October 2023 - Capital City College Group
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AI in Education: CCCG’s Executive Principal Kurt Hintz Co-presents New Podcast

Executive Principal Kurt Hintz explores how further education can successfully integrate artificial intelligence in a fascinating new podcast series.

It is undeniable that artificial intelligence is reshaping all sectors in some way, and education is no exception. Capital City College Group’s Executive Principal, Kurt Hintz, has taken the opportunity to dive right into this brave new world with a series of podcasts with Richard Foster-Fletcher, Executive Chair at MKAI (Morality & Knowledge in Artificial Intelligence).

In their series The Boundless Podcast, Kurt and Richard take a considered look at the changes afoot as a result of enhanced AI technologies. Over five instalments, they delve into the opportunities for further education that AI offers, from automated administration to its ability to facilitate learning that is fully personalised. 

The podcasts are available on Spotify and are an interesting listen for anyone considering implementing AI technology in further education. Kurt draws on his extensive career in education spanning over 20 years and gives valuable insight into how AI can be viewed by leaders in his field. When ChatGPT first emerged, Kurt’s reaction was not one of worry or fear. He said, “My mindset went immediately to ‘How do people need to use this in the future?’ and ‘How will productivities leapfrog from this development?’, and ‘How do we make sure that our students and our staff are at the front and leading edge of that?”

As Richard says: “AI is a threat but AI is a great companion,” and the podcasts take a multifaceted approach and consider the vast possibilities of AI as well as the ethical implications and challenges it presents, especially in relation to data privacy, bias and exploitation.

In their engaging and informative conversations, Kurt and Richard also discuss the issue of future-proofing further education while also ensuring that staff and students possess the abilities needed to work with AI in the future. As Kurt says: “AI literacy is not a luxury but a necessity.” 

The podcast moves beyond education and Richard and Kurt also explore the effects of AI on human interaction. They consider the benefits that technology can bring to social or professional spheres while also discussing the importance of being able to decipher human signals and engage in meaningful interaction. 

The conversations between Kurt and Richard consistently highlight the need for a balanced approach when implementing AI in the wake of social media. They examine the role of careful planning and debate how to best develop a deep and holistic understanding of AI in order to prevent, offset and manage any negative side effects.

The Boundless Podcast paves the way for continuous and expansive discussion on AI opportunities, ethics and sustainability across the education leadership community. Kurt himself said: “I think it is a genuine opportunity for us to influence and be much more involved in this, this time around. We know this is going to be dramatic so how much more involved can we be?”

To listen to The Boundless Podcast on Spotify, click here.

Health-Tech Companies Visit CANDI to Talk About Careers and Experiences

Students hear from Health-tech representatives as they share insight into their work, career paths and notable experiences. 

Representatives from two health-tech companies visited students doing Access to Medical Biosciences courses and Access to Health and Humans Sciences courses at City and Islington’s Sixth Form College on 27 September. The health-tech professionals presented insights and information on careers in their field and took time to answer the students’ questions.

Iona Mackillop, a medical writer, and Oliver O’Reilly, an animator, talked about their work at Cognitant, a company specialising in empowering people to make decisions about their healthcare through digital resources. 

Iona and Oliver described how Cognitant works to provide clear information for people trying to understand the diagnoses of close friends or family members. They discussed the intrinsic benefits of working to make a difference for others and gave examples of how they’d been able to support clients as they dealt with a loved one’s illness.

During the same session, Rolake Ojo, a freelance graphic designer and brand strategist, spoke about her unique and unconventional career path. After qualifying as a doctor and practising for three years, Rolake realised that she no longer wanted to be a doctor. 

In the Q&A session, Rolake described her inspirational personal journey from doctor to designer, which involved the challenge of explaining to her Nigerian family that she wanted to diverge from her expected career path. Her reasoning was clear – she recognised the intense effort, energy and dedication to medicine needed to work as a doctor while simultaneously realising that she did not have passion for her role as a doctor.

Taking time to reflect on her other skills and interests led Rolake to design school, where she felt validated and was able to express her creativity. Rolake highlighted the importance of having a broad circle of voices when making significant career decisions and encouraged students to deliberate, experiment and explore.

Currently, Rolake combines her medical knowledge and design skills to offer graphic design solutions for healthcare initiatives and providers. The work challenges her in different ways, but her passion for design and the sense of purpose it brings keeps her energised and motivated. Rolake encouraged the students to take time to maintain self-awareness in order to discover their true purpose in life.

Both Cognitant and Rolake Ojo are members of Health Foundry, a co-working space for digital health companies. Chris French, Health Foundry’s Director of Strategy said: “The work of the members of Health Foundry is forward-looking and thinking, always to help others. These talks helped to show that a career path in health can be very different to what we might think of as the traditional route.”

The Leaders of Tomorrow: CONEL Students Complete Youth Leadership Course

Students celebrate new skills, social action and success after completing a new Youth Leadership Course organised by the Berkeley Foundation.

Twenty-eight budding young leaders studying ESOL at The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) recently took part in a new Youth Leadership Programme. Students celebrated the successful completion of the inaugural course organised by the Berkeley Foundation in partnership with Groundwork London at a graduation event hosted by West London College on 28 September 2023.

Classroom of students

The 12-week Youth Leadership Programme consisted of weekly leadership skills workshops, sessions on social action planning and a leadership residential. The course was designed to raise awareness on environmental issues, the green agenda and sustainability and also covered areas such as project planning, problem-solving and relationship building.

Students from CONEL were involved in a diverse range of activities that put their new-found knowledge and skills to use, and they presented informative and innovative pitch presentations to acquire funding for their social action projects. Activities ranged from an informative TikTok video to improving spaces within the college by installing plants. 

The Chair of the Berkeley Foundation and CEO of Berkeley Group, Rob Perrins, said: “This new initiative with Groundwork London shows how empowering young people can make a real difference to places and communities. The innovation and social action projects we have seen are inspiring, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for these young people.”

The course helped participants apply their new-found skills to local green spaces, using social action to improve the world around them. As well as enhancing employability and building confidence, the course encouraged participants to engage with nature. The Youth Leadership Programme, which is in its first year, included over 70 young people from Hammersmith, Fulham and North East London. ESOL students from the Tottenham Centre received certificates in recognition of their achievements during the programme.

Find out more about our ESOL courses across our colleges here.

Finding Out Essential Information: Our Top 10 Questions to Ask at an Open Day

If you’re about to attend an open day but you’re not sure what sort of things to ask about, we’ll help you get started with our top 10 essential questions.

Open days offer a fantastic opportunity to learn as much as you can about a prospective college. There will be tours, talks and taster sessions, as well as plenty of time to ask questions. 

The open day may be busy, so we’ve put together a list of our top 10 questions to help you cover some of the essentials.

1. What do you look for in students who are applying for this course?

This is a great question to ask the teachers during the open day. If a course is competitive, find out what the minimum GCSE, Maths and English requirements are. Some of our courses don’t have a minimum requirement, and with hundreds of courses to choose from, there’s something for everyone. 

2. What does the course cover?

A prospectus or a website can give you a good general idea about the courses on offer, but now’s the time to find out more. Speak to subject teachers and students about the content of different courses so that you can find the right one for you.

3. What are the teaching methods used on the course?

You’ll be investing time and energy into your course, so it’s important to think about whether the course matches your learning style. Do you prefer formal teaching or practical tasks? Don’t be afraid to ask teachers about their methods – it’s a good way to know what to expect if you choose their course.

4. How is the course assessed?

Completing the course is one thing, but passing assessments is another. You’ll want to get the best grades possible, so think about how your learning and performance are measured. Find out when assessments take place, how you’ll prepare for them and if they count towards your final grade.  

5. What are the subject-specific facilities for this course?

All our colleges have a library (which you should definitely check out), but it’s also important to take a look at our specialist facilities. If you’re considering a course in fashion, what workshop or studio facilities are available? If you’re a scientist, check out the labs and equipment on offer. 

6. What clubs and societies can I get involved in?

All work and no play is not healthy for any student. Think about what you like to do in your free time and find out about groups that you could join. Going to college is a great opportunity to branch out and try something different, so look out for activities that will challenge you and help you grow!

7. What financial help is available for students?

There are a range of bursaries and financial support schemes available to students – so don’t be afraid to ask and see if you’re eligible. Find out about discounted travel and other schemes that can help you save money while you study. 

8. What support services do you have?

With new courses and friends, the transition to college or university is an enormous one. It’s a good idea to find out what support services students have access to. Your wellbeing should be a priority, so make sure you know what’s available for when you need a little extra support.

9. What have previous students of this course gone on to do?

Career prospects are a huge consideration when starting any new course. Find out what career services are available and what events and support the college offers. Ask about links with relevant companies and organisations that could help with future employment. Enquiring about what past students are doing now will give you an idea of future possibilities.

10. Why should I study here?

Keep this question in your mind throughout the open day. You could even ask current students and teachers what their answer would be!

If you’re interested in attending an open day at one of our colleges, we have a range of open days coming up. Book your place here.

Open Day Top Tips: How to Get the Most From a Prospective College Visit

Open days are a great way to find out more about a prospective college. Our top tips will help you get the most out of your visit.

Spring is typically a busy season when it comes to open days, so now is a great time to start planning!

Decide where you want to go

The process of deciding where to go after completing your GCSEs can seem daunting. There are so many options; A Levels, T Levels, apprenticeships, technical courses – the list goes on! 

The first step is to think carefully about which types of courses appeal to you most. Do you prefer hands-on learning to traditional academic pathways or would an apprenticeship suit you better? Once you’ve got your shortlist, find out when each college is having their open days. Make sure that you register early for the open days you want to attend and book your place.

Plan ahead to make the most of your open day

Plan your journey to the college you’ve visiting before you set off. Check your route and find out ahead about bus routes, train timetables or the nearest tube stops. If you’re driving, find out about parking restrictions. 

Ask lots of questions at the open day

An open day is the perfect time to ask all of your questions. There will be teachers and administrators on site to answer them, so make a list! Current students are a great resource for the all-important social side of things. 

If you’re going somewhere to study, it’s also important that you feel part of the college community. Think about what your wants and needs are:

  • Do you have any accessibility requirements? 
  • Would you like to know more about certain clubs and societies? 
  • Use the people available at the open day to get answers to all of your questions – it will really help you find out if it’s a good fit for you.

Pack your essentials

You’ll most likely be on your feet for at least an hour, so be sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. 

Essential things to take:

  • A notepad and pen – Always useful for taking notes as an alternative to your phone!
  • A spare bag – You’ll need somewhere to stash any flyers or prospectuses you may be given.
  • A second pair of eyes and ears – it can be useful to take along a friend or family member for a second opinion. They may think of things to ask and notice details that you might miss. They’ll also be able to offer a different perspective on things.
2 students smiling and discussing a project

Get involved on the day

If you’re outgoing and able to get there and go for it, that’s great. If you’re a shyer sort, attending pre-arranged activities are a great way to get involved. Challenge yourself to talk to as many people as you can. You’re all there for the same reason so asking where someone is from and what they’re looking to study is a great conversation starter.

If you’re interested in coming to see one of our colleges, we have a range of open days taking place this term. Come and see the excellent range of courses we have on offer. You can register your interest and book your place here!

CONEL ESOL Students and Learning Manager Celebrated at Jack Petchey Achievement Awards

CONEL Students and Learning Manager celebrate as they receive Jack Petchey Achievement Awards in recognition of their hard work, dedication and progress.

ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students at The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) recently enjoyed an evening of celebration at the Jack Petchey Achievement Award Ceremony. The event, which took place on 27 September 2023 at Bernie Arts Grant Centre, was attended by students aged 16 to 18.

The Jack Petchey Foundation was set up by businessman and philanthropist Sir Jack Petchey CBE. The foundation aims to motivate and inspire young people from across London and Essex to reach their full potential. 

Students from our Tottenham Centre took part in a celebration of achievement hosted by the foundation. A number of students received an award for dedication to their studies. The award recognises their hard work, attendance and punctuality as well as individual progress. 

This year, the students who received awards were: Bana Okbu, Ergi Ajazi, Abdirahman Hassan, Abdo Yakoub and Stepan Buchynskyi.

The awards recognise both students and educators, and students nominated Learning Manager Tueybaha Salahuddin for the Outstanding Leader Award to recognise her hard work, dedication and contribution to learner education for ESOL students aged 16 to 18. 

Our ESOL courses offered at Tottenham Centre are aimed at school leavers looking to improve all areas of their English, helping them progress to higher level study or employment and offering regular tutorial support and career guidance.

Find out more about ESOL courses across all our colleges here.

Love your college? Celebrate your place of study during National Colleges Week

It’s time to cheer for colleges during National Colleges Week. Celebrate these wonderful places of learning with a range of events and activities.

Do you love your college? We hope so!

The Association of Colleges invites you to celebrate your college during Colleges Week.

The fortnight-long nationwide celebration will shine a light on the myriad of benefits colleges provide for their students and the wider community.

When is Colleges Week?

This year, Colleges Week is taking place over two weeks to make sure that everyone can take part. From 9 – 20 October, the Association of Colleges will be encouraging people to focus on the many boons and benefits that colleges bring. From their ability to support key sectors to the role they play in boosting the national economy – it’s time to give colleges a big round of applause!

What happens in Colleges Week?

During the two weeks that make up the Colleges Week celebrations, the Association of Colleges will bring focus to the different ways in which colleges contribute to our society.

Week 1 – from Monday 9 October

In the first week, activities will look at how colleges support local skills, labour markets and life chances.

Daily themes will focus on key sectors:

Week 2 – from Monday 16 October

In the second week, there will be more focus on how colleges support the national economy. There will be time to examine how boosting investment can improve productivity levels, with a Parliamentary reception on 18 October.

How can I get involved in Colleges Week?

Shout it out! – Colleges week is a time to shout about the success you see around you. Colleges are amazing places, hotbeds of learning, development and discovery. Be sure to celebrate your teachers, classmates and support staff!

Get tagging! – Use the hashtags #LoveOurColleges and #CollegesWeek2023 on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and LinkedIn to share the love!

Be sure to follow the Capital City College Group (CCCG) blog and social media accounts to see how we’re celebrating Colleges Week!

What to Expect From an Open Day: Useful Information to Help You Prepare

Are you thinking about attending your first open day? Here’s everything you need to know about what to expect when you get there.

Our prospectus or website can tell you a lot about our colleges – but the best way to decide which course and college is right for you is to come along to an open day.

We know that attending an open day for the first time can be a bit daunting, so here’s some key information about what to expect once you get there.

What is an open day?

We organise our open days so that prospective students can visit us and learn more about the courses our colleges have to offer. An open day is a great way to get a taste of college life and gain first-hand experience of what it feels like to study with us.

Students performing a science experiment

When do open days happen?

Our open days happen throughout the year and take place on weekdays as well as at weekends. We understand that it can be hard to fit in a college visit around your current studies, work, or family commitments – so we hold our open days in the morning, afternoon and early evening. 

Do I need to register for an open day?

Like most colleges, we ask all prospective students to book a space at our open days. It’s important to us that visiting students have time and space to explore our colleges, so we offer timed slots for every open day.

What happens at an open day?

  • At our open days, you’ll have the opportunity to:
  • Hear from our students and teachers
  • Find out more about our excellent range of courses
  • Learn out about student life at our colleges
  • Visit our outstanding teaching areas
  • Explore our facilities and industry-standard equipment
  • Learn about the support we offer
  • Get valuable career advice

You’ll also have time to explore the college and get a feel for student life.

How can I prepare for an open day?

In addition to reading any materials about the open day and your chosen course, you can prepare by remembering the following things:

  1. Dress for comfort – You’ll be walking and talking so wear something comfortable.
  2. Pack a few essentials – You’ll want to pack light so we recommend bringing a notepad and pen, a spare bag for leaflets and flyers, and a water bottle.
  3. Plan your journey – Make sure you know how to reach us and where the nearest bus or tube stop is.
  4. Think about the questions you want to ask – Make a list of things you want to know and tick them off as you go.
  5. Factor in some downtime – Exploring a potential college and absorbing lots of new information can be tiring work. Give yourself time to visit the college cafe or the library and take a moment or two to sit and soak up the atmosphere.

We have a range of open days coming up this term. If you’re interested in visiting one of our colleges, you can register your interest here.

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