November 2021 - Capital City College Group
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‘I’m in a job I love’ – Former Travel and Tourism student’s career takes off with British Airways

A British Airways flight attendant has told how the experience of making his first flight after winning an international writing competition at college inspired his dream career.

Richard Coelho-McErlean, 24, studied a Travel and Tourism diploma at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) in 2014-16 before landing a job with the country’s flagship airline.

While at college he flew to France after winning a competition run by Global Travel and Tourism Partnership (GTTP), a charity which helps young people get skills and experience to work in the sector.

Richard, who lives in Enfield, said: “I’d always felt I wanted to work for an airline cabin crew from the moment I left school, even though I had never flown in my life at that point.

“I won a creative writing competition with another student at college about sustainable adventure tourism and they flew us to Nice. That flight really sealed the deal for me. I thought this is what I want to do and I’m not going to let anything stand in my way.”

Richard works for BA CityFlyer, a subsidiary of British Airways operating domestic and European flights from London City Airport, although he sometimes flies from other airports.

He said: “I applied on a whim thinking I probably wasn’t going to get it, but three months later I was employed. Most of the time I will do day trips, out in the morning and coming back in the evening, but I do get a few stay overs in some countries.”

Richard, who is originally from Glasgow, moved to Enfield when he was seven. After leaving school he studied an air cabin crew course at another college before completing his diploma at CONEL.

Richard started at British Airways in March 2020 but was placed on furlough a week into his training because of COVID and did not fly with the airline until June this year. The training consisted of a six-week intensive course with exams followed by five familiarisation flights shadowing cabin crew.

“During training you get taught about the worst possible things that could happen, you get trained to help a person having a cardiac arrest or how to manage a fire or decompression in the cabin. I’d worked in customer service roles and dealt with stressful situations, so it came quite naturally to me,” said Richard.

Richard will usually make up to four short domestic flights a day but has had the opportunity to stop over on longer journeys to destinations across Europe.

He said: “It doesn’t feel like a job, it feels like a lifestyle. You’ve got the perks of travelling to places for free and meeting new people every day. Every flight I’ve had so far has had different crew members, which has given me new perspectives on how they work, so every day I’m perfecting myself and learning new things.”

Richard hopes to eventually become an onboard Customer Service Manager, but for the time-being he is happy in his current role.

He said: “I don’t want to be promoted too quickly because I want to enjoy it. I feel I’m in a good place. I’m in a job I love and want to take my time with it. Who knows what may happen in the future? I’m a ‘go with the flow’ type of person.”

Richard has fond memories of his time at CONEL and recently returned to the college to share his experiences of working in the industry with the college’s current Travel and Tourism students.

He said: “Compared to school and the previous college I went to, I never received so much support. I remember thinking these people really care about my education and want to see me thrive, which is why I wanted to come back to CONEL. I felt it was only right that I give back what they gave to me, and hopefully inspire some of the students.”

While at CONEL, Richard took part in the Career Ready programme that helps prepare young people for their future careers, which included an internship at a Marriott hotel.

He said: “I was given a lot of opportunity at CONEL to develop myself. I was quite quiet and introverted at the start, but my teachers kept on encouraging me because they could see I had potential. They gave me the confidence to believe in myself and gave me the push that I needed.”

CONEL runs Travel and Tourism courses at Level 2 and Level 3 covering topics including UK and global tourist destinations, visitor attractions, cruises, air travel and customer experience.

Sandra Mirkovic, Lecturer in Travel and Tourism, said: “Richard was a real pleasure to teach. I am delighted he has found a great career in the travel industry with British Airways and I am sure he will go far. His visit really inspired our students and showed what they can go on to achieve after they’ve completed their qualifications.”

Apply Now for Travel and Tourism courses.

Minister hails Visionnaires ‘crucial role’ in boosting entrepreneurship as it rolls out across the UK

Minister for Small Business Paul Scully MP gave his overwhelming support as 12 colleges officially united to launch Visionnaires across the UK during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Visionnaires is a not-for-profit organisation that has already helped more than 400 people start new businesses through its free programmes run through Capital City College Group (CCCG).

Earlier this year CCCG, which comprises three colleges and an apprenticeship provider, formed a community interest company with United Colleges Group, South Thames Colleges Group and NCG to bring Visionnaires to eight further colleges.

The new partnership was officially launched at Westminster Kingsway College on 11 November.

Mr Scully said: “Visionnaires has already enabled innovative entrepreneurs to prosper through networking and support. These are initiatives that the Government strongly supports because being able to draw on the experience of others and connect with likeminded people is so invaluable whether businesses are starting up or scaling up.

“Projects like Visionnaires play a crucial role in complementing the support that’s given by the Government, for example our new Help to Grow programmes that will boost productivity by supporting SMEs across the UK with skills development and reaching new customers.

“It’s this Government’s ambition to make the UK the best place to start and grow a business. We want to create an enterprise culture where everyone who wants to be an entrepreneur has the confidence to start a business regardless of their background.

“I’m grateful to Visionnaires, and organisations like them, which can reach out to all parts of our community and help business founders get the practical help they need.”

CCCG, which comprises City and Islington College, Westminster Kingsway College, College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London and apprenticeship provider Capital City College Training, has been running Visionnaires programmes since 2019.

Visionnaires will now also be available through City of Westminster College, College of North West London, South Thames College, Carshalton College, Kingston College, Lewisham College, Southwark College and Carlisle College.

The partnership has also been backed by Cllr Matthew Green, Cabinet Member for Business, Licensing and Planning at Westminster City Council, and Sophie Shrubsole, Director of Operations at Westminster Business Council.

Visionnaires’ support extends beyond the classroom with a business incubator offering further support to participants’ businesses after they have completed the programme.

Dani Glasser joined Visionnaires and launched her own business GetStuft selling healthy and nutritious food platters online from a kitchen in Clapham, south London, earlier this year.

She said: “I previously ran a digital marketing agency with a friend in Australia but decided to make a change and follow my passion for food. I also had a catering business and wanted to take what I’d learnt from that and refine it into a more streamlined model to get food out on demand.

“I joined Visionnaires because I wanted to set up a business with scale in mind, rather than with a small business mentality, and give it a strong foundation with the best chance of growth. It’s been great having someone help me fill gaps in my knowledge, such as finance, and think about things in different ways, which has really helped shape the future direction of GetStuft.”

In the run-up to the launch, Visionnaires hosted a series of introductory masterclasses on How to Succeed, Sale and Growth, Money and The Perfect Pitch, featuring panels from business leaders and entrepreneurs, including previous Visionnaires participants.

Helen Tomazos, from Maida Vale, west London, took part in the masterclasses to get some advice on starting a business selling Greek pastries inspired by her parents’ Cypriot background.

She said: “The format to the masterclasses was very good, the questions were precise, and the feedback has given me the motivation I need to formulate and kick-start my business idea.

“One of the panel’s quotes was ‘just start’ but they were also realistic that it requires hard work and commitment and there will be highs and lows. They’ve also invited me to observe their place of businesses, which is phenomenal. It’s absolutely inspired me.”

Visionnaires was established by Pablo Lloyd OBE, a social entrepreneur with 20 years’ experience in starting and leading purpose-driven organisations.

He said: “The UK is seeing a real surge in people wanting to set up their own business. Visionnaires has already helped many new entrepreneurs from our diverse communities turn that dream into a reality. Every day we’re helping more of them get their ideas off the ground in our innovative programmes.

“I am delighted that Capital City College Group, United Colleges Group, South Thames Colleges Group and NCG have joined forces to expand Visionnaires as an inclusive community of best practice. This will lead to more exciting new start-ups and support the UK’s economic recovery.”

‘There was a woman inside me that needed to be revealed’

To mark Trans Awareness Week from 13-19 November, Westminster Kingsway College A Level student Sian* shares her experiences of being a transwoman and what colleges can do to be more supportive and inclusive.

*Name changed to protect anonymity.

Sian was born in November 2003 and knew at an early age that she was different.

“I wasn’t confused. I knew I was born in the wrong body. When I was younger, I was always attracted to feminine things like dresses and make-up, but was told by family members that they’re not for a boy,” she said.

Sian came out to the head librarian at her secondary school who was gender non-conforming and pansexual, but admitted it was hard to tell her family.

She said: “Trans people often feel the whole world’s eyes are on them because society says we’re living a false gender or going through a phase.

“It has been very difficult. My family are aware I’m transgender but are not supportive of me undergoing hormone replacement therapy to support my transition because there’s no way back.”

Sian felt it would be too much of a shock to her parents and was concerned it would affect her relationship with them, which is one of the reasons she gave this interview anonymously.

She is also concerned for her safety having been subjected to verbal abuse and harassment after being outed as a transwoman when a boy revealed he was attracted to her.

Sian’s trans journey has been a gradual process. She initially thought she was gay, then considered herself gender fluid and non-binary before identifying as a transwoman.

“Everyone has a unique story. There are no typical stages for anyone transitioning,” she said.

“I noticed I was very different to my friends when I was at secondary school. At first, I identified as a gay man and later came to the realisation that this was not really me and there was actually a woman inside me who needed to be revealed.

“I started dressing more femininely and began to find out who I truly am. I think I always knew, but it was so hard to break the stigmatisation.”

Sian has been through stages of gender dysphoria while finding her identity.

She said: “Gender dysphoria builds up insecurities that can cause distress, pain or discomfort. Sometimes you wake up and you don’t even want to look at yourself in the mirror because you don’t want to look at your body.” Sian, who is studying A Levels at WestKing, was pleased her teachers have respected her preferred pronouns of she/her and the college had changed her name on her student records.

She said: “Growing up we’re told we’re the person we don’t want to be. In the past I’ve told people that I identify as she/her, but they would keep misgendering me even when I corrected them. It’s disrespectful and can also affect someone’s mental health and well-being.

“It doesn’t matter if you agree with it, you don’t understand it or it doesn’t make sense to you; you don’t get to disagree with someone’s gender or sexuality.”

Sian is a friend of former WestKing student Nilton Pimenta, who has been shortlisted for the Association of Colleges Young Student of the Year award for championing LGBTQ+ rights. Nilton was a Student Governor while taking his A Levels at the college and is now studying for a BA Social Sciences at the University of Manchester.

Sian said: “Nilton helped me a lot when he was at the college. When we first met, I had a conversation with him about my self-identity. He introduced me to an LGBTQ+ youth club called the Mosaic Trust and other trans people who could support me.”

“Having people like Nilton who are very outspoken and ‘out there’ can make a big difference.”

Sian is a student representative on the college’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee and hopes to improve inclusivity and support for LGBTQ+ students.

Sian’s FOUR top tips on how colleges can better support trans students.

· Use a person’s preferred choice of gender pronouns. It’s the least someone can do to make a trans or gender non-conforming person feel comfortable around them.

· Introduce gender neutral toilets. If you’re a trans person you may feel unsure which toilet to use. Having gender neutral toilets would help take that anxiety away.

· Encourage more LGBTQ+ teachers to share their experiences of being part of that community, how they have overcome challenges in their lives and supported others.

· Put up posters to help educate staff and students about trans people, highlight LGBTQ+ issues and make non-discrimination policies more visible.

Click here to find out more about Student Life at WestKing.

A quick guide to LGBTQ+ terms


A person who does not experience sexual attraction. Some asexual people might also use this term in conjunction with terms such as gay, bi, lesbian, straight and queer.


Bi refers to romantic and/or sexual orientation towards more than one gender. Some bi people may also describe themselves using terms such as pan and queer.


Someone whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth. Non-trans is also used by some people.


Refers to a man who has a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards men. It is also a generic term for lesbian and gay sexuality. Some non-binary people also identify with this term.


Often expressed in terms of masculinity and femininity, gender is largely culturally determined and assumed from the sex assigned at birth.

Gender dysphoria

The discomfort or distress a person experiences because there is a mismatch between their sex assigned at birth and their gender identity.

Gender identity

A person’s innate sense of their own gender, whether male, female or non-binary, which may or may not correspond to the sex assigned at birth.

Gender reassignment

A way of describing a person’s transition. To undergo gender reassignment usually means to undergo some sort of medical intervention, but it can also mean changing names, pronouns, dressing differently and living in a self-identified gender.


Considered a more medical term to describe someone who has a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards someone of the same gender. Gay is now more generally used.


The fear or dislike of someone, based on prejudice or negative attitudes, beliefs or views about lesbian, gay or bi people.


Refers to a woman who has a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards women. Some non-binary people may also identify with this term.


An acronym for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer and other sexual identities.


A term for people whose gender identity doesn’t sit comfortably with man or woman.


A person whose romantic and/or sexual attraction towards others is not limited by sex or gender.


Queer is used by those wanting to reject specific labels of romantic orientation, sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Some LGBT people view the word as a slur.


Assigned to a person based on their genitalia and reproductive functions. Sometimes the terms sex and gender are interchanged to mean male or female.


Describes people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth. Trans people may define themselves using one or more terms, including, but not limited to, transgender, transsexual, gender-fluid, non-binary and crossdresser.


The steps a trans person may take to live in the gender with which they identify.


The fear or dislike of someone based on the fact they are trans, including denying their gender identity or refusing to accept it.


A more medical term to refer to someone whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth. This term is still used by some people although many prefer the term trans or transgender.

Click here for a full glossary from LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall.

Newlyweds praise ‘magnificent’ food and service at The Escoffier Room

A newly married couple have expressed their joy at the “magnificent” food and service they received after celebrating their wedding at The Escoffier Room.

Shaan and Hannah Haque, from Luton, Bedfordshire, praised staff and students following their reception at Westminster Kingsway College’s award-winning training restaurant in October.

The newlyweds and their guests dined on food cooked and served by the college’s hospitality and culinary arts students, from a menu devised by Chef Lecturer Jonny Warner.

Shaan, 38, said: “I first took Hannah here in an attempt to impress her when we were dating. Little did we know then that we’d return multiple times and eventually celebrate our wedding here.

“The Escoffier Room is a real hidden gem in the heart of London. The service is top quality and worthy of any five-star hotel restaurant in any major city of the world.”

The couple were impressed from their initial enquiry with Marc Whitley, Lecturer on Hospitality and Manager of The Escoffier, who organised food and wine tastings for them with Jonny and planned a photo slideshow and music playlist.

Guests enjoyed canapés and cocktails on arrival with the meal consisting of a lobster ravioli starter followed by a fish course of seabass, artichoke and mushrooms; and a main course of venison, croquette, rosti potatoes and vegetables; followed by a dessert of crème brûlée and rhubarb sorbet.

Hannah, 34, said: “Marc was incredibly helpful and attentive in the planning stages of our big day. He is experienced and confident in organising events and so brought a much-needed calmness and confidence to our often last-minute decision making.”

“The food Jonny and the students produced for our wedding meal was incredible. Words cannot do it justice. You really do have to experience the flavours and impeccable presentation for yourself.”

Shaan said: “There wasn’t much to be heard as our guests enjoyed the delicious canapés. The students served our guests with a smile on their faces and were very professional in their manner, and during our main course my father-in-law was heard to say, ‘This food is amazing, fine dining in England isn’t dead!’.”

The Escoffier Room is one of two training restaurants known as The Vincent Rooms at the college’s Victoria Centre along with its à la carte restaurant The Brasserie.

It is named after acclaimed chef Auguste Escoffier, who was one of the founders of Westminster Kingsway College, and combines his principles of cooking with modern techniques.

Shaan said: “My wife and I enjoyed a beautiful wedding day, in no small part thanks to the magnificent efforts of Marc, Jonny, and all the students. They couldn’t do enough for us.

“We are so grateful to everyone at The Escoffier Room for looking after us so well during our wedding celebrations. Thank you!”

Marc Whitley, Manager of the Escoffier, said: “We were delighted to host Shaan and Hannah’s wedding reception and hear how much they and their guests enjoyed the food and service they had with us, We wish them many years of happiness together.”

Westminster Kingsway College has 15 operational kitchens and two training restaurants and trains more than 2,000 students and apprentices each year.

Book a table at The Escoffier or Brasserie and enquire about wedding receptions and other events.

Find out more about our Hospitality and Culinary Arts courses and apprenticeship training here.

September and October political round-up

As one of the UK’s largest further education organisations, it is important for Capital City College Group to engage with politicians as well as others in the education sector as well as in the wider economy. In particular, MPs of all parties help shape public opinion and Ministers in Government make decisions that affect the funding of colleges and the lives of our staff and students, so meeting them and explaining to them the important work that we do, is very valuable.

The first two months of the new academic year have seen us meet – and impress – many new political contacts and make some friends along the way. We’ve also commented on Government announcements and London’s skills gap. Here’s a summary of our activities.

In September, our Chief Executive Roy O’Shaughnessy published a joint blog with Joysy John, the CEO of the 01Founders coding school which we are a key partner of. The blog, published by the business campaigning group London First discussed what we and 01Founders are doing to help bridge the two digital skills gaps which London is facing. You can read the blog here:

Also in September, the MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, Nickie Aiken, visited Westminster Kingsway College’s Victoria centre. The centre is home to the college’s renowned School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts and Nickie spent time with us discussing a number of areas including the range and high quality of the college’s hospitality courses, as well as how we helped students continue to learn during the lockdowns caused by the COVID pandemic.

In the middle of October, we had the pleasure of hosting almost 200 people – again at Victoria – at a big event organised by the Department for Education for their stakeholders. The event was a unique opportunity for the group to raise its profile among so many important political contacts at the same time.

As Neil Cox, Head of Policy and Communications for the Group explains: “The event’s attendees was a who’s who of education politicians and opinion formers. As well as the new Secretary of State for Education Nadhim Zahawi MP and his ministerial team, the Permanent Secretary to the Department for Education was there too, and the guest list had people from early years, schools organisations, colleges and the higher education sector. We talked to many of these people and were delighted to give Mr Zahawi a chance to visit the kitchens and chat to some of the students who were working on the food for the guests.”

The event was a great success and we had a lot of wonderful feedback from the DfE and the guests, who were very impressed by the students’ professionalism.

Also in October, we met Kate Green MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Education. Kate is Labour’s key education spokesperson and she spent three hours with some of our senior managers – again at our Victoria centre, which is our closest site to Parliament – discussing a number of important areas including:

  • Apprenticeships and what we think of the current levy system for funding them
  • The Skills and Post-16 Education Bill, especially the role of colleges and other key local stakeholders in the Local Skills Improvement Plans
  • The complex and short-term nature of how further education is funded and how we can encourage a longer-term and more sustainable settlement.

Kate also enjoyed a tour of the kitchens at Victoria and spoke to some of our culinary students about their studies.

And at the end of the month, we commented on the Chancellor’s budget and Comprehensive Spending Review announcement. You can read what CEO Roy O’Shaughnessy thought of it here:

Over the coming months, we will continue our political engagement activities. If you would like to find out more about our political activity or would like us to work with you, please contact Neil Cox, Head of Policy and Communications at

WestKing commended for innovation in careers and enterprise by Association of Colleges

Westminster Kingsway College has been shortlisted in this year’s Association of Colleges Beacon Awards for its careers education and guidance.

The Beacon Awards are one of further education’s premier awards. They celebrate the best and most innovative practice in colleges and the impact they have on the students and communities that they serve.

WestKing is one of just three colleges in the running for The Careers and Enterprise Company Award for Innovation in Careers and Enterprise.

The Careers and Enterprise Company is the national body for careers education in England and set the criteria for the award, which recognises outstanding careers leadership and practice.

Colleges were asked to give examples of effective careers programmes that demonstrate partnerships with schools, employers and other education providers, to help students make informed choices about their future education and careers.

WestKing’s Careers, Employability and Work Placements Teams were boosted by funding from The Careers and Enterprise Company’s Personal Guidance Fund in 2018, which has enabled the college to provide training for staff to ensure quality information, advice and guidance and to better align to industry needs.

Over the past 12 months WestKing has invested in new programmes and partnerships to support its students and the community. The college has developed strategies to drive high-level skills, mentoring and student progression to meet the needs of Londoners and London’s employers, as the capital recovers from the COVID pandemic. Highlights include:

• A tutorial programme linking labour market intelligence to relevant courses in Hospitality and Culinary, Digital Media, Business, Construction, Engineering and Science.

• A partnership with the Creative Careers programme at the Roundhouse in Camden to help students with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) to get into the industry.

• A Nursing Insights Programme run with Great Ormond Street Hospital that has been embedded within the college’s Health and Social Care courses.

• Careers Clusters and Enterprise Adviser Network activities, such as virtual Skillz Up workshops and Insight sessions.

• Better communication with parents through an e-newsletter, virtual events and additional information, advice and guidance.

Carlo Liu, Head of Careers Education and Partnerships, said “We are thrilled to be commended this year for the AoC Beacon Awards. A huge congratulations to all at WestKing with special mention to the Careers, Employability and Work Placements Teams.

“Due to an unprecedented interruption in education coupled with the impact of COVID on the job market, young people are facing so many challenges. Here at WestKing, our focus has been improving the social capital of our learners, by boosting their confidence, helping to widen their career aspirations and their knowledge of the labour market, and by showing them the opportunities open to them.”

Jasbir Sondhi, Vice Principal of Westminster Kingsway College said: “I’d like to especially congratulate Carlo, Mike, Sharon, Dorota and Frankie in the WestKing Careers and Employability team. The team have been instrumental in providing our learners with a plethora of opportunities that raise aspirations and broaden their horizons.

“Each member of the team is committed to ensuring our learners are given access to employers, networks and careers guidance that informs their decision making allowing them to progress on to positive destinations.

“Well done and thank you for the work you do to transform lives.”

The finalists of the Beacon Awards will be announced at the Association of Colleges’ annual conference on 17 November.

Join us for a live Korean cook-along with celebrity chef Judy Joo

Westminster Kingsway College is hosting a live online Korean cookery masterclass with celebrity chef Judy Joo.

Judy is the host of Food Network’s Korean Food Made Simple and runs her own Seoul Bird restaurants in central London. She will be demonstrating how to make kimchi, a traditional Korean dish of salted and fermented vegetables. Here, Judy shares her passion for cooking and explains more about the importance of kimchi in Korean culture.

Food has always been a huge part of my life. My mother was an amazing cook, everything was made from scratch and so growing up I was constantly surrounded by authentic home-cooked Korean food.

I often watched my mum make huge vats of kimchi, which we stored in dozens of glass jars stacked precariously in our laundry room. At home food was a language of love and I learned so much from her. I hope to feed the soul through my cooking in the way her cooking does.

No meal in Korea is complete without kimchi on the table. There are officially 200 different varieties of kimchi so there is always plenty of choice! An incredible 1.5 million tons of kimchi is consumed every year in Korea and so there is no surprise it’s synonymous with Korean culture.

Kimchi, as we know it, began in the 17th Century as a way to primarily prolong the shelf life of fruit and vegetables through fermentation. This humble side dish is now popular worldwide and the Korean Embassy has launched The Kimchi Project with Westminster Kingsway College to make authentic kimchi more accessible in the UK. Kimchi plays a huge part in my cooking at home and at my Seoul Bird restaurants. I use it to spice up many of my fusion dishes and give them a distinct Korean twist. It is that little extra kick that transforms a plate into something extraordinary and truly memorable. Kimchi adds a deep complex flavour and a serious umami hit. At Seoul Bird I serve a zesty kimchi mac and cheese, which has become a menu favourite.

I am thrilled to be sharing the art of making kimchi and my own recipe as a part of the Korean Embassy’s current project Kimchi on the British Table at Westminster Kingsway College on 15 November. This masterclass will teach you how to make kimchi at home and give you an insight into its many health benefits.

There is an old Korean saying – ‘We cannot build a nation by keeping the people hungry and unhealthy’ – as such, kimchi is eaten at every meal. The fermentation process in making kimchi produces good bacteria excellent for gut health and is also known to support heart health and blood sugar management.

Westminster Kingsway College has been pioneering work on culinary nutrition, so alongside my masterclass, Elaine Macaninch, Nutrition Lead and Director of Culinary Medicine UK, will be discussing the many benefits of kimchi, including how it can help to boost your immune system and enhance nutritional value.

Westminster Kingsway College has also facilitated exciting conversations around hospitality and food in the past. In 2018, I spoke at their event A Profession for All, which discussed the key role that women play in the hospitality industry. I am delighted to be joining them alongside the Korean Embassy, to celebrate kimchi as a cornerstone of Korean cuisine and culture through my masterclass.

Here is one of my favourite kimchi recipes from my book Korean Soul Food, Whole Radish Kimchi. I love this kimchi because the radishes provide a much crunchier and more satisfying bite.

Whole Radish Kimchi – Recipe Ingredients

  • 2kg radishes
  • 75g course sea salt
  • 185g gochugaru
  • 85g garlic, peeled
  • 65g ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 tbsp Korean anchovy sauce
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 35g brown sugar
  • 85ml dashi stock
  • 65g chives


  1. In a large bowl, toss together the radishes and salt, and add just enough water to cover. Leave to stand at room temperature overnight.
  2. Drain off and discard the salted water. Rinse the radishes well with cold water 4-5 times to remove the salt, then gently squeeze out and excess moisture. Set aside the radishes in a colander and leave to drain for at least 30 minutes.
  3. In a food processor, place the gochugaru, garlic, ginger, spring onions, anchovy sauce, salt, sugar and stock, process until a paste forms, stir in chives.
  4. Mix the spice mixture with the radishes, covering them evenly and coating the leaves on both sides. Transfer to a clean 2.5 litre jar or other non-reactive container, packing them in firmly.
  5. Cover tightly and allow to ferment at room temperature for 24 hours, then transfer to a fridge.
  6. The kimchi is ready to eat immediately but for best flavour, ferment for about two weeks before eating.

Photography students create a snapshot of race, identity and human rights

A Level Photography students at City and Islington College have created a powerful and evocative collection of images exploring race, identity and human rights.

Around 30 students took part in the Thinking Differently project run by the Autograph gallery in Shoreditch, which encourages young people to think differently about social issues that affect their lives.

Professional photographer Alejandra Carles Tolra asked them to reveal ‘what is below the surface’ when creating their images, which have been exhibited on the gallery’s website.

Each student produced a body of research to develop their photographs idea. This included creating mind maps to help them connect aspects of identity from race, gender and religion to experiences from their upbringing, interests, culture and aspirations.

Their final works included self-portraiture expressing experiences and emotional states, still life images using symbolism to create narratives about themselves and documentary photographs capturing family and the life of the community.

Yusuf Uddin, 17, created a striking image of a blurred-out face covered in scars and gold markings, which was inspired by his Muslim faith.

He said: “When I was child, I was not allowed to draw faces because in Islam it is seen as a sin to idolise people and figures. I added the cuts to the face to humanise it, and the gold because it is big part of south Asian culture.

“I really enjoy photography and being able to manipulate images and change their meaning. The project had a really broad brief and so I was able to get more into a creative zone and express myself while exploring different aspects of people and their cultures.”

The project began during lockdown in April with students taking part in online sessions with Alejandra and joining in online talks about Autograph’s collection of works by artists including Rotimi Fani Kayode, Zanele Muholi, Mahtab Hussain and Omar Victor Diop.

As lockdown restrictions lifted the students were able to participate in workshops at the college and work more collaboratively to set up photoshoots in studios and outdoor spaces.

Alejandra gave a first-hand account of the life of a professional photographer, shared her tips with students on documentary photography and gave an insight into creative and sensitive ways of representing communities.

Ali Eisa, Learning and Participation Manager at Autograph, said: “We have a history of working with teachers and schools to share the ways in which visual representation intersects with issues of race, identity and human rights, and how students can make profound commentary on these questions using the camera and their creative minds.”

Visual Arts teacher Jan Evans said: “The Autograph project provided the first opportunity for students to collaborate in the classroom after a tough start to the year often working alone from home. It was great to see them sharing ideas and working together as a team in the workshops led by Ali and Alejandra.

“I am incredibly proud of their work. Their individual response to the project brief were mature, fun and thoughtful and its wonderful their work has been shared with a wider audience.”

“Projects like this are just one of the ways we’ve been exploring to decolonise and enrich our curriculum to reflect the diversity of students at CANDI. We were delighted to work with Ali and the Autograph gallery and hope to do so again next year.”

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Colleges unite to roll out Visionnaires to help aspiring entrepreneurs start their own business

Twelve colleges have united to become founding partners of Visionnaires, a not-for profit organisation with the potential to help thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs across the UK.

Visionnaires provides free programmes for people wanting to start their own business or become self-employed, which include workshops, seminars, resources, support and advice.

Figures show that:

· Nearly two thirds of UK adults want to set up their own business

· 83 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds dream of self-employment

· More than 650,000 start-ups were founded in the UK from 2019-20

· Start-ups have created 40 per cent of new jobs in the UK.

Visionnaires was originally founded within Capital City College Group (CCCG) in 2019, with United Colleges Group, South Thames Colleges Group and NCG joining to form a community interest company in August this year.

CCCG already runs programmes through City and Islington College, Westminster Kingsway College (WestKing) and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL), and its apprenticeship and training provider Capital City College Training (CCCT).

The new partner college groups are now rolling out programmes at eight further colleges – City of Westminster College, College of North West London, South Thames College, Carshalton College, Kingston College, Lewisham College, Southwark College and Carlisle College.

Colleges from across the UK are invited to join Visionnaires to encourage entrepreneurship in their communities and grow local economies.

Visionnaires has already helped more than 400 entrepreneurs from many diverse backgrounds start new businesses. A huge 96 per cent of participants have endorsed the programme as ‘excellent’.

Participants take part in practical workshops and receive expert advice and resources on topics including marketing, selling, finance and business planning. They can also promote their business in the Marketplace section of the Visionnaires website and continue to receive support and resources from Visionnaires indefinitely.

Visionnaires also runs workshops to inspire entrepreneurship among young people.

Nicolas and Julia Vendramin launched their fashion business LABELL-D after joining Visionnaires. The company sells collections from top designers made from recycled and sustainable materials.

Nicolas, 40, who previously worked for fashion houses including Hugo Boss, Bally and Harrys of London, said: “The fashion industry is very polluting in its nature and we wanted to do something about that. We’ve always been passionate about sustainable living and decided to set-up our own company to sell sustainable fashion.

“As I’ve always worked in big companies and thought big too – 10 steps ahead – but Wendy, my Visionnaires tutor, brought me down to earth and reminded me that a new business has to start from zero. The six-week course she taught was very pragmatic and helped me focus on the basics and get them right first. It was also great to learn with other entrepreneurs.”

Jay Patel, 29, joined Visionnaires to help him start up his culinary business Flavour Street to enable cooks to sell and deliver their own home-cooked food.

He said: “I have always been a massive foodie. I have family in hospitality and always been around it, but had never really done anything about it. I think the marketing part of the programme was the most helpful for me. I learnt how to plane out a campaign in a structured way. Also, I learnt a lot from the other participants on the programme too.”

Visionnaires’ CEO is social entrepreneur Pablo Lloyd OBE.

He said: “We’ve been running Visionnaires in partnership with CCCG for the past two years where we have seen a lot of demand and very encouraging feedback from participants. We have now developed a rich ecosystem of support for people who want to start their own business or become self-employed.

“Over the past year a number of other colleges expressed an interest in working with Visionnaires, and off the back of that I am delighted the programme is now available with 12 colleges to enable many more people in their communities to fulfil their entrepreneurial hopes and dreams and contribute to their local economy. We are now in discussion with other colleges across the UK to reach even more budding entrepreneurs.”

Click here to find out more about Visionnaires.

Waltham Forest College and Capital City College Group win partnership bid for professional development pilot

Waltham Forest College and Capital City College Group (CCCG) have won a partnership bid for professional development pilot.

The partnership is one of 22 winning bids chosen to take part in a £9.5 million government pilot to bolster teacher training in further education.

World-class further education is essential if we are to meet England’s skills needs and ensure that everyone is empowered to succeed.

The Further Education Professional Development Grant (FEPDG) pilot has been designed to support the commitment made in the Skills for Jobs White Paper to strengthen the professional development of teachers working in the sector to boost teaching practices, and so that young people and adults receive top class education and training.

This is important because evidence shows that the quality of teaching is the single biggest driver of student outcomes.

The FEPDG pilot supports groups of further education providers to develop collaborative approaches for teacher professional development and to share good practice that already exists within the sector.

Waltham Forest College is leading on a successful collaborative bid in partnership with Capital City College Group.

The development project will focus on subject specific professional development to improve the quality of curriculum design and teaching, learning and assessment, helping colleges to further develop a world class workforce ready to deliver the skills needed for future generations.

Janet Gardner, Principal and CEO of Waltham Forest College said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Capital City College Group on this important pilot that will help to further develop the skills of our valuable workforce.

“I welcome the recognition and support for the Further Education Sector with this much needed boost, developing expertise in higher level technical skills and specialisms which will further support economic recovery and support a world class workforce, preparing students to compete in a global market.” 

The pilot will strengthen professional development in key areas of need and test approaches that could be extended to other providers in future. Evidence and resources created through projects will be shared with other FE providers in order to maximise reach and to make sure the sector as a whole benefits from the pilot.

Kurt Hintz, Executive Principal of CCCG, said: “We are delighted to join Waltham Forest College in this project. Our teams are really excited to be collaborating with their peers and partnerships like these show how joined up the London FE sector can be in when given the opportunity.”

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