adding nutritional value to each dish. I see future career pathways into healthcare for professional chefs, and it is vital we set the standard now.

“Winning this award has only added weight to this argument and endorsed the fantastic work we’ve been doing at Westminster Kingsway College.”

The Cateys were first held in 1984 and are among the most prominent and respected awards in the hospitality industry.

Past winners of the coveted Chef Award include Raymond Blanc, Heston Blumenthal, Gordon Ramsey, Tom Kerridge, Claude Bosi and Angela Hartnett.

WestKing has 15 operational kitchens and two training restaurants, The Brasserie and The Escoffier Room at The Vincent Rooms, located at its Victoria Centre, and trains more than 2,000 students and apprentices each year. Find out more about our Hospitality and Culinary Arts courses.

Enrichment Officer Esther goes ‘Above and Beyond’ to win Jack Petchey award

Westminster Kingsway College’s Enrichment Officer Esther Dahan has received a prestigious award for inspiring students to take on new challenges and boost their skills outside of the classroom.

Esther, who has worked at the college for just over a year, was among the recipients of a Jack Petchey Foundation Leader Award, after being nominated by her manager Laura Elliott.

The Jack Petchey Foundation was set up by Sir Jack Petchey CBE. It runs various programmes to inspire and motivate young people in London and Essex and recognise their achievements.

Esther’s win also means WestKing will receive a Leader Award Grant of £750 from the charity to spend on a project that will benefit its students.

She said: “I was touched to find I’d won the award, particularly after reading the heartfelt nomination that my manager put through for me. I’m excited to spend the grant on a new project for our learners.

“Enrichment is important in enabling young people to develop other skillsets; not just socially, but by strengthening a foundation of knowledge and experiences outside of the classroom, which they can take forward from college to live fuller, more enriched lives.”

Esther has led on a wide range of enrichment activities for students since joining the college in September 2019. Alongside the running of a regular weekly programme of clubs and activities, she has organised welcome and higher education fairs. She has also co-ordinated events focussed around our thematic monthly calendar, for example BAME history, LGBTQ+ issues, religious faith, student safety, health and wellbeing, and exam preparation.

In nominating Esther for the award, Laura Elliott, Head of Learner Services and Operations, said: “Learners know her well as she is front facing and always out and about speaking to learners, hosting clubs, societies, events and activities.

“Since moving more to online/blended learning she has gone above and beyond to ensure that learners know who she is, how to contact her and what activities and events are coming up. She has relished the opportunity to break down barriers particularly in the current pandemic, to ensure that learners do not miss out and that they are kept engaged and occupied.

“She has built a really good rapport with our class reps in particular and utilised them in the decision making behind the clubs/activities and events. Everything that she does puts the learner at the forefront, always thinking about how they will benefit and how we can make our outreach fully accessible.”

Since they were launched, Jack Petchey Leader Award Grants have supported more than 420,000 young people in schools, colleges and youth organisations across London and Essex.

Esther will be presented with her award at an online ceremony on a date to be confirmed. Click here for more information on Enrichment and Student Support at WestKing.

WestKing Named ‘Best in South of England’ in Career Ready Awards 2020

Westminster Kingsway College has been named a regional winner in the School or College of the Year Award category at the Career Ready Awards 2020. The award, sponsored by Arriva, recognised WestKing as the ‘Best School or College in the South of England’ for its commitment to the Career Ready programme.

Career Ready is a national charity that works with educators and employers to help young people fulfil their potential by preparing them for the modern workplace.

The award celebrates schools and colleges that have successfully implemented the Career Ready programme to provide an outstanding experience for their students.

Carlo Liu, Employability and Progression Lead at WestKing, said: “We are delighted to be a Career Ready regional winner. Working with Career Ready has been central to building our cross-college careers education programmes.

“Our students go on a journey, benefitting from all elements of the programme from the employer mentoring and masterclasses to the summer internships. This year’s students have had their interviews and we can’t wait to see their progress in the year ahead.

“Boosting employability skills and connecting young people with industry gives them all-important workplace experiences and the new-found confidence and motivation to succeed and achieve their future goals.”

A Level student Jasmine Duckworth also received Special Recognition in the STEM Student of the Year Award, sponsored by AstraZeneca. This award recognises students who have made the most progress towards a career in a STEM industry during the programme.

Jasmine received Special Recognition in the STEM Student of the Year Award

Jasmine 19, from Camden, said: “I wasn’t expecting to be nominated, but I feel very proud to have been recognised. It shows I’m doing well.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and when I heard about the Career Ready programme I thought I would give it a shot because I knew I would gain experience on an internship with a mentor. It was another opportunity and I just grabbed it.

“The experience helped me to develop my communication and teamwork skills. I was quite shy at first and did not know how to start a conversation, but I had to step out of my comfort zone and get to know different people and teams, which gave me more confidence.”

Jasmine undertook a six-week internship at BP while being mentored by Lucinda Pilkington, Business Engagement Manager at the Bank of England.

In nominating Jasmine for the award, Lucinda said: “Jasmine has made this past year a very enjoyable one for me, I feel lucky to have been assigned such a friendly, funny and might I say inspirational young lady. 

“I have watched Jasmine grow in confidence this year and explored skillsets I don’t think she honestly thought she possessed, but she has flourished.”

WestKing’s Careers Service has been working with Career Ready for three years as part of its range activities, support and guidance to help students to get into work or university.

Access to HE Provides the Medicine for Aspiring Doctor

A dedicated and hard-working student has overcome serious illness and setbacks, and is closing in on her ambition to be a doctor – thanks in part to an Access to Medicine course at City and Islington College. Sian Roberts has battled with Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos syndrome (EDS), a genetic connective tissue disorder, from the age of 15.

Suffering with joint pain, instability, fatigue, migraine, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) and mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), Sian’s education was profoundly affected. After completing her GCSEs, she started her A Levels, but sadly had to drop out due to her condition. 

For years Sian continued to suffer and ended up bed-bound for months. In 2017, at the age of 23, she received the surgery that she had been waiting for and was given a new lease of life. Although she still suffers chronic health conditions, her experiences with health and the healthcare system sparked an interested in medicine and how the body works. 

Although she had missed many years of education, she is resolute in reaching her goal of becoming a doctor. She knew the best route to medical school was through the Access to Medicine course at CANDI, which she successfully completed in 2019. Sian is now a second-year medical student at St George’s University of London and well on her way to making her dream a reality.  

“I consider myself lucky. Although I still have chronic health conditions, I’m well enough to move forward with my life. Because I had been out of education for a while, I had very little confidence in my academic ability, but I really wanted to study medicine. After a lot of research, I knew my best option was an Access to Higher Education course which is aimed at over 19’s who don’t have the necessary qualifications to get into university. I applied to two colleges in London and after attending the open evening and interview, I knew CANDI was for me. Everyone was so friendly and supportive. 

“Starting the Access course felt very daunting as it was a big life change for me. The environment at the college and the friendly staff and students quickly eased my nerves. The teachers were all incredibly knowledgeable in their subject area and were supportive and approachable. They were aware of my health issues and were incredibly flexible, allowing me attend other classes when I had hospital appointments that clashed with my timetable. I also had contact with the disabilities advisor and was given additional support with exams. My tutor, Imran Ahmed, was not only incredibly supportive, understanding and kind, but also managed to convert me to liking physics! 

“The Access course really prepared me for the first year of medical school. The course is intense and covers everything that’s needed to start studying a medical or healthcare degree. It gave me a great foundation to then build upon in my first year of university. 

“Because of my health, education is something that I will never take for granted. I loved my time at CANDI and was determined to make the most of the course and do as well as I could. I had very little academic confidence when I started. Because of my health and its impact on my education, I felt I wasn’t good enough to achieve anything. But the positive experience and support that I had at CANDI really helped me to develop confidence in my own ability and go on to medical school.

“It’s natural to feel apprehensive and nervous about starting something new, I certainly did. But for mature students, Access courses are an amazing route to university. Being a mature student, you have a lot to offer and can bring different life experiences to the table. It’s a lot of work but rewarding and enjoyable. It’s all been worth it to now be studying my dream course at my first choice of university. I’d really encourage anyone who’s thinking about it to take that leap and do it!”

Former Student Returns to Share Memories of CONEL

The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London in its present form dates back to August 2009. Tony Papard, 75, from Battersea, attended the then Tottenham Technical College from 1958-1961. Here, he shares his memories after recently visiting the college for the first time since his studies.

Tell us about your early life

I was born in central London and first grew up in West Hampstead. At the age of six my parents split up and we moved in with my maternal grandparents in Bowes Park, Wood Green, and later a council flat behind Alexandra Park in 1957. I went to St Mary’s Church of England Primary School in Kilburn, Beaumaris School, which was a girls’ school but took boys up to the age of seven, and then Bounds Green Junior School and Bounds Green Secondary Modern School.

When did you study at the college?

I studied at Tottenham Technical College from 1958-1961. Back then the college took students from the age of 13, so from then until school leaving age it was an ordinary school. I stayed on with others for a year of further education.

What did you study?

My senior school was a secondary modern with no choice of subjects to be studied. I could not get on with woodwork or metalwork, so took an entrance exam to go on a commercial course at the college. The first two years were a continuation of our regular schooling, so all normal subjects were taught such as geography, religious instruction (i.e. Christian), history, English, English literature, maths plus the commercial subjects, which included bookkeeping, typing and Pitman’s shorthand. When I stayed on the extra year to take my exams the normal subjects were dropped. There were mainly girls in the class and six boys mainly wanting to become chartered accountants. I took my GCE O Levels and RSA Stage II exams and passed in all subjects, except English Literature.

What was the college building like back then and how has it changed?

After so many decades the college has changed almost beyond recognition. There was only the main building and the smaller tower block then with an assembly hall between two quadrangles, one of which has gone. The one behind the main façade, was where we could take breaks. Apart from the doorway at the south end of the main building, where we used to come in, and the corridors and windows, it’s very different to what I remember. I believe there was a cafeteria somewhere at the top of the main building, but I cannot recall what kind of meals they served. The Drama Hall is now an open area whereas before it was divided into separate classrooms. The newer parts of the college, including the taller tower block, workshops and reception area were all added long after I left. Where The Salon is now was an archway leading to the smaller tower block. The old library, where I used to spend spare periods reading copies of the National Geographic, has been replaced by the new one, as have the old gym and changing rooms.

What were lessons like at that time?

Most lessons were in classrooms of about 30 pupils with blackboards, many of which were the vertically rotating kind. Boys and girls were separated in classrooms. We sat at desks and had to use fountain pens as ballpoints were not allowed. We had some lessons in the lecture room in the original tower block. Debate was not encouraged. Lessons were mostly dictated, and with one teacher it was a case of copying down his scribble on the blackboards before it was all erased. There was a weekly walk to Tottenham Marshes where some of the other boys played football. Once they asked me to be linesman. I had no idea what that meant, so laid down at the side of the pitch and went to sleep. They never asked me again! There was a visit to the Old Vic to see Macbeth. For some reason I decided not to go with them, which I later regretted.

What do you remember about your teachers?

My teachers included Mr Owen, who was very strict for the first two years but then after the summer break changed completely and spent most of his lessons telling us about his time growing up in Wales. There was also Mr Watters, who taught geography, He had a paralysed arm and looked like Oliver Hardy. Then there was the timid Miss Lincey, who taught us from Religious Instruction, who would have been better suited to teaching in a primary school as we made fun of her mercilessly. One day, another teacher, Mr Tate, had fountain pen ink sprinkled on his jacket and we were hauled before Mrs Wright, the department head.

Tony’s report sheets from Tottenham Technical College

Who was your favourite teacher and why?

Mr Owen was probably my favourite. I recall he once said that in future we would remember we once had a teacher named Owen, who if we’d listened to more attentively, we would have been more successful. I am still not sure how he thought his stories of his boyhood in Wales would help us have successful careers!

Did anything you learnt at college stick with you?

It was while Mr Owen was teaching me commerce that I decided capitalism was evil and read Karl Marx’s Capital, which led me to become a lifelong socialist, joining the British Communist Party for a short time in the late 1960s.

What did you do when you left college?

My family moved to Welwyn Garden City during the last few months at college. While other leaving students received careers advice, I did not because I had moved to another county. I ended up working as a clerk for a printers and after a year got a bookkeeping job at the headquarters of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in London, which I loved, and stayed there for six years. I recall one of my college teachers, Mr Dent, saw me on a CND march and said he approved. I also worked as an International Telegraph Operator with the Post Office and later as a Telex Operator for a number of organisations. I met my ‘husband’ George in 1970 and we were together 21 years until he passed in 1991. We had a very loving relationship and travelled the world together. He got me away from the Communist Party and after that we both got jobs with Amnesty International at different times. I later took early retirement to look after my late mother. I now write regular articles for Roots magazine and have self-published several books, including a memoir and short stories.

Robin Hindley, Vice Principal of CONEL, said: “It’s always great to hear of people’s life stories and how the work of colleges impacts on them for the rest of their lives. Tony’s life story shows how the impact of individual teachers can shape the choices we make and the careers available to us. And how great it is to come across people from the past on your continuing journey, as he did on the CND march.

“In its current form, CONEL remains a local college, giving local residents opportunities to learn new skills and look for new careers. Much has changed in the buildings and resources on the site, but we’re still committed to supporting local people to get on in life. These days, our teachers aren’t known as Mr this or Mrs that, but they work as hard as they can to help their students to be confident with the skills they’re learning so that they can go out and get the job of their dreams. We’re very proud of our students and staff and we know that we’re creating lifelong memories for many of them on their journeys through life.”

Are you a former student? Tell us your memories and experiences of CONEL and where you are now – contact

Former Student Secures Finance Apprenticeship with JP Morgan

A former student of City and Islington College has told how he secured a degree apprenticeship with financial giant JP Morgan. Jamil Rashid, 19, gained a place with the finance company in September after a rigorous selection process that included an assessment, networking event and video interview.

He said: “I wasn’t sure university was for me, especially when I started to find out more about apprenticeships. People were working, earning and studying towards qualifications as well, which suited me a lot more.

“When I reached Year 13, I made a real effort to apply for apprenticeships and did a lot of research to get in. I applied for 10 to 15 apprenticeships. I knew at the end of the day it was a numbers game, and if I applied for enough there was a good chance I would get an offer.”

Jamil achieved A Levels in Maths, Economics and Psychology at CANDI before a year-long apprenticeship with KPMG, auditing accounts for clients including the NHS, Save The Children UK and Residential Management Group. In his role as a CIB Operations Apprentice at JP Morgan he is currently working on the trading floor while studying for a BSc Applied Finance with the University of Exeter.

Jamil said: “My degree is directly related to my job role. Everything I am learning at university I can apply to work at JP Morgan. I think this is the best way. Doing an apprenticeship, I get to experience the best of both worlds.

“I don’t feel I’m missing out on the whole university experience because I’m still getting a Russell Group university degree.”

While at college Jamil had the opportunity speak to representatives from the UK’s top 100 employers at the Rate My Apprenticeships Awards in 2018, where CANDI’s Careers Co-ordinator Jo Bishop won the Outstanding Contribution to Apprenticeships award.

Jamil said: “It was a really good opportunity to broaden my apprenticeship knowledge and meet some big, key people in the industry.”

He admitted the application process at JP Morgan was tough with competition from hundreds of applicants from across the UK.

Jamil said: “JP Morgan to tend to hire very high level, intelligent, successful people and I knew that kind of environment would help me to thrive and develop myself on a personal and professional level. You’re competing against students across the country and you’ve just got to want it more it than them, and work harder than them. Once I got to the stage where I’d met a few managers and saw the office and what I’d potentially be doing, that’s when I felt truly inspired.”

Jamil added that there are a lot of perks and benefits to his apprenticeship, which has given him the chance to travel around London and work with different teams and clients.

His advice to those looking for an apprenticeship is begin researching the roles and companies you are applying for at the earliest opportunity.

He said: “Start early because many apprenticeships are closed or applications are being processed because companies want to get people hired before the exams period. A lot pf people don’t know what they are applying for and what an apprenticeship entails. People think that accounting is just numbers, but if you understand these jobs and what these apprenticeships are about, you’ll be quite surprised. It’ll often change your perception of certain industries.”

CANDI’s Careers Service provides a wide range of information, support, guidance and events throughout the year to help students achieve their career ambitions.

Janet Willoughby, Careers Adviser at CANDI, said: “Jamil was a very determined young man who definitely made use of the careers service every step of the way, from his CV and rebranding himself to making himself known and saying the right things at all times. Something we impart on all our students is to put themselves out there and try. Jamil did just that, and it is no surprise to us that he gone on to get an apprenticeship with JP Morgan. We are all very proud of him and wish him continued success in his career.”

Find out more about A Levels at CANDI and apply online today.

CANDI Students Achieve Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) is a programme aimed at helping 14-24 year olds gain new skills, confidence and employment. During this unprecedented year, two A Level students from our Sixth Form College, Keira Reid and Emily Jeffery, share their experiences of gaining the Silver award during the lockdown.

Keira Reid

“I gained the DofE Bronze award at secondary school and enjoyed it so much that I wanted to carry on and achieve the Silver award while at CANDI. I thought it would be a good way to meet new people and it aligned well with my A Levels. 

“Reading was my chosen ‘skill’ and I worked out at the gym for the physical aspect of my DofE. I worked out with my mum; we were both aiming to get fit and she helped keep me motivated. Making my local area a cleaner space is something I’m passionate about, so I volunteered as a litter picker to help the community. My local park is near a primary school where lots of children play and I focussed on this area. 

“When lockdown hit, I had to switch from litter picking to helping my 10 year old brother with his schoolwork. This involved teaching him new concepts and helping him adjust to studying online. It was really rewarding. I learnt patience and how to teach new concepts slowly and simply.  

“I also had to start working out at home instead of the gym. It was very easy during lockdown to become lazy and unfit, so I made my whole family get involved. It became a fun way to have family time. The DofE helped me use the time during lockdown productively. It helped me be more active and learn time management. I also started reading more, which helped keep me in a positive frame of mind.

“My advice to anyone considering taking part in the DofE is to choose activities that align with what you’re already interested in. It’s really fun and there’s an amazing camping trip at the end of the year which is where I created some of my best memories.”

Emily Jeffery

“When I started at CANDI, I saw on the list of enrichment activities that the DofE was offered, and I really wanted to get the Silver award. I knew it would be a good way to try new activities whilst at college. 

“I was originally volunteering at a children’s club, helping set up and run different activities, games, managing refreshments and sometimes a tuck shop. The gym was my chosen activity for the physical, and baking for the skills section. 

“When lockdown happened, the children’s club was cancelled so I decided to help my younger siblings with schoolwork as I already had experience working with children. Baking was easy to do at home and I simply sent my assessors pictures each week, rather than bringing in cakes for them to try. 

“I’ve learnt how to adapt to change and be more flexible. I had to manage my time and organise myself. It was down to me to do complete and document activities each week during lockdown. Doing the DofE has made me more resilient. You need commitment and perseverance to complete the award. If you’re considering it, it’s definitely worth it!”

The DofE Award is just one of a wide range of enrichment activities that students can do while they are studying at CANDI.

Queen's Award for Enterprise