July 2021 - Capital City College Group
Accessibility & Translation

‘Remote Working Must Not Adversely Impact Apprenticeships’

More of us are looking to continue working from home as lockdown restrictions are eased. Jackie Chapman, Managing Director of Capital City College Training, explains how employers can support apprentices while remote working.

Not a day has gone by over the past year when someone hasn’t said “you’re on mute” or been caught off-guard by something in the background of a Zoom or Teams call. Remote working has become the new normal since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, and something we have all had to adapt to quickly. Now, as countries move out of lockdown and vaccinations are rolled out there has been an increased appetite to work from home.

A recent report in the Economist revealed just a fifth of employees would prefer to work in the office post COVID and around 30 per cent want to work a full week at home, while 42 per cent said they would look for a new job if asked to return to the office full time.

The change is startling compared to two years ago when remote working was seen as the exception rather than the norm, even among tech giants like Google.

The world has shown great resilience to adapt in such challenging times, indeed at Capital City College Group, we jumped to fully online learning in just two weeks.

Restrictions are easing and society is starting to open up again, but many workers and their employers want to keep working remotely. So what does this mean for apprentices and how can employers continue to deliver purposeful and effective training?

At Capital City College Training, the apprenticeship and training provider of CCCG, we are responsible for a quarter of completed apprenticeships in London so far this academic year.

Our apprentices work in a wide variety of roles in various sectors and the impact of COVID has been different for each of them. Employers need to be aware of their needs and that much of what apprentices learn, and what makes them valuable employees, is picked up on the job, something that is often hard to replicate remotely. At CCCT, we have worked with employers to meet this challenge head on and help them continue to provide high quality training and support as many employees continue to work from home.

For most practical apprenticeships like construction and hospitality, our apprentices have been able to continue with their learning theory but the lack of practical experience has made it extremely difficult for them to develop the consistent level of skill expected. This has resulted in some apprenticeships taking longer than normal to complete as they waited to be able to return back on site.

Those apprentices who are training in business support roles, such as administration, HR, procurement and management, have been able to continue to train with relative ease throughout the pandemic. However, in both cases apprentices that have struggled, say the biggest impact has been a lack of support from some employers in supporting their development, and home working has often resulted in them being more restricted in their work. This is frequently where their line managers have also been impacted by changing workloads and health. 

CCCT has provided regular online workshops with apprentices to help them with their training and to support their mental health and well-being, and it is important that employers also show this commitment and duty of care.

The majority of our apprentices say they would prefer to be physically at work one or two days a week, so they benefit from working with others in their role or other areas of the business, and this is something at CCCT we would strongly encourage. From September it is our intention to have group inductions on site to help apprentices connect with other apprentices and staff while continuing to provide online workshops and support in the non-practical apprenticeships,

With more of us looking to work from home, it is vital employers do everything they can to make sure apprentices continue to get the best possible training, support and experience that will give them the skills for their chosen industry as the country breaks free from the pandemic.

Here are my top three tips on how employers can best support apprentices while working remotely:

Set aside time each week to talk to the apprentice, instruct them in their tasks and appraise their work. Encourage a two-way dialogue so they feel fully involved, want to perform well and have the opportunity to ask questions or raise any concerns.

Mental health
Remote working has affected many people’s mental health. Look for signs such as lack of enthusiasm, demotivation, negativity and taking time off. Set aside time with the apprentice in addition to work one-to-ones. A quick chat asking how they are can be very effective.

Broaden horizons
Introduce them to different areas of the business, encourage collaboration and arrange work with other employees to broaden their skills and knowledge, keep them motivated and give them a much better and more enriched experience.

And finally, don’t forget to ask your college or training provider for support.

Visionnaires Chief Executive writes in London Business Matters

Pablo Lloyd is the chief executive of Visionnaires, the group’s social enterprise which helps more people turn their idea into a successful business. He has written a thought-provoking article in the latest edition of London Business Matters – the magazine of the London Chamber of Commerce – in which he debunks some common myths about entrepreneurs and what makes start-ups successful.

As he says in the article: “At Visionnaires, we’ve worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and looked at the histories of many other start-ups. Analysing successful start-ups to see what they have in common is, like any fine recipe, an art not a science. However, with start-up failure rates over 80 per cent and our economy in need of a boost, here is a six-step start-up recipe which seems to work.”

You can find out for yourself what Pablo’s recipe for success is, by reading his article on the London Business Matters website – it’s on pages 50 and 51.

Students’ Creative Flair Celebrated at Virtual End of Year Show

Talented students at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London showcased their artistic and musical flair with a virtual end of year show. The live online event featured coursework and performances by Creative and Media, Computing and Music students at the college’s Tottenham and Enfield Centres.

Media Production and Games Design students exhibited a collection of their showreels, animations, game assets and digital images in the online gallery platform ArtSteps – take a look at their work in the galleries here:

ArtSteps Gallery – Tottenham Centre
ArtSteps Gallery – Enfield Centre

The show also featured talks by industry experts including freelance TV producer director Amy Hydes, music producer Karl Brown from 2TUF4U Records, London-based artist Prema Sundararajan and Anand Nagwani from Microsoft.

Music students gave live performances of their own tracks including hip hop, punk and piano compositions, while Animation and Games Design students competed in an e-sports video games competition against their peers and alumni from the college.

Julie Wheeler, Digital Photography Free Short Course

Several students shared what they have enjoyed about their course in videos and presentations by teachers during the show on Teams on 24 June.

Media Production student Anelia Urudzholova, 18, said: “I chose to study media at CONEL because I wanted to use cameras and equipment used by professionals and also develop my skills in editing. The college really gives students the opportunity to show their creativity by completing projects like movie and music video trailers and promotional videos.”

Music Performance and Production student Sara Mateos, 33, said: “All the lessons are very practical, it’s not just theory. The teachers are really helpful and support you to develop your personal skills as an artist. CONEL has a lot of equipment, rehearsal rooms and all the software that you need to develop your own tracks. I really recommend it.”

Videos were also shown of a number of students receiving awards after being recognised by their teachers for the high standard of their work this year.

Angelica La Spina
Creative Media Production – Level 2
Mateusz Tylman and Rufat Akmedzade
IT – Level 3
Jimmy Gallo
Music Performance and Production – Level 1
Jack Reddington
Games Design and Animation – Level 3
Cemroz Beltan and Erdem Er
Computing – Access to Higher Education
Thomas Barrett
Music Performance and Production – Level 2

Laila Hassanzadeh, Head of School for Computing and Creative Media, said: “The end of year show was a celebration of the fantastic work students have produced despite all the challenges that have occurred during the pandemic. I would like to congratulate them all on what they have accomplished. They should be so proud of themselves.”

Apply now to study one of our Creative and MediaComputing and Music courses this September.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Praises CONEL’s Success at Getting People Into Jobs

The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) has been praised by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for its success at fast-tracking people into work.

The Rt Hon Thérèse Coffey MP gave her support when she visited the college’s Tottenham Centre to mark the first anniversary of the Plan for Jobs, a multi-billion pound Government investment to help millions of people in Britain find new employment and gain new skills.

The Plan for Jobs included boosting the number of Sector-based Work Academy Programmes (SWAPs), which help jobseekers claiming either Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.

Last year nearly 65,000 people were supported to switch careers through a SWAP, with 80,000 places made available this financial year. Since September 2020 nearly 2,000 people have enrolled on a SWAP with CONEL, the majority looking for careers in construction, healthcare, warehousing, security, events and the civil service. SWAPs last up to six weeks and comprise employability and work skills training at a college, followed by work experience with an employer and a guaranteed job interview.

A sample survey of those who completed their SWAP at CONEL found 95 per cent had been for at least one job interview, 80 per cent were now employed and three quarters had found a job within three months of completing their programme.

During her visit, the minister met students currently undertaking a SWAP with Graham Construction, which also included an introduction to brickwork, CSCS card and health and safety training and a paid work placement. A CSCS card proves that the holder has the appropriate training and qualifications for the job they do on a construction site.

She said: “I am really impressed with the relationship CONEL has with its students, employers and the Department for Work and Pensions in delivering SWAPs. To hear that 80 per cent of people on these programmes get a job is amazing and really good news for this part of London. The college is clearly very well set up and committed to helping people of all ages get new skills to fast-track them into employment. The kit is here, the enthusiasm is here and people are learning very quickly and getting into work, so all credit to CONEL.”

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, the unemployment rate in London was at 6.5 per cent – the highest in the UK – in the three months to April. Around 485,000 people are currently claiming unemployment benefits in London with Haringey recording one of the highest claimant rates in the capital at 11.4 per cent.

Adelina Lourenco secured a job as a Document Control Manager with global civil engineering company Sixense in March, a few weeks after completing a SWAP.

She said: “I was working for Skanska and my contract came to an end as the first COVID lockdown started. I found it hard to get a job and it was a worrying time. The pandemic meant the future was very uncertain and I didn’t know if the situation was ever going to change. I started at the college in November. It helped me improve my CV and build up my confidence. I was able to speak to people while on placement and get their tips and advice, which I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to have done.

“When I got a job, it was such a relief. I was happy to be back working in the construction industry because it’s what I know and love. I’m so pleased to be getting my career back on track.”

Glopet Iziduh gained a job as a Project Planner with engineering company Dornan two months after enrolling on a SWAP in November.

She said: “I’ve always had a desire to work within construction or engineering, so I embarked on a career change by completing an MSc in Project and infrastructure Management, but then COVID happened. People were losing jobs and I did not have much experience in the construction industry.

“I did a short course to get my CSCS card and with the help of the college and Women into Construction I gained a placement with Multiplex who referred me to Dornan. After a series of interviews, I was offered a role with Dornan, which has been fantastic.”

CONEL works with 20 job centres across nine London boroughs to run SWAPs at sites in Tottenham, Enfield, Islington, Canning Town and Barking. Students are referred by Jobcentre Plus and continue to receive their benefits during their training. They can also receive help to cover travel costs to get to college and placements and childcare.

Shiv Emmimath, Head of Employability and Trade Union Education, said: “At CONEL we’re committed to supporting people in our community to get the skills and support they need to get into work. SWAPs are a fantastic way to help improve people’s job prospects and for employers to find new workers with each programme aligned to actual job vacancies.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve been helping people from a wide variety of backgrounds who have been looking for a career change or have lost their jobs due to COVID, many of whom have now gone on to gain full employment. Through the SWAPs, we are boosting people’s employability skills, introducing them to employers in their chosen sector and giving them the motivation to succeed in getting a job.”

Queen's Award for Enterprise