January 2022 - Capital City College Group
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Capital City College Group launches four Mayor of London Academy Hubs to help Londoners get into work

Capital City College Group (CCCG) has launched four new Mayor of London Academy Hubs to fast-track Londoners into work by giving them the skills they need for jobs to drive the capital’s economic recovery from the COVID pandemic.

London’s largest college group has secured £1.5 million to run hubs in Digital, Hospitality, Creative and Green industries after successful bids to the Mayor’s Academies Programme.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan set out plans for the programme in March 2021 as part of the London Recovery Plan to support vulnerable communities and rebuild the city.

The £44 million programme will support Londoners to get jobs by providing them with flexible work-based training programmes to enable them to gain and develop skills for careers in industries that are vital for London’s long-term prosperity.

The hubs will work with employers to create these programmes to ensure they best support their recruitment needs and help them to meet the challenges they face as the capital exits the COVID crisis.

Each hub will have a strong emphasis on supporting those from under-represented and disadvantaged backgrounds including black and ethnic minorities, young people, people earning below the London living wage, those with disabilities, the over 50s, single parents, caregivers and the unemployed.

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

Each of the four hubs will be led by one of the Group’s colleges.

Creative Academy Hub

The screen industries employ around 210,000 people in the UK with a turnover of £40 billion a year and is expanding at three times the rate of the wider UK economy. Run by Westminster Kingsway College in partnership with Film London and Middlesex University London, this mega-hub will focus on the film and TV, animation, visual effects and gaming industries. It will provide training in the creative and technical skills needed to enter this growing sector. More than 20 employers have already backed the hub including WarnerMedia, NBC Universal, Netflix, Sony Pictures, Pinewood Studios, Shepperton Studios, Twickenham Studios, Framestore, Blue Zoo Animation, Jellyfish, DNEG and Sports Interactive.

Find out more about Creative Academy Hub here.

Digital Academy Hub

London has been at the epicentre of the UK’s digital revolution. Investment in the tech industry in the UK in 2021 more than doubled on the previous year to £29.4 billion. With nine in 10 organisations having a shortage of tech skills, the Digital Academy Hub, led by Westminster Kingsway College, will equip Londoners with the skills they need to succeed, with a focus on careers in software development, cybersecurity, data analytics and cloud-based development, as well as providing IT training to support all business sectors. Employer partners include 01 Founders, a tuition-free coding school that partnered with CCCG in June 2021, Verizon, Dentsu, Gigl, TechSkills and Profusion.

Find out more about Digital Academy Hub here.

Green Academy Hub

More than 217,000 new workers will be needed in construction and green industries by 2025. The Green Academy Hub, led by the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL), will help meet this demand and support the UK’s target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The hub will focus on modern sustainable construction methods and the use of green technology for the new-build and retrofitting sectors, and the expansion of EV charging points. CONEL’s employer partners already include the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), Morgan Sindall, Wates, Peabody, Vistry Partnerships, Absolute Solar, Retrofit Works, and the North London Waste Authority.

Find out more about the Green Academy Hub here.

Hospitality Academy Hub

Hospitality is one of London’s most important industries employing 568,000 people and contributing £17 billion to the capital’s economy a year. Located at Westminster Kingsway College, home to one of the UK’s most prestigious culinary schools, the Hospitality Academy Hub will support those looking for careers as chefs or in front of house, housekeeping and security roles. The hub has been backed by the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, Craft Guild of Chefs, Institute of Hospitality, UK Hospitality and The Worshipful Company of Cooks. Employer partners include The Ivy Group, Sodexo, Fuller’s, CH&CO, Lexington and Atul Kochhar Restaurant Group.

Find out more about the Hospitality Academy Hub here.

Gary Hunter, Deputy Executive Principal of Capital City College Group, said: “We are very proud to be part of the Mayor’s Academies Programme to provide Londoners with the core skills that employers need to get the capital back on its feet after the pandemic.

“Our four hubs – Creative, Digital, Green and Hospitality – will provide practical work-based training designed, delivered supported with our industry partners that will fit around people’s lifestyles, with a particular focus on those who have been hit hardest by COVID, instilling them with workplace confidence and the skills to move into exciting new careers.”

The hubs are CCCG’s latest commitment to help more people into work, which also includes a new Skills Academy in partnership with Enfield Council and Vistry Partnerships to provide construction training for the £25 million Meridian Water regeneration in Enfield.

CCCG also recently launched the London Welding Academy alongside its London Rail Academy in Enfield with the number of welders in the UK having fallen by a quarter in five years.

Find out more about CCCG Skills Academies here.

‘Dedicated and hard-working’ engineering student receives outstanding achievement award

A former engineering student at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) has won a prestigious award for his exceptional work during his studies.

James Marlow, 25, was presented with the Outstanding Academic Achievement award and received £500 in the Michael Sargent Bursary Awards 2021.

He achieved 15 Distinctions on an Access to Higher Education Diploma at CONEL last year and is now studying for a BSc (Hons) Computer Science at King’s College London.

Receiving his award at online ceremony on 19 January, James said: “It is a real honour to receive this award. It was a really wonderful experience studying the Access course and I learnt a lot of key skills, thanks to my tutors Muhammad and Amadu who were really terrific.

“Before I did my Access course I was working as a software developer and after five years I was ready to move on. I knew I wanted to move into academia but didn’t really know how to, because I didn’t have the qualifications. That’s where the Access course came in and now I’m at university.”

James, from Knebworth, Hertfordshire, impressed his tutors from the beginning with his drive and dedication. They also praised his excellent communication skills and friendly support for other students in his role as class representative.

Muhammad Ahmad, Lecturer in Engineering at CONEL, who nominated James for the award, said: “James was a very dedicated and hard-working student who performed outstandingly throughout the academic year and successfully achieved 45 credits at Distinction.

“James demonstrated excellent skills in all mathematical, physics and engineering modules taught this year. The evidence he produced in his take-home assignments was consistently of very high quality and the general presentation of his work was very logical and well-organised.

“I am extremely pleased to see James receive this award, which he thoroughly deserves, and I wish him well in his new adventure at university and all the best for the future.”

The Bursary Awards are presented by OCN London, a UK awarding body that provides qualifications for colleges, adult education centres, community groups, training providers, charities and employers.

They were established in memory of Michael Sargent, a trustee on the OCN London board and a member of its quality committee who was also one of its longest serving moderators for programmes from Basic Skills to Access to Higher Education Diplomas.

The Bursary Awards celebrate the achievements of Access to HE learners in two categories – Outstanding Academic Achievement and Outstanding Commitment to Study.

Jacquie Mutter, CEO of OCN London, said: “These awards are all about celebrating achievement and our winners are here today because of their hard work, determination, perseverance and because they’ve gone the extra mile to achieve excellence in the work they’ve produced.

Reflecting on the challenges of studying during the pandemic, she added: “They also recognise these students’ sheer endurance and that in spite of everything, they’ve achieved and moved on into higher education.”

Access to Higher Education Diplomas are one-year courses for adults looking to study at university or other higher education provider, but who do not have the qualifications needed for entry.

Students can pay for these courses using an Advanced Learner Loan that will be written-off once they have completed their higher education course.

CONEL no longer runs an Access to Higher Education Diploma in Engineering, but the course is still available at its sister colleges, City and Islington College and Westminster Kingsway College.

Find out more about our current Access to Higher Education Diplomas and Engineering courses at CONEL.

Media students get the inside story on careers in journalism with former reporter

A Level Media students at Westminster Kingsway College have been inspired by a visit from a former news journalist who gave them the scoop on working in journalism.

Paul Cassell worked for the Reading Post and its sister papers The Wokingham Times and Bracknell Standard from 2003-2013. He is now Senior Press Officer for Capital City College Group, which includes WestKing.

He joined the students during one of their lessons at the college’s King’s Cross Centre and explained what skills journalists need, what makes a story newsworthy and gave them advice on getting into the industry.

Paul also provided tips on interviewing and writing techniques including an exercise where students pretended to be journalists interviewing people about a fictional fire, and another where they had to turn fairytales and nursery rhymes into news stories. Media student Abena Peprah, 18, who hopes to become a broadcast journalist, said: “Today has been very helpful. It’s given me a really deep insight into the world of journalism and what I need to put in place for my dream career to happen.

“I’m a very confident, adventurous and spontaneous person and like the idea of going out and speaking to other people ad hearing their opinions that may be different to my own and understanding things from their perspective.”

Another student, Sean Weale, 18, said: “I would like to get into investigative journalism as I like solving problems. Being able to travel the world and interview people also really inspires me.

“It was interesting finding out what makes a story newsworthy and what questions to ask when you’re interviewing someone. I had the gist of what journalism was, but I learnt a lot of new things during the presentation.”

Paul covered many different aspects of news during his journalism career including crime, politics, education, health, business, entertainment, environmental and human interest stories after studying a National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) course.

In that time, he had the opportunity to interview many high-profile figures including Theresa May, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, and bands and celebrities including Squeeze, McFly, Jenny Agutter, Stephen Merchant, John Challis, Samantha Womack and Ralf Little.

Paul also covered the Royal Wedding party celebrations of Reading-born Kate Middleton’s wedding to Prince William in her home village of Bucklebury, and the Olympic torch being carried through Reading ahead of the London 2012 Games.

Roxanne Baptiste, Lecturer in A Level Media Studies, said: “We really appreciated Paul coming in and giving our students an insight in what it’s like to be a journalist and the skills they need to work in the media industry.

“As part of the A Level media course students study newspapers and online news with particular emphasis on the political ideology of the institution and how that influences news stories.

“The session really got them thinking about what is expected of journalists at a professional level and the skills and knowledge required, how to research and write stories, and the preparation and study they need to do for a journalism career.”

Apply now for A Levels at WestKing.

WestKing student chef to represent England in global cooking competition

The heat is on for a Westminster Kingsway College student as he prepares to represent England in this year’s International Young Chef Olympiad.

Joe Slater, 18, will be among the student and apprentice chefs from around the world competing in the culinary battle across six continents and 24 time zones from 31 January to 6 February.

The competition, founded by Indian entrepreneur Dr Surborno Bose and now in its eighth year, will be held online for a second year due to the COVID pandemic.

Each participant will undertake a 30-minute skills test and then compete in a first round to make four portions of a vegetarian pasta dish and crème caramel.

The 10 best chefs will then go through to the next round where they will be asked to create a chicken dish with ingredients from a mystery basket.

They will have two and a half hours to complete each round and will be judged by an independent professional chef.

Each entrant is allowed a mentor to help prepare them for the competition.

Joe, who is the third year of a Professional Chef diploma, said: “It’s my first competition and I’m really excited. It’s good experience and I’m ready for it.

“I heard about it a few weeks before Christmas. I found out the briefs and got on with preparing for it. It’s been going well. I’ve been practising the dish and we’ve put it on the college restaurant menu.”

Joe lives in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, and works as a part-time chef at The Chequers Inn in the nearby village of Weston Turville at weekends.

He said: “I’ve learnt a lot at college over the past three years that is going to help, especially working in both the college restaurants. I know at colleges local to me there’s a lot more theory. It’s a lot more hands on here and you get the best experience. The facilities are very good and the lecturers have a lot knowledge to transfer to you.”

Joe studied food technology at GCSE and decided he wanted to become a chef after hearing about WestKing when he was 15.

He said: “I cooked a lot more in that year and felt this is what I want to do. I came to the college and my passion for it has just got bigger. I like creating my own dishes and enjoy the buzz of the kitchen when it’s busy. It can be challenging, but I like the excitement of it.”

Westminster Kingsway College has two public restaurants – The Brasserie and The Escoffier Room – where students like Joe hone their skills and prepare for jobs in the hospitality industry by creating and serving dishes for the paying public.

With other colleges closing their public restaurants over the last few years, WestKing’s students appreciate the opportunity to work in a real restaurant kitchen, which makes them more employable when they leave the college.

WestKing Chef Lecturer Chris Basten, a former chair of the Craft Guild of Chefs, chose Joe to be WestKing’s entrant and is his mentor.

Chris guided former WestKing student Beth Collings, who now works at The Salt Room in Brighton, to win bronze in the competition in 2020.

Chris said: “I’ve been helping and supporting Joe as much as I can, not that he needs much tuition. It’s just about fine tuning what he does in the kitchen.

“He produces consistently good food, has a good manner and calm temperament when he’s cooking and doesn’t flap when he’s under pressure.

“Everybody has a good chance of winning and it can come down to how well you perform on the day. Joe has a good a chance as any.”

WestKing’s Hospitality and Culinary Arts courses and apprenticeships offer students unrivalled opportunities to learn from our experienced team of Chef Lecturers in our industry standard professional kitchens.

The college also has excellent relationships with some of the country’s top chefs – some of whom are former WestKing students themselves, giving students the chance to gain work placements and helping them find great jobs when they leave the college.

Find out more and apply for our Hospitality and Culinary Arts courses and apprenticeships here.

Students interview former CANDI teacher and Costa Award winner Hannah Lowe

Students at City and Islington College (CANDI) interviewed writer and poet Hannah Lowe ahead of her latest work winning both the Costa Poetry Award and Costa Book of the Year Award.

Hannah, who taught English at the college from 2002 to 2012, won these awards for The Kids, her book of sonnets about teaching, learning, growing up and parenthood.

Hannah’s first success was in the Costa Poetry Award in January. And in February, Hannah went on to win the £30,000 Costa Book of the Year Award.

The Kids draws on her decade of teaching at CANDI as well as her own coming of age in the 80s and 90s, and explores issues of race, identity and class.

In December, college students interviewed Hannah for The Jam podcast, which was initially set up at the college as a way for students to talk about their experiences in lockdown and has gone on to feature discussions on various academic and social topics.

Hannah spoke to Adam Njai, 19, a former CANDI student at the college studying for a BA (Hons) History at the University of Bristol, and Gabrielle Okonkwo, 17, who is studying A Levels in English Literature and Language, History and Politics at the college.

In the interview, Hannah said: “I began sketching these poems about five years ago after I’d left the sixth form and had a period of reflection where I started to think about what I’d learnt in my time as a teacher, not least from the students I was teaching.

“I realised I’d learnt so much from the young people that I taught about personal things, and public and political issues to do with feelings of belonging, a sense of Britishness or not, social class and gender; and I started to think about how they had impacted my own sense of my own identity.”

Hannah left CANDI to complete a PhD in Creative Writing at Newcastle University and now lectures in the subject at Brunel University. Her other works include Chan (2016), Long Time, No See (2015) and Chick (2013).

One critic described her poems in The Kids as “funny, moving, sometimes painful and always questioning,” adding that “they capture teachers and their students’ learning life from each other in profound and unexpected ways.”

Reviewing the podcast, Elysha Smith, 17, who is studying A Levels in English Literature, History and Philosophy, said: ‘I was left feeling enlightened, like I had heard the much-needed other side to a story I had been reading since I was young. Putting it simply, this is just the kind of thing that students should listen to if they ever forget that their teachers are human too.”

A Level History teacher Debbie Bogard, who set up The Jam podcast, said: “From the very beginning, this has been a student-driven initiative, and it’s been such an excellent way for our students to develop creatively and engage with learning beyond the curriculum.

“It’s also been a brilliant way of drawing on the expertise of our wonderful ex-students and ex-teachers and welcoming them into our wider college community. I’m incredibly proud of what our students have achieved here, and already excited to hear where the podcast goes next.”

The Kids is published by Bloodaxe and is out now on Amazon and at all discerning bookshops.

You can listen to The Jam podcast on The Kids here

This article was updated on 4 February 2022, to include Hannah’s success in the Costa Book of the Year Award.

Interested in studying A Levels at City and Islington College? Apply for A Level courses

Hotel manager praises CONEL and calls for more women in top travel and tourism jobs

A hotel manager who studied Travel and Tourism at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) has called for more women to be given top jobs in the industry.

Jael Akyeampong is General Manager of the RB Park-Hill Hotel in Ghana, the country where she was born and grew up before coming to the UK when she was 19.

She is also a Director of the African Association of Women in Tourism and Hospitality (AAWTH) and was named Most Admired Female Hospitality Professional in the Hospitality Awards Ghana 2021.

According to travel and tourism consultants Aptamind, women represent half of all employees across the sector but only 19 per cent are in senior management roles and just five of the top 100 firms globally have a female CEO.

Jael said: “Most of the leadership roles in the travel and hospitality industry are occupied by men. There are some women in management but too few are getting the top positions. That is something we need to put right.

“The AAWTH looks to give more women the opportunity to work in more senior roles by working with the industry to provide internships and offer more coaching and mentoring. Women have a lot to offer and can bring a new perspective to the boardroom. We need more female role models to look up to, who can support and usher more women into the business.

“I am very proud that I’ve been able to build my career and acquire a high level of leadership, but the sector needs to open up more opportunities for women to show what they can do. There’s a lot of progress that still needs to be made.”

Jael studied Travel and Tourism at CONEL in 2013-14 where she undertook a work placement at the five-star JW Marriott Grosvenor House London hotel in Park Lane, which later helped her to secure a position at the Accra Marriott Hotel in Ghana.

“My time at CONEL really inspired me a lot, especially the internship, tours and support. We would do presentations and share what we’d learnt in class, and our teachers would give us coaching sessions and career guidance,” she said.

“I always looked forward to my classes because I had great tutors who would listen, acknowledge the fact that we wanted to learn more and gave us the opportunity to express ourselves. It was a great experience. What I learnt at CONEL really helped me with my career.”

Jael returned to Ghana in 2017 after a spell working as a Travel Consultant for Xstream Travel. She began working for Deeva Travel in Accra before landing a customer service role at the Accra Marriott Hotel where she was later promoted to a supervisory position.

She went on to study online for a Diploma in Tourism Management with the Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality accredited by the University of Derby, before topping it up to a BA (Hons) International Hospitality Business Management.

Jael was appointed Front Office Manager at the RB Park-Hill Hotel in 2019 and promoted to her current role of General Manager last year. Recently she has started running her own travel agency for newlyweds, The Haven Honeymoon Concierge, alongside her main job.

“The travel and hospitality industry is gradually picking up after COVID, and people are travelling and staying in hotels again and there are jobs out there,” said Jael.

“It’s a really exciting and enjoyable career because you get to meet many different people from all over the world. It’s very hands on and you’re often working long hours, but it’s worth it.

“I love to serve people and put a smile on their faces. What makes me really happy is when a guest gives a nice review about their stay. It gives me a great sense of fulfilment knowing I offered a great service to somebody.”

Apply now for Travel and Tourism courses.

‘The only way we’re going to fix the rail skill shortage is to train new people’

With the UK rail industry facing the challenge of an ageing workforce, Glen Lambert. Head of School, for Construction, Science and Engineering at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL), spoke to Rail Technology Magazine (RTM) recently about how investing in apprenticeships can fill this gap.

The UK rail engineering industry is facing a huge skills shortage in the face of multi-billion pound Government investment to improve the rail network over the coming years.

In its article Creating a Younger and More Diverse Workforce Through Apprenticeships, RTM referred to a study by City & Guilds and the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR), which revealed that 28 per cent of rail employees are over 50 and 120,000 people will need to be recruited over the next decade.

Glen called on rail industry leaders to address the aging work population in the sector by investing more heavily in apprenticeships and explained how CONEL is already supporting companies create a new skilled engineering workforce.

He said: “There’s been a lack of investment from employers in training young people, they prefer to go out to agencies and hire qualified and trained people, which isn’t a bad thing. But the only way we’re going to fix this skill shortage through this ageing workforce is to train new people into the industry.”

According to the City & Guilds and NSAR research, fewer than a fifth of rail employees are women, despite nearly a quarter saying they would consider a career in the sector. In a related RTM article in the same edition, Network Rail’s own research revealed an increase in female employees from BAME backgrounds.

Glen acknowledged that it was not just down to rail companies to recruit underrepresented groups but felt more involvement was needed from the industry, including having positive role models visit colleges and schools to inspire young people into rail careers.

He said: “We need to look at what the barriers are to getting people into the industry. Is it that they don’t believe that they can get there? Is it careers advice in school? How well does the rail industry engage with secondary schools for example, do they go in and do events? … We need to identify what the barriers are and how we overcome those barriers.”

CONEL is part of Capital City College Group (CCCG). Rail apprentices are trained at the college’s huge engineering provision at its Enfield Centre, which includes the London Rail Academy. Most are recruited directly by rail companies, while others are existing engineering students or recruited by Capital City College Training (CCCT), which is also part of CCCG,

Read the full article Creating a Younger and More Diverse Workforce Through Apprenticeships in RTM on pages 64-72.

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