Institution of Civil Engineers London chair praises ‘excellent’ teaching at Capital City College Group

One of the UK’s most influential women in Engineering and Construction has praised the high standard of teaching after studying with Capital City College Group (CCCG). 

Phebe Mann, who is Chair of the Institution of Civil Engineers London for 2022-23, achieved an overall Distinction on a Plumbing Level 2 Diploma at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London. She also took a short course in Home Repair and Maintenance for Women at Westminster Kingsway College. 

Phebe studied both courses having already established an illustrious engineering and legal career spanning more than three decades and gaining a PhD and four Master’s Degrees. 

She is a chartered engineer, chartered surveyor, chartered construction manager and a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. She was named in the Women in Engineering Society’s Top 50 Women in Engineering 2018.  

She has a PhD Collaborative Design, MSc Bridge Engineering, MSc Construction Management, MA (Cantab) Computer Science, LLM Construction Law and is a qualified barrister. 

Phebe has worked as a Specialist Judge for the Upper Tribunal and General Regulatory Chamber and has completed engineering projects for Westminster City Council and Cambridge County Council, as well as being a Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster, University of Reading, University of East London and Open University. 

Phebe decided to enrol on both courses to develop her practical construction skills and increase her awareness of the trades to enable her to better address a national shortage of workers in the UK. 

She said: “The students were very enthusiastic in their learning. The lecturers were excellent and devoted to sharing the skills of their professions and we learnt a great deal from the exercises and the feedback they gave us. They also provided high-quality videos of each topic, which we could view repeatedly until we understood the requirements of the course.  

“My lecturer for the plumbing practical class was very patient and empathetic to his students as he explained the steps we needed to take and the health and safety requirements for each task. He had a genuine understanding of his students and adapted his teaching to meet their individual needs.” 

Phebe is passionate about encouraging and inspiring more women to follow in her footsteps and pursue engineering and construction careers. 

She said: “Girls tend to do better than boys in GCSE and A Level results including science, mathematics and computing. These are all important skills for engineers and construction. Women excel in skills such as good communication, innovation, creativity and analysis. They should not be intimidated by working in a male-dominated industry.” 

According to the Engineering UK and there is a shortfall of 173,000 workers in the STEM sector, while the Construction Skills Network says 266,000 new workers are needed by 2026  

“If you are passionate about engineering, discover your potentials, seek opportunities, equip yourself, develop a positive learning attitude and be determined to be successful,” said Phebe. 

“Don’t be discouraged by failures. Every success is built on many failures. Don’t give up if you believe you can do it.” 

Apply now for Engineering courses here and Construction courses here

Students inspired after ‘brilliant’ work placements with Morgan Sindall Construction

Students from Westminster Kingsway College had the chance to gain a real insight into the building industry after undertaking work placements with Morgan Sindall Construction.

Morgan Sindall Employer Visit

Around 20 Construction students visited the Bedford Passage building site in Cleveland Street, Camden, which is being redeveloped by the University College London Hospital Charity.

The £50 million project is due for completion in 2024 and will comprise and NHS medical centre along with a mix of commercial and residential properties including social housing.

Ronnie Sheehan, 16, and Frankie Paul, 17, were among four students chosen by Morgan Sindall Construction to gain an extra week’s work experience after visiting the site.

Ronnie said: “I would like to do something at a management level. I’m interested in being a quantity surveyor as I really like maths and working with numbers, it’s the challenge.

“Being on site has opened my eyes to what a construction environment is really like. You get to see it for yourself, it’s not stuff you can learn in a book. There were trades on site that I hadn’t ever have heard of, but they make sense when you think about it.”

Frankie said: “I’m on an electrical course and I’d like to be hands-on with a trade on a construction site. I’m more of a practical learner, that’s how my brain works best, so being here on site and seeing things for myself has been brilliant.

“Work experience like this is a really good opportunity to make sure this is the career route you want to pursue. Being on site has shown me how much more goes on here; all the deliveries and organising trades, etc. It’s not something you always think about in the classroom.”

During the initial visit, students were given a tour by Daniel Mayger, an Apprentice Site Manager, and Freddie Thomas, who is on a year’s placement as part of a BA (Hons) Quantity Surveying.

Daniel told the students about his apprenticeship and showed them how the piles were driven into the ground and concrete was poured over them to make watertight walls.

The students further heard from a site engineer and a groundworks contractor about their work on the site. They also took part in an insulation pricing workshop and learnt about risk assessments and the legal and commercial aspects of construction.

Paul Jennings, Community Investment Manager at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “Construction is not often seen as a career choice, but the industry needs to recruit new people to fulfil future roles and developments in the industry.

“The Government’s plan to drive economic growth through infrastructure delivery will only be achieved with the recruitment of a skilled workforce. These skills are not just site based; there are exciting career opportunities in HR, marketing, finance, procurement and business development.

“It is vital we continue to strengthen links with educational institutions such as Westminster Kingsway College to train our workforce of the future.”

Find out more about Construction courses and apply here.

Nikita Pathakji praises ‘fantastic’ WestKing apprenticeship after winning Masterchef: The Professionals

Masterchef: The Professionals champion Nikita Pathakji has told how her apprenticeship at Westminster Kingsway College gave her the skills and experience for culinary success.

Nikita, 25, from Clapham, became the second former apprentice from the college to win the grand final of the BBC TV series following Alex Webb’s triumph in the competition in 2020.

She said: “This is incredible. I can’t put it into words. This surpasses every achievement of my life. I don’t know how I’m going to top this. This is it, this is the peak, I think I’ve reached it!”

Her winning menu featured a starter of seabass cured in citrus dressing with smoked aubergine and spiced red pepper purées, followed by a main of crispy chicken thighs, tortellini filled with chicken, mushrooms and coriander topped with a coconut curry sauce, and for dessert a cardamom custard tart with poached apricots and a honey tuile.

Masterchef presenter Gregg Wallace said: “Nikita opened up the larder of the world and brought us dish after stunning dish after stunning dish.”

Michelin-star chef Marcus Wareing said “She’s a chef that has grown right in front of our eyes. Her food has been sublime,” while fellow judge, chef and restauranteur Anna Haugh, added: “Nikita is on the road to creating a very unique cuisine. And that is why she’s our champion.”

Nikita, who works as a Junior Sous Chef at Michelin-star restaurant Kitchen W8 in Kensington, trained at the college’s School for Hospitality and Culinary Arts in Victoria from 2016-19.

She undertook Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeships, sponsored by The Worshipful Company of Cooks, at The Lanesborough in Knightsbridge and Claude Bosi at Bibendum in Kensington.

Nikita said: “My apprenticeship at Westminster Kingsway was a fantastic way to gain important foundational knowledge and skills, which compounded with real experience working in restaurant kitchens, set me up with both the skills and qualifications I needed to work in top Michelin-starred restaurants.

“I’m so glad I started my career on this apprenticeship. The guidance and extra support that made the job a little less daunting when I first started out.”

Nikita grew up in Derby and lived in India with her family for two years from the age of nine. As a child she would prepare meals with her mum, which inspired her love of Asian cooking.

After her apprenticeship at WestKing, she travelled for nine months around South East Asia, which further deepened her passion and appreciation for the region’s flavours and culinary styles.

Sharon Barry, Head of School for Hospitality and Culinary Arts Apprenticeships, said: “Nikita was a dedicated, passionate and highly motivated learner during her time at WestKing. It comes as no surprise that she has continued to grow and thrive within her culinary career.

“Winning Masterchef: The Professionals is a fantastic achievement, and we are all incredibly proud of her. She is a huge inspiration to all our current learners who has shown anything is possible if you believe in yourself and follow your dreams.”

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

Former CANDI student ‘super happy’ after netting apprenticeship with global tech giant IBM

CANDI apprentice IBM

A computer savvy former City and Islington College (CANDI) student is excited about his future after gaining a place on a degree apprenticeship with global tech giant IBM.

Imtiyaz Rahman, 18, secured his place on the BSc (Hons) Digital and Technology Solutions apprenticeship after achieving D*D*D on an IT Level 3 Diploma last summer.

He spends four days working at IBM’s offices in Southwark and the one day studying at Northeastern University London, a hub of the university in Boston, Massachusetts.

Imtiyaz, from Westminster, revealed that his uncle and cousins had been a big influence on his decision to pursue an IT career at an early age.

“My interest stemmed from an initial desire to play computer games with them when I was about seven. My uncle knew how to build PCs and told me about the hardware and the key things I needed to know, and I began to get into it in more depth,” he said

Imtiyaz’s interest grew as he began to find out more about how computers work and the different components needed to build them, which enabled him to upgrade his own PC.

“I’m interested in many different aspects of IT. On the one hand I’m interested in the hardware side, but since I’ve been at IBM I’ve been shown some new aspects of software and cloud-based technology that I never knew about, which has also piqued my interest,” he said

“I’ve also learnt about AI and quantum computers, which are faster, more powerful and beyond any computers that most of us know today.”

Imtiyaz heard about the apprenticeship through his friends at CANDI. He also applied for another at Lloyds Bank, which although unsuccessful helped him better prepare for his application to IBM.

“I had my focus dead set on going to university and that was the way to my future career, but then my classmates started to tell me about degree apprenticeships,” he said.

“I didn’t expect to make it. With UCAS application you send off your application and personal statement, but with the degree apprenticeship I had to answer a lot more questions on why I want this role and why I am good at it as well as face-to-face interviews and a presentation.

“When I got the call to say I had got on the apprenticeship I was in the middle of class. I walked out of my lesson to take the call and they asked me about my results. There was this daunting silence and then they said I’d got the role, and I was super happy.”

Imtiyaz explained that the diploma at CANDI gave him a realistic expectation of what it would be like to work in IT and how it is applied in business, while also preparing him for degree level study.

“When I’m doing assignments for university, I’m using the same approach and research skills I learnt at college. The practical side on my course also meant I am now able to look at someone’s coding and have a general idea what it means,” he said.

“The teaching was rigorous and intense. It was great to have teachers who had passion for their subject and wanted to see their students grow as people and improve their skills.”

Imtiyaz explained that the degree apprenticeship was a great option because IBM cover his tuition fees and he is not just getting an education but a career.

“What I’ve learnt is that no one really knows what they want to do for the future and not to plan or have too many expectations because situations are always changing, so keep your options open,” he said.

“I am happy for the future because this is a potential career opportunity at a great company that’s well known within the industry, which will give me the skills and experience over the next three years that I might not have got at university.”

Find out more about Computing and IT courses and apply here.

Travel and Tourism student lands job as British Airways flight attendant while still at college

CONEL students working at BA

A British Airways flight attendant has told how his career took off after studying at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL)

Leandro Addivinola, 32, secured a job with the airline in February 2022 during the first year of his Travel and Tourism Level 3 Diploma and undertook four weeks training in May.

He joined the cabin crew for Euroflyer, a subsidiary of BA based at Gatwick airport, and is now working on long-haul flights out of Heathrow while completing the second year of his course.

Leandro, who was born and raised in Italy, said: “I’m really happy and proud of myself because when I think back seven years ago I could barely speak English, and now I’m working for BA, the national carrier of the United Kingdom. It’s a big achievement for me.

“I’ve flown to Turkey, Morrow, Greece and Cyprus. I’m still very excited and hope to stay in BA and grow. This is just the start for me.”

Leandro was born in Naples and grew up in Perugia where he studied for a degree in social sciences at university before coming to UK in 2015.

“After my degree, I looked for a job for around six months but didn’t find anything because the economic situation in Italy was not good, so I decided to come to the UK and find a job,” he said.

Leandro worked in a restaurant making pizzas and then as a waiter as his English improved before an eight-month spell as a pastry chef in Ibiza in 2018 and then returning to London.

“I wanted a better career. I didn’t want to work in restaurants for the rest of my life, so I decided to restart,” he said.

“The travel sector had always fascinated me. I liked the idea of travelling and working at the same time and I also wanted to improve my English. I also knew about hospitality from working in the restaurant.”

Leandro, who now lives in Wood Green, enrolled on a Travel and Tourism Level 2 Certificate in September 2020 and progressed to Level 3 the following year.

He applied to BA in November 2021 after seeing an advert for cabin crew on Instagram and was offered a job after an interview and assessment day held virtually due to COVID.

“It’s a very gratifying and rewarding job. You get paid to travel the world and meet lots of people from different cultures and learn a lot every day,” he said.

Leandro praised his teachers at CONEL who had not only taught him about the industry but how to apply what he had learnt to real situations.

He further recalled being inspired at college when former Travel and Tourism student Richard Coelho-McErlean shared his experience as a flight attendant for BA.

“The course work is designed to give you the skills you need to apply in the job every day,” said Leandro.

“The teachers are really supportive. Every time you have the issue or don’t understand something you can ask them for help. I have learnt so much, and I’m still learning.”

Find out more about Travel and Tourism courses at CONEL and apply here.

WestKing and Central District Alliance host Careers and Enterprise Day

Jobseekers had the chance to find out more about new employment opportunities and gaining work skills when they attended a Careers and Enterprise Day at Westminster Kingsway College.

The event was run with the Central District Alliance (CDA) business improvement district, which is partnering the college’s Mayor of London Digital and Hospitality Academy Hubs that launched earlier this year.

The CDA represents more than 400 businesses in central London and has backed the hubs to help its members upskill their staff and recruit new talent in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic.

Mayor of Camden Cllr Nasim Ali was the special guest at the event at the college’s King’s Cross Centre, which was held to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week last month.

CCCG’s apprenticeship and training provider Capital City College Training and entrepreneurship programme Visionnaires, a subsidiary of CCCG, were also present at the event.

Among the other organisations that attended were Transport for London, Camden Council, Metropolitan Police, London Fire Brigade, DHL, Cutlass Security Group, Bidvest Noonan, London Communications Agency and Digital Influx.

There were also stands from several hospitality and entertainment businesses including Pret, Shaftesbury Theatre, Travelodge, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, Imperial London Hotels, Kimpton Fitzroy London and Strand Palace.

Visitors had the opportunity to attend employability sessions with Samsung, LinkedIn and Edwardian Hotels, and have free professional headshots taken for their LinkedIn profiles.

Fashion and Communication Level 3 Diploma students modelled outfits for a fashion show sponsored by Dress for Success and Burton, which included advice on how to dress for a job interview.

There were also live demonstrations from students from the college’s School for Hospitality and Culinary Arts in Victoria.

Attendees also had chance to win a tablet or one of several mobile phones in a prize draw.

Find out more information and apply for courses and apprenticeships at CCCG here.

WestKing’s Hospitality school accredited by Craft Guild of Chefs

Westminster Kingsway College’s award-winning School of Hospitality and Culinary achieved another milestone when it was awarded accredited status by the Craft Guild of Chefs this month.

The Craft Guild of Chefs is the leading chef association in the UK. It plays a key role in championing the skills and talents of the people in the foodservice and hospitality sector and, as a part of this, it runs a prestigious accreditation scheme which universities and colleges that teach culinary skills can apply to join.

To be accredited, universities and colleges must meet stringent criteria set by the Craft Guild of Chefs, demonstrating that the faculty offers a high calibre of teaching. An independent assessor also inspects the college to ensure it meets the high standards required.

As Curriculum Manager Miranda Quantrill explained: “We are absolutely delighted that the college’s Hospitality and Culinary Arts provision has been accredited by the Craft Guild of Chefs. This is great news and it’s a massive endorsement of the work that we do here. A big thank you to all the staff and the students who made this possible.”

The Craft Guild’s independent assessor visited the college in early November and spoke to staff including Miranda and Restaurant Manager Marc Whitley as well as a number of our students.

He was glowing in his praise of both the quality of teaching and the attitude of the students, saying in his report: “It is clear that everyone excepts nothing but the best from each other and both staff and students understand that ethos, respect it and are more than happy to ensure the high standards requested are maintained by everyone.”

As part of his inspection, the assessor also visited the Escoffier Room, the college’s fine dining restaurant, where students cook meals for, and serve, members of the public, and was served a meal by students.

He also spoke to a couple of first year students, both of whom talked with excitement about the course and their desires to progress through the industry and what they wanted for their future. Both students spoke extremely highly of the course the tutors and the facilities they had the good fortune to be taught within.

The assessor concluded his report saying: “Westminster Kingsway College benefit from a committed and professional team of hospitality lecturers. The standards set by the faculty team is reflected in the appearance and enthusiasm shown by the students. It is clear that many students will have successful careers and the continued relationships with industry will support this objective.”

Terry Tinton, Assistant Principal Hospitality, Foundation Studies and Commercial, said: “We are over the moon that the Craft Guild of Chefs has awarded Westminster Kingsway College accredited status.

“This award has been well-earned and recognises the decades of skill and experience that has gone into the quality of our culinary teaching, as well as the way that we structure our courses to make them as industry-relevant as possible.

“It’s why students from all over the south-east of England come to us, and why so many of them graduate from here into great jobs in some of the country’s top restaurants and hotels.”

Do you want to be a chef or work in hospitality? Learn from the best at WestKing. Find out more about our Hospitality and Culinary Arts courses here and apprenticeship training here.