September 2021 - Capital City College Group
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Student governors appointed to CCCG board for new academic year

Two students have vowed to make the student voice heard after being appointed to the board of Capital City College Group (CCCG).

Sinem Bozkurt and Jennisha Chin will provide a learner perspective to support strategic planning for the Group, which has around 30,000 students and apprentices.

CCCG comprises City and Islington College, Westminster Kingsway College and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, and apprenticeship and training provider Capital City College Training.

Sinem, 17, said: “I applied to be student governor because I wanted to challenge myself and have an impact on the college in a positive way. It’s important for students to have a voice because every student, their education and overall satisfaction with their college is a priority. Having a student mindset will help the board make better decisions.

“I am very creative and a confident communicator and feel this role will be an invaluable experience where I can apply these skills, show my enthusiasm and make a mark.”

Sinem is in the second year of studying for an Engineering Level 3 Extended Diploma at WestKing. She is one of only four female students on her course and is her course representative.

She said: “Engineering is all about creativity and problem solving, it’s about innovating our everyday lives, the willingness to take up a challenge to create better and bring ideas to life – this is what drew me to engineering. In the future I hope to study software engineering and become successful in the field of tech.”

Jennisha, 38, is in her final year of a PGCE Further Education at CONEL and has been gaining experience as an A Level Business lecturer at CANDI’s Sixth Form College in Angel.

Prior to undertaking her PGCE, she completed a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the University of East London after graduating from the University of Plymouth with a BSc (Hons) in Business Management. She also has a Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTLLS) from the Community Learning & Skills Service. She spent much of her early career in the hospitality industry and as a hairdresser after training at college in 2005-07.

Jennisha said: “I have industry knowledge and experience in hospitality as well as event management and have very strong people skills. People nearly always feel safe and comfortable to express their issues to me, and so I thought why not be a voice for the students?

“I hope to encourage them to come forward and share their concerns and support them to develop further with what the colleges have to offer, as young people are the future. I also feel that becoming a student member of CCCG board would be highly beneficial to me and my professional career and personal development.”

On her future plans to teach in FE, she said: “Many young adults leaving school are still confused or unsure of what they actually want to do or the opportunities available to them at this prime time in their lives, and this is why I want to encourage them to reach for the stars and let them know that nothing is impossible.”

CCCG students can also make their voices heard through the students’ union at each of the Group’s colleges or provide feedback through their class representatives and surveys.

Click here to meet the other Governors of the CCCG Board.

WestKing culinary and hospitality graduates celebrate with a bang

Chef and hospitality graduates marched past cheering students banging pots and pans as they celebrated their success at Westminster Kingsway College

Around 200 students and apprentices donned in mortarboards and gowns were awarded in front of teachers, staff, parents and guests at ceremonies at the college’s Victoria Centre.

They received diplomas for completing courses and apprenticeship training in culinary arts, kitchen and larder, hospitality and events, patisserie and restaurant service.

Both the classes of 2021 and 2020 were honoured at separate ceremonies after last year’s graduation was cancelled because of the COVID pandemic.

Scrolls were presented by Assistant Principal Terry Tinton, Paul Jervis, Head of School for Hospitality and Culinary Arts and Sharon Barry, Head of School for Hospitality Apprenticeships.

Awards were also presented to the best and most improved graduates of 2021 including the Student of the Year on Professional Chef, Pastry Chef and Restaurant Service diplomas.

Daniela Prela, 21, won the Professional Chef Diploma Student of the Year award and has been working at The Ritz London for the past two months.

She said: “I’ve taken so much from my time at WestKing. Every day I am using skills and bits of knowledge I’ve learned at college. I’ve always had a passion for cooking and been baking cakes since I was 10 years old. I was edging towards university, but it wasn’t where my heart was and I’m glad I took this route. It was definitely the right decision.

“I had such a bond with my lecturers. They helped me so much and I really appreciate what they’ve done for me. I could turn to them any time I needed anything. The support they gave never stopped. You’ll never find teachers like this anywhere else.”

Adin Gredelj, 19, won the Most Improved Chef Student award and is working at Odette’s restaurant in Primrose Hill run by Great British Menu winner Bryn Williams.

He said: “I’m really happy and proud of myself to have graduated and it’s great to win this award, which was really unexpected. When I was looking at going to college I did a lot of research about WestKing and saw it was one of the best schools in the UK for culinary arts. I’ve have seen how much I’ve improved each year and its lived up to my expectations 100 per cent.”

Bella Thornton, 19, who won the Most Improved Pastry Chef award, said: “I’ve had an incredible time at Westminster. I’ve enjoyed my course so much and learnt a whole range of skills to work in a pastry kitchen. My teachers have been great. They had so much knowledge and experience to pass on and tips that will be useful in the future. I’m so happy to have graduated and now the time’s come to move on in the world.”

Alfie Tilyard, 19, who won the Award for Special Achievement presented to the student who achieved above and beyond expectations most during their studies.

“I’m gobsmacked and so happy that I’ve finally done it. Three years have gone by like that. I’ve learnt the skills of the trade and can now cook perfectly every time,” said Alfie, is working at the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse in Westminster.

“My mum had a cake business and even before that I loved food. I was the only one of my friends from school to do culinary and go on to do it professionally. When I went on my first work experience at a small kitchen in a café I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

The ceremonies saw professional chefs Ben Purton, Daniel Ayton, Selin Kiazim, Ben Murphy and Andrew Wong each receive an Honorary Fellowship of Westminster Kingsway College.

The tradition of banging pots and pans was introduced by Deputy Executive Principal Gary Hunter when he was Head of School as a way of welcoming graduates into the alumni.

Speaking at both ceremonies, he said: “To all our graduates I would like to convey my warmest congratulations on what is a brilliant personal achievement.

“I know that the road to this graduation has been very demanding, with many seemingly impossible difficulties to navigate along the way. But this, as you may possibly acknowledge, could well prove to have been a valuable part of your education experience too.

“I hope that you have fully enjoyed your time at the college and will profit from your experience and training here in the years to come. I urge to you to keep in contact with the college and support us over future years. You are all members of the Westminster family.”

Apply now for Hospitality and Culinary Arts courses and apprenticeships.

Music is the food of love for former CANDI students

Two former music students have found perfect harmony by getting married 17 years after they met at City and Islington College (CANDI).

Hearts skipped a beat as Steve Mckenzie and Kersha Bailey tied the knot at Muswell Hill Baptist Church surrounded by family and friends on 18 September.

Steve, 35, is a session musician with a background in youth work who founded London Urban Arts Academy last year, while Kersha is a professional singer-songwriter and musician.

Between them they have toured, performed and collaborated with artistes including Emeli Sandé, Sam Smith, Ms Dynamite, Bashy, Naughty Boy, Toddla T and Wretch 32.

The couple studied at CANDI from 2004-06 where Steve, upon seeing Kersha in the first few weeks she started college, told friends “one day she’s going to be my wife.”

They did not date at college, but Kersha admitted being attracted to Steve’s big and bold personality and being quite shy when they would head home from college.

Steve and Kersha went their separate ways for a few months after leaving CANDI until he called and asked her if she would like to audition for his hip hop band Shynenville.

He said: “When we left college we didn’t see each other for a while but then I called Kersha and asked her to join the band. When she came to the first rehearsal of Shynenville she was wearing a headwrap and was looking really good, and I was like wooooo!”

Kersha had recently broken up with her then boyfriend and Steve was already in a relationship, which came to an end before their romance began.

Kersha, 33, said: “Our first dates were in the studio and at rehearsals. I began to feel more and more connected to this guy and that there was something there, but there was also some shyness and we didn’t immediately share how we felt about each other.

“Being in the band singing and doing what I love rekindled the feelings I had for Steve. I thought he was kinda cute. So, we thought let’s do this, take it slow and see where it goes.”

Steve added: “Her voice really impacted me. She had something very special. I felt her voice had a healing quality. It took me to a place of reflection, which gave me warmth and comfort. I felt like I had a duty to help bring out her talent.”

Kersha recalled being attracted to the way the sun made Steve’s black skin look “so golden and rich”, his long eyelashes and big smile, and that his thoughtfulness and selflessness “made him different to other boys”.

She said: “He was a gentleman and always put me first, which was something I was not very familiar with at that time. My experience of boys back then was that they would see their needs as more important. I knew he was going to look after me.”

Steve added: “Kersha used to always wear her hair down over one eye, and one day I asked her to move her hair away from her face and told her she had beautiful eyes. 

“She’s much more confident in who she is now than at college, but she still has those shy moments. She’s still the girl I met at CANDI all those years ago.”      

The couple studied at the college’s Centre for Business, Arts and Technology in Camden Road where Steve got down on one knee and proposed in May.

“I was so happy and elated and full of joy. Then I got emotional and felt I wanted to cry, as I began to think this was actually happening,” said Kersha.

“I never thought he would propose at the college where we first met. It was so thoughtful, and having my family and friends there made it so special.”

The newlyweds celebrated their marriage with a reception at Core Clapton in Hackney and will be spending their honeymoon in Jamaica in December.

Maybe you too could find love on one of our Music courses. Click here to find out more and apply.

The ‘one thing’ I’ve learned about teaching from The Simpsons

As part of its new Teaching, Learning, Assessment and Development policy, Capital City College Group has launched a new initiative called One Thing to encourage teachers to take greater ownership of their career development by coming up with ‘one thing’ they want to develop or improve this academic year. In this blog, City and Islington College A Level History and Politics teacher Debbie Bogard explains how Matt Groening’s cartoon creation The Simpsons has inspired her ‘one thing’ – to introduce more metacognitive approaches to her teaching and learning.

“There’s a great Simpsons episode where, following a computer error, a careers aptitude test suggests to Bart that he become a policeman. It also informs Lisa that she’s not going to achieve her dream of becoming a professional saxophonist. In the role reversal that inevitably follows, Bart becomes a school prefect and Lisa a disruptor: smoking in the ‘bad girl’ toilets, being rude to those in authority and, in the ultimate act of rebellion, hiding all the teacher editions of the textbook. Cue a comical sequence in which every teacher in school is exposed for their lack of knowledge and utter dependence on the answers provided by their textbook. As with all Simpsons episodes, it’s charming and funny and has a poignant ending (no spoilers!) but, as ever, there are lessons to be learnt.

“Prevalent in education is the notion of teacher as ‘content provider’ and font of all knowledge, with student as vessel and passive recipient. The perennial challenge of ‘getting through the content,’ along with the assumption that exams will return next summer, means we run the constant risk of perpetuating this cycle. That’s not to mention the added pressure surrounding fears of a significant ‘knowledge deficit’ following the last eighteen months of disrupted schooling. In his seminal work Pedagogy of the Oppressed, educator and philosopher Paulo Freire discusses the construction of an educational programme whereby ‘authentic education is not carried on by “A” for “B” or by “A” about “B,” but rather by “A” with “B” mediated by the world – a world which impresses and challenges both parties, giving rise to views or opinions about it.’ I think it’s crucial that this idea of learning as both a collaborative endeavour and as something dynamic and evolving, is introduced early on in the academic year.

“When I think back to the early years of my teaching career, I remember just how crucial those first few days and weeks were in terms of establishing rules and routines, managing behaviour and creating a positive learning environment. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out that way. I have particularly bad memories of one year 8 class where, straight out of teaching training and full of idealism about student ownership of learning and the democratic classroom, I naively (read: idiotically) encouraged the students to come up with their own set of rules for the class. Chaos ensued, and I spent the rest of the term desperately trying (and failing) to regain the upper hand.

“Luckily, those days are over, and I find myself in the fortunate situation of starting the school year without having to worry about classroom behaviour, whether or not to smile before Christmas and the myriad of other potential pitfalls and obstacles that can mark the trappings of teaching at secondary school. Instead, teaching in a lovely sixth form college, there’s a great opportunity to start an ongoing dialogue with students about the kind of education we believe in and want to nurture, develop and practice. We should build in regular opportunities in the curriculum for our students to reflect not only on what they’re learning, but why they’re learning it (ie: why is it meaningful and important? How does it fit into a bigger picture?) as well as how to learn effectively. This involvement can lead to greater motivation and engagement, as students can become more self-directed and in control of their learning.

“One way to do this is through the early and explicit teaching of metacognitive strategies, whereby students are guided in how to think intentionally and consciously about how they think and learn. Research from the Education Endowment Fund emphasises the importance of ‘metacognitive talk,’ recommending that students are explicitly taught and are familiar with the language and concepts around planning, monitoring and evaluating their learning. Through adopting a metacognitive approach to our planning, we can build in opportunities in our schemes of work for reflections on learning at specific points, for example, approaching a first essay, resubmitting a piece of work, planning for and carrying out a micro teach to the rest of the class and / or carrying out a piece of independent research.”

Similarly, the Schemes of Learning and, in particular, encouraging students to reflect on their understanding at the end of each week, creates the opportunity for us to provide a range of more reflective and searching questions that prompt students to think about and evaluate their learning: for example, what strategies did I use for learning this week? What challenges did I face and how did I overcome them? What changes could I make next week to help me learn more effectively? Through embedding metacognitive strategies, the classroom can become a space for developing higher level problem-solving and critical thinking skills, where students work collaboratively and take risks without fear of failure or anxiety around ‘getting it wrong,’ and where mistakes are understood as a valuable and instructive part of the learning process.

“Spoiler alert: at the end of the Simpsons episode, Bart ends up taking the blame for Lisa’s textbook misdemeanour, is punished accordingly, and everything goes back to the way it always has been in Springfield. Here’s hoping that the academic year ahead aligns more with Freire’s vision than Matt Groening’s. Rather than fall into the comfortable – and comforting – trap of setting ourselves up as the experts, and our students as mere receptacles, I’m determined to start this year with an emphasis on collaboration, and treat the process of learning as something exploratory, interactive and meaningful.”

Students given chance of a lifetime to study in South Korea

Thirty students from Capital City College Group will be embarking on the educational trip of a lifetime – and boosting their skills in the process – when they spend three weeks in South Korea next spring. London’s largest college group has secured £108,000 in funding from the Turing Scheme to provide the study and cultural visit planned for April 2022

The Turing Scheme is the UK’s global study and work programme and replaced the European Union’s Erasmus scheme following Brexit. The 20-day trip to South Korea has been organised in partnership with Keimyung College University (KMCU) in Daegu, Kyungbuk College in Yeongju and JEI University in Incheon.

During the visit students will take part in language classes and gain a cultural understanding of South Korea. They will also gain the skills and experience to thrive in the global workplace of the future with a focus on the green agenda and Industry 4.0 – a major area of economic growth in South Korea. Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, is the innovative development of automation in manufacturing methods and industrial practices using smart technology.

CCCG has committed half of the places on the trip to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Two thirds of the group’s students come from the lowest three bands of social deprivation and around 500 have special educational needs and disabilities. Seungeun Chang, Head of International Development and Operations, said: “This unmissable visit to South Korea will give 30 of our learners the chance to study and experience a dynamic global economy and recognised leader of the fourth industrial revolution.

“Those participating will gain vital skills, knowledge and behaviours to thrive in the workplace of the future, while also having the chance to immerse themselves in South Korean culture, giving them a rich experience that will undoubtedly have a significant and long-lasting impact on their lives.”

CCCG comprises City and Islington College, Westminster Kingsway College and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, and apprenticeship and training provider Capital City College Training.

In August, CCCG began a 16-week online programme for 27 students from the South Korean colleges including English lessons, employability skills and study in either Hospitality and Culinary Arts or Creative Media Production.

CCCG is planning to host a further 20 students from KMCU under a scheme sponsored by the Ministry of Education in South Korea.

Seungho Park, President of KMCU, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering CCCG on this programme. Since 2016 we’ve been working with CCCG and sending our students to Westminster Kingsway College to study and learn about life in the UK. This is a fantastic opportunity for our students to meet and work on projects with their peers from CCCG at our beautiful campus in Daegu. We are looking forward to welcoming the students from London and providing them with a great learning experience.”

Mind the gap: How we’re helping London bridge the digital skills divide

Earlier this year Capital City College Group teamed up with 01 Founders to launch the first tuition-free coding course in the UK. 

In a blog for London First, our CEO Roy O’Shaughnessy and Joysy John, CEO of 01 Founders, have shared how we are working together to reduce the digital divide and give people the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.

In the blog they refer to the types of study programmes on offer at our colleges including the course in partnership with 01 Founders, and how vital tech skills are to the UK and London’s recovery from the COVID pandemic. Read the full blog on London First here.

Mind the Gap: How We’re Helping London Bridge the Digital Skills Divide

Earlier this year Capital City College Group teamed up with 01 Founders to launch the first tuition-free coding course in the UK.

In a blog for London First, our CEO Roy O’Shaughnessy and Joysy John, CEO of 01 Founders, have shared how we are working together to reduce the digital divide and give people the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.

In the blog they refer to the types of study programmes on offer at our colleges including the course in partnership with 01 Founders, and how vital tech skills are to the UK and London’s recovery from the COVID pandemic. Read the full blog on London First here.

‘Assessor gave up her weekends to help me get a distinction in my business apprenticeship’

A business administration apprentice has praised her assessor for giving up her weekends to help her revise and achieve a distinction.

Holly Young, 20, told how Eda Baltan from Capital City College Training (CCCT) supported her on a Level 3 apprenticeship at education awarding body City & Guilds.

She said: “Eda was so supportive throughout my apprenticeship journey. She was always quick to respond to any queries, issues or problems that I had.

“We would always have catch-ups to review my progress and she would always be there if I needed her at any time of the day, especially last-minute meetings.

“She organised and helped me attend revision sessions and workshops for my exams and even helped me revise on the weekend, which I really appreciated. She also gave me amazing revision resources, such as mock exams and notes, and also gave me some great examples of previous apprentices’ work to help me along the way when I was unsure of things.”

Holly, from Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, secured a job as Quality Administrator with the Associate Management Team at City & Guilds after completing her apprenticeship.

She added: “I can’t thank Eda enough for everything she has done. I really didn’t think I could get a distinction but with all the support from the college and my team I am proud of myself for being able to achieve this.”

Duncan Baines, Associate Manager in the Associate Management Team, also recognised Eda’s contribution to helping Holly during her apprenticeship.

He said: “I want to say thank you to Eda for all her support with Holly. She has been very responsive to her when she has needed help and getting her to the point where she is now, having achieved a distinction in her business administration apprenticeship.”

Eda, who has worked as a Vocational Coach at CCCT for three years, said: “This has put a big smile on my face. It is always nice and very satisfying to hear good feedback about the work you put in with a student. It makes the whole job worthwhile.”

“Holly was a very enthusiastic learner and produced good quality work. She did her research and went through the mock exams I gave her. She took advantage of every opportunity presented to her, which has shown in her end result.”

CCCT is London’s largest apprenticeship and training provider that works with more than 950 employers and runs around 2,000 apprenticeships each year.

Jackie Chapman, Managing Director of CCCT, said: “Eda has gone above and beyond what was asked of her in her role as an assessor. The commitment she has shown to her learners including Holly is second to none and has to be applauded.

“I would also like to offer my congratulations to Holly on passing her apprenticeship with distinction and wish her every success in the future.”

Click here to find out more about Business and Professional Services apprenticeships.

Queen's Award for Enterprise