December 2020 - Capital City College Group
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Docklands Light Railway Carriage Arrives at CONEL to Inspire Careers in Rail Engineering

Aspiring rail engineers will be able to train even better for their future careers following the arrival of a Docklands Light Railway (DLR) carriage at the London Rail Academy, based at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London.

The huge 15m long carriage will help provide practical training for students and apprentices at the academy located at the college’s Enfield Centre.

Engineering UK estimates there is an annual shortfall of between 37,000 to 59,000 in core engineering roles despite an annual demand of 124,000 jobs, and says it is essential that more young people study STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects.

The carriage made an 11-mile journey on the back of a flatbed articulated lorry from the Transport for London (TfL) Ilford Depot to the Enfield Centre in Hertford Road on 19 December. The lorry slowly manoeuvred the carriage into the college’s rear car park where it was then lifted by a crane and lowered onto a concrete base next to the London Rail Academy workshop.

The carriage is a wooden replica of an actual DLR carriage, which was made by Spanish transport engineering manufacturer Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) for the launch of a new fleet of 43 trains that are due to come into service in 2023. A temporary shelter has been built to house the carriage until a more permanent engineering shed is constructed on the site.

Barry Connelly, Strategic Adviser for Engineering Development at CONEL, said: “The carriage was specifically built to promote the new DLR rolling stock to the rail industry in September 2020. Over the past few months I worked with TfL to reach an agreement to adopt the carriage and install it at the London Rail Academy to improve the learning experience for our students.

“The carriage will enable our current and future Level 2 to Level 4 students and apprentices to receive rail engineering training that is as close as it gets when it comes to gaining the technical skills and knowledge to realise their potential.

“The carriage further complements our existing range of high value equipment at the academy, which has been recognised as the leading rail industry sector college in London and surrounding counties.”

CONEL is part of Capital City College Group (CCCG), which also comprises City and Islington College, Westminster College and apprenticeship and training provider Capital City College Training (CCCT). The college offers engineering diploma courses and apprenticeships through CCCT and transport engineering companies including TfL, Siemens, Bombardier, Hitachi, Eurostar, Alstom, Thales, London Underground and DLR.       

Marcia Summers, Assistant Principal for Technical Industries, said: “This carriage is a fantastic addition to our engineering provision at CONEL, and a sign of our real commitment to becoming the number one hub for providing training for rail engineering careers in London.

“This acquisition will support students and apprentices at the London Rail Academy to gain the knowledge and expertise they need, and in turn help plug the current STEM learning skills gap in the engineering industry.”

Find out more about our railway engineering courses and apprenticeships.

Former Westminster Kingsway Apprentice Alex Webb wins BBC Masterchef

A former apprentice at Westminster Kingsway College has been crowned Masterchef: The Professionals 2020 champion. 

Alex Webb, 25, who trained at the college from 2013-15, described the moment as “a day all my chef dreams have come true” after becoming the 14th winner of the BBC One series. 

He said: “It is the best feeling I have ever had in my life. To walk away with the trophy is incredible. I am so proud.” 

Alex took on 31 fellow professional chefs in the quest for gastronomic glory, cooking his way through six increasingly intense weeks of culinary challenges and producing outstanding dishes along the way. 

He impressed Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing, renowned chef Monica Galetti and MasterChef’s seasoned judge Gregg Wallace from the start, with his elegant dishes bringing a little bit of style and theatre to the competition.

Alex also received high praise from critics and top UK chefs during the competition, including at the Chef’s Table where Anna Haugh described his dish as “perfect in every single way” while Aktar Islam called it “incredible”.

Marcus said: “Today was Alex’s finest day. We have seen a young chef come of age. He is a brilliant young chef, I love his thirst for knowledge, and he has cooked beyond his years. MasterChef is about the next generation and for me as a chef I see Alex as the future.” 

Monica describes Alex’s food as having “a cheeky sense of humour in it” and his youth comes through in his cooking, while Gregg also referred to his “sense of fun” and that he “hits notes of brilliance” when it comes to fine dining. 

Alex likes to create traditional French dishes and put his own twist and sense of fun on them. He outshone his competitors in the challenges that included creating and delivering a Michelin-standard dish for eight international culinary experts and then cooking a dish dedicated to someone special. 

For his final menu, Alex produced a scallop starter with artichoke and pear tartare followed by a main of pan-seared trout with parsnip, and a mussel and caviar cream sauce and mini fish pie sauce, followed by a white chocolate and passionfruit dome with a prosecco sorbet. 

Talking about his experience on the show, Alex said: “I decided to enter MasterChef because I wanted to see how far I could go. Winning is something I will always be very proud of. I really wanted it and all the blood, sweat and tears and sleepless nights have paid off.” 

Alex was born and bred in Essex and is Head Chef at Square One restaurant in Dunmow where he started washing pots when he was 15. He trained at Westminster Kingsway College and has been hugely influenced by fellow Essex chef and WestKing alum Jamie Oliver, as well as his current boss Spencer Hewitt.

Speaking about his next steps, Alex said: “I want to enjoy the moment and make the most of all the opportunities which may be out there.  

“I have lots of ideas for a book and I really enjoyed the experience of being in front of the camera, so would like to look into any chances there may be to do more of this.  

“I will continue to work in the restaurant I do now, and I would like to keep learning and pushing myself. Then, hopefully one day, I will be able to achieve my big dream of owning my own restaurant.”

Many congratulations Alex, from everyone here at Westminster Kingsway College!

We have trained thousands of chefs over the years and are one of the UK’s finest colleges for the culinary arts. If you want to follow in Alex’s footsteps and maybe cook your way to greatness, look no further. Click here for our Hospitality and Culinary Arts courses and apprenticeships.

Public Services Student’s Christmas Surprise for Disabled Brother goes Global

Police, fire and ambulance crews and military forces from across the globe have rallied together to wish a young boy with cerebral palsy a merry Christmas.

Festive video messages from services in the UK and as far away as Australia and the United States, poured in after Jack Andree was admitted to hospital in November weighing just three stone when his condition caused his body to stop absorbing vital nutrients from food.

The 12-year-old also underwent surgery in August after his disability, which can also weaken his arms and legs and cause muscle spasms, caused him to dislocate his hip in his sleep.

Jack’s older brother Brendan, 18, a student at City and Islington College, came up with the idea for the video, which also includes messages from family and friends, to surprise him this Christmas.

He said: “Jack spends most of his time in and out of hospital. He’s had a really tough year and I felt he really deserved something extra special. He loves TV programmes like Fireman Sam, Paw Patrol, London’s Burning and Ambulance, and anything about public services, because they’re the superheroes he sees nearly every day.”

Among the well-wishers in the video were officers from Wiltshire Police, firefighters from Philadelphia Fire Department, soldiers from 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment at Colchester Garrison, the 11th Combat Service Support Battalion of the Australian Army, and nurses from Tara Hospital in Queensland.

Brendan said: “I had no idea it would reach so far and get around the world especially as quick as it did. Words cannot describe how grateful I am to everyone. I’m so thankful and honoured to them for doing this and making this Christmas dream come true for Jack.”

Brendan lives with his family in Tower Hamlets. He is studying a Public Services diploma and asked his college tutor Nigel Lewis, a former Met police officer, for help with the video.

Nigel contacted some of his former colleagues and within 24 hours he was inundated with offers of videos from the UK, New York, Texas, Australia, New Zealand and Gibraltar.

He said: “Brendan is one of the most wonderful young men I have had the pleasure to meet and teach, his heart is so warm. He smiles every day and cares so much for his brother. He sent me a video of Jack in hospital. When I saw his huge smile despite being so unwell, I knew I had to do something to make his Christmas special.”

After Jack’s hip operation, Brendan spent many hours at his hospital bedside when their mum Keely was pregnant with their newly born sister Eva and later during his brother’s readmission for serious weight loss.

Keely, 38, said: “Bringing up a child with cerebral palsy is not easy from the minute they’re diagnosed. What Brendan has done for Jack is so special. When I think I couldn’t be any prouder of him, he does something even more thoughtful and caring.”

Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition that causes problems with movement, co-ordination and development and affects one in 400 people in the UK. It is caused by problem that affects the brain before, during or soon after birth and there is no cure. Click here for more information on Public Services courses.

Click here for more information on Public Services courses.

Students get the drill on managing public order with the Met

Students looking to gain careers in the military or emergency services learned how to control large crowds when they undertook public order training with the Metropolitan Police.

More than 40 students studying Public Services at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) took part in the exercise with the force’s Territorial Support Group (TSG).

Officers gave students an introduction to the role of the TSG and explained how public order plays an important part in emergency incident response and management of events such as rallies, protests, sporting events, state visits and parades.

Insp Steve Wilson, Sgt Jim Meier, PC Sachin Vishram, PC Aaron Bidewell and PC Ruth Cooper led the training in the rear car park at the college’s Tottenham Centre.

Students learnt about command and control when managing large crowds including creating a shield, line holding, crowd direction and interacting with the public via a range of practical scenarios.

Practical parts of the training involved using equipment such as helmets, shields, armour, and door openers, which were wiped down to keep students COVID safe.

Student Mert Mustafa, 20, who wants to become a detective in the Met, said: “It really ignited my passion for joining the police and was a useful step in training for our upcoming careers. We got to try out police equipment, see how they work and what tactics they use in crowd management.”

Another student, Elif Sevinch, 22, who also wants to join the police, said: “We learnt a lot about what the police do at events and protests and how they control them, and also about ‘stop and search’ and what they have to explain to the public.

“It was a good experience that I can put on my CV and personal statement for university, which has also prepared me well for my career.”

The training formed part of practical units on Command and Control, Responding to Emergency Incidents, Interservice Collaboration, and Security and Discipline covered on Public Services diploma courses.

These courses also explain how the military and emergency services operate and provide students with knowledge on human behaviour and social issues, and develop their skills in leadership, teamwork, and communication.

Brendan Berry, Curriculum Manager for Public Services, said: “Public order training is a voluntary service undertaken by the police across the UK to provide students with the skills required to deal with a variety of public order situations safely and effectively.

“This was a fantastic opportunity, enabling learners to engage with the Metropolitan Police, and offer them an opportunity to gain skills needed for their future careers. We look forward to the Met’s next visit in January for the team to work again with our student community.”

Find out more about Public Services courses.

College Nurseries Achieve Mayor of London’s Healthy Early Years London Awards

Nurseries for children of students at City and Islington College have been recognised in the Mayor of London’s Healthy Early Years London Awards.

The college nurseries at its Centre for Business, Arts and Technology (CBAT) on Camden Road and Centre for Lifelong Learning (CLL) in Finsbury Park both received a Bronze Award.

The awards were introduced to recognise childcare and early years providers that do the best for their children’s health and well-being so they get a good start in life.

In letter to the nurseries, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I would like to congratulate you on taking these steps to help improve the health, well-being and development of your children, staff and families.”

Awards are presented by London boroughs with a Healthy Early Years London programme from applications made by childcare and early years providers.

The college’s nurseries can cater for up to 47 children at any one time and are open each weekday during term-time to fit around parents’ timetables.

Khadidja Dzanouni, 33, came to the UK from Algeria in January 2016 and is studying GCSEs in English and maths. Her 19-month old son Ahmed attends the nursery at CBAT.

She said: “To get a good job here you need GCSEs in English and maths. The nursery has been helpful because it’s given me more time to challenge myself and carry on with my studies.

“In the beginning it was hard keeping my son at home and trying to study. Now, I can leave him at the nursery and concentrate more on getting the qualifications I need to find work.

“It’s a nice break for a while. The nursery staff really look after him well. I see many mums on my course, and its better for them to be doing something rather than sitting at home.”

To qualify for the Bronze Award, the nurseries had to meet standards in children’s personal development, behaviour and welfare, as well as criteria in relation to the quality of teaching and learning and the effectiveness of leadership and management.

Islington Council praised the nurseries’ approach to children’s behaviour, speech and language development and its commitment to indoor and outdoor physical activity.

It also recognised staff’s good understanding of children’s interests and stages of development and their good ideas when it comes to supporting children’s safety

The nurseries were also applauded for their inclusiveness including their work with children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Management was commended for supporting staff through training and supervision and encouraging them to help parents understand the importance of healthy eating.

Deborah Evans- Rolfe, Head of College Nurseries, said: “It is fantastic that both our college nurseries have won a Bronze Award in the Mayor of London’s Healthy Early Years London Awards.

“These awards are a fantastic recognition of the hard work and commitment of all the staff at our nurseries, and show the excellent standards we have in place and the impact of our work to support children and their families.”

Click here to find out more about CANDI’s nurseries.

Former Westminster Kingsway College Student Named Met Police Cadet of the Year

Former Westminster Kingsway College student named Met Police Cadet of the Year

A former Westminster Kingsway student who hopes to become a detective has been named the Metropolitan Police’s Cadet of the Year.

Andreea Vlădeanu, 18, was named among the winners in this year’s Met Excellence Awards, which recognise the dedication of officers and police work across London.

She was announced the winner at an online ceremony hosted by LBC presenter Nick Ferrari and guest presenters including Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Stephen Fry, Robert Rinder and ITV London News reporter Ronke Phillips.

Andreea joined the Volunteer Police Cadets (VPC) at the North East Basic Command Unit that covers Waltham Forest and Newham, in 2017 and was promoted to Head Cadet two years ago.

She said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to be Cadet of the Year and not something I expected. I am proud to be a police cadet and glad I can help influence my generation. It’s made me realise I can do anything if I put my mind to it, and what I want to do as a career.”

Andreea, who is originally from Romania, was 14 when she came to the UK. Her father felt London would give her more opportunities and she threw herself into learning English and other activities.

She joined the VPC after seeing an advert on the internet, which helped her to continue improving her English and learn new skills. Her work in the cadets has included helping officers with traffic operations where she has provided translation for police and Romanian drivers.

Andreea studied A Levels in history, law and psychology at WestKing from 2018-20 and is now studying International Relations and Psychology at Royal Holloway University of London. She hopes to join the Met when she finishes university and wants to work to help prevent domestic and youth violence.

She said: “Working in the police is really inspiring. A lot of the time you only see what is happening on the street, officers making arrests and in dangerous situations, but there is also work going on to stop domestic abuse that you don’t see. That is what I want to do in the future.” During her time at WestKing she completed the Career Ready programme, which works with educators and employers to prepare young people for work through mentoring and placements.

She said: “I have good memories and friends from when I was at WestKing. My teachers were amazing. They helped me with everything and gave good feedback. I really enjoyed the Career Ready programme, which helped me a lot. The internship was extraordinary for me.

“I learnt so much at college and will always remember it as a great journey.”

The VPC is one of the fastest growing uniformed youth organisations in the country. More than 5,000 young Londoners aged 10-19 are currently based at units in every borough in the capital.

In a Facebook post announcing her win, the Met said: “Andreea has made an outstanding contribution for her cadet team in Newham, showing her dedication to tackling youth violence.

“When Andreea arrived in the UK from Romania in 2015, she couldn’t speak English. She joined the cadets and quickly volunteered at every event to improve her English and understand London’s culture.

Now Head Cadet, she leads a team of 40 cadets on how to give back to the community and is a role model to so many around her.” Click here to find out about A Level courses at WestKing.

Click here for more information on A Level courses.

A Level Students find Winning Formula in UK Mathematical Challenge

A Level students at Westminster Kingsway College have been named among the top performers in this year’s UK Mathematical Challenge.

Nine maths students achieved two silver and seven bronze certificates in the Senior category of the nationwide competition run by the UK Mathematics Trust.

The challenge consisted of 25 questions to be answered in 90 minutes under exam conditions. and Participants’ answers were later marked by the trust.

Rin Moussa, 20, who achieved the highest score among WestKing’s silver winners, said: “I was so impressed at how well I’d done because the questions got harder as you went through it, and we also had been revising for our mock exams at that time.”

Ayce Ates, 21, who also attained a silver, said: “I feel very proud of myself. The challenge was not based on what you learn in class, so you had to use your own logic and knowledge. It was quite hard and I had to spend a lot of time on some of the questions, but I’m happy with the result.”

Rin and Ayce are also studying A Levels in chemistry and biology and hope to study medicine and chemical engineering respectively at university.

Fadi Faroukh, 18, who gained a bronze, said: “The first questions were fairly easy. There were some others that were hard and I struggled a bit, but overall I am happy with how well I did.

“I enjoy problem solving and looking at things from a different perspective to find a solution. When you get the right answer, it feels good.” Fadi is also completing an Engineering diploma and plans to study a degree in civil engineering.

The UK Mathematics Trust is a charity based at the University of Leeds and was founded in 1996 to advance the education of young people in mathematics.

It works with hundreds of volunteers across the UK to organise competitions, promote problem solving, teamwork and other mathematical enrichment activities.

Ali Elkayal, Lecturer in A Level Maths, said: “This was the very first time that we have enrolled our students on the UK Mathematical Challenge, and they have done brilliantly.

“Despite the pandemic, they have still gone the extra mile and stretched their abilities. It’s such a joy as a teacher when you see students understand how mathematical problems work and are able to relate what they are learning.

“I congratulate them all on their success and hope this experience will motivate and inspire them to continue using their problem solving skills in class and in every aspect of their lives.”

Click here for more information on A Level courses.

Queen's Award for Enterprise