February 2024 - Capital City College Group
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10 ways to get involved in politics: how to change the world around you

This week is Colleges Week (26 February-1 March) and this year, the Association of Colleges is encouraging colleges and their students to think about how they can influence and engage with politics while also celebrating their successes.

With the general election set to take place this year, there’s no better time to start thinking about the things that matter to you.

To some, politics can sometimes seem far removed from their day-to-day life, but politics affect your day-to-day, for example, minimum wage, what our relationships with other countries look like, how we tackle global warming, what you study in school or college, and how the public spaces and facilities around you are developed and maintained.

It is never too early to become interested in politics, and how decisions are made.

We’ve put together a guide unlocking the exciting world of political participation – proving it’s not just about suits and speeches, but about shaping the future you want to live in.


Voting is the most important democratic action you could do, yet in the 2019 general election, over 30% of eligible voters failed to cast their ballot.

In the UK, there are local council elections, parliamentary elections, as well as UK-wide elections. Before casting your vote, research candidates and parties thoroughly and attend hustings (public debates) if you can.

Although only 18+ year-olds can vote, 16 and 17-year-olds can register to vote (14 or over in Scotland and Wales). If you live in Scotland or Wales, you can vote in some elections when you’re 16 or over.

Registering takes only 5 minutes, and you only need to register once. Find out what you need to register to vote here.

If you’re under 18, keep reading for more ways to become politically active.

Study politics

A politics A-level is a great way to get your teeth into the subject and examine the workings of the British political system, core political ideas, and global events and trends. We offer both a 2-year full-time A Level course or a 1 year intensive A level course.

An A-level in politics can help pave the way towards a range of careers within the civil service and a wide range of careers where policy is involved.

Join your college society or clubs

Many colleges and schools have societies or clubs dedicated to politics or debate. Joining one is a great way to meet like-minded people, learn from each other, and have fun discussing big ideas. These societies often hold meetings, events, or workshops where you can learn about current issues, political processes, or how to get involved in campaigns.

If your college has a debate club, join it! Debating helps you understand different viewpoints, improve your public speaking skills, and think critically about important issues.

You may have a student council or parliament within your school or college that you can join. These student-led organisations give students a voice within their educational community and can be a great introduction to political life. You may be involved in campaigning for change, organising protests, lobbying for better policies or simply listening to the student body’s worries and frustrations. At CCCG, we have student governors who take part in governance meetings for the college group. Find out more about our governors and how they shape our group here!

Visit Parliament

Visiting Parliament is an awe-inspiring experience. Stepping inside the historic halls where laws are made and debates shape the nation’s future is truly captivating. The iconic architecture, from the grand Westminster Hall to the intricately decorated chambers, immerses visitors in centuries of political history. Get insight into the workings of democracy, showcasing the House of Commons and the House of Lords. You can also attend debates, observing politicians in action!

UK residents can request a free ‘Inside UK Parliament’ guided tour by contacting your Member of Parliament (MP) or a member of the House of Lords.

Join UK Youth Parliament or the Youth Select Committee

You could also become a member of the UK Youth Parliament, which is for young people aged 11-18 who aim to create social change through meaningful representation and campaigning. It’s a fantastic platform to find your voice, develop leadership skills, and connect with other passionate young people.

The Youth Select Committee (YSC) is a British Youth Council initiative, supported by the House of Commons, which takes evidence in public and has its proceedings televised and recorded in Hansard. The 12 committee members are aged 14-18 and include Members of the UK Youth Parliament, Youth Councillors and representatives from each of the devolved nations. The YSC receives induction training and mentoring from parliamentary Clerks and British Youth Council staff.

Contact your local representatives and MP

If there are issues in your local area that you would like to address, you can get in touch with your local councillor by writing to them. There are also some council meetings that members of the public can attend.

You can also contact you MP about specific issues like health, benefits, education, employment and international conflicts. You can find out about their voting history and hear more about the decisions they are involved with by following them on social media. Local councillors and MPs hold surgeries where you can talk to them in person.

There are no age restrictions for contacting your local councillor or MP!

Respond to consultations

There are thousands of policy papers and consultations available for the public to read and respond to. These cover different issues that the government is exploring, often before a law is passed. For each issue, there is the opportunity to give a written response, usually via a survey. Members of the public can use the surveys to share their opinions and insights on specific issues. They can also give details about how proposed changes affect them and share the outcomes that they would like to see.

Start or sign a petition

If there’s something you want discussed in parliament or put into law, you can start a petition.
In England, you need 100,000 signatures on a petition for parliament to discuss it. If you start or sign a petition, don’t forget to share it widely with classmates and contacts across a range of social media platforms for maximum impact.

Attend an event or peaceful demonstration

Take some time to research matters that interest you and go to lawful events or demonstrations to find out more about them and connect with other like-minded citizens. Collective action can be powerful, and protests have long played a vital role in protecting human rights. There have been recent changes to protest laws, but your right to peaceful protest is protected by law. Ensure you’re clued up on the rules and rights of protest before you go, and bear in mind that there are rules around arranging protests.

Join an organisation or campaigning group

Politics doesn’t have to centre around getting and using political power, and it’s important to apply your political energy to the things that matter most to you. There are many local and national organisations working hard in specific areas – from protecting local wildlife to supporting vulnerable members of the community. You can get involved by joining them as a volunteer, member or trustee.

Join a political party

If you find that you agree with the views and policies of a political party, why not consider joining? You’ll have the opportunity to attend local meetings, take part in debates and contribute your ideas. Members of political parties play an important role in deciding the party’s agenda and helping to shape policies. Party members are also able to vote in leadership elections.

Run for office

This is a big one and for the over-18s only. If you are passionate about politics and want to devote more of your time to political change, why not run for a political position? You could start by getting involved in your local parish council if there is one, and then, the sky’s the limit!

People of all ages need to have a voice and be heard on matters that impact them. It’s easy to feel like you have limited power if you’re just one person in a large society, but every big thing begins with one small action – so who knows what you might create?

Capital City College Training Apprentices recognised for progression and impact at Savills Apprentice Awards 

CCCT Apprentices were celebrated for their hard work and success at the second annual awards event hosted by international real estate advisor Savills.

On 6 February, Capital City College Training (CCCT) Apprentices on the Level 3 Facilities Management Advanced Apprenticeship joined their peers, mentors and industry professionals at the Savills Apprenticeship Awards.

The event, which was held in the company’s Margaret Street office in Central London, celebrated the success of young talent across 10 award categories and took place during National Apprenticeship week. Two CCCT Apprentices took to the stage to receive awards.

Ivy Paris took home the Employer’s Choice Award, as well as receiving nominations for the Ambassador Award and the Rising Star Award. Ivy, who is a Level 3 Facilities Management Apprentice, said: “I was so shocked [to have won] and I feel extremely lucky. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my supportive team. I am super proud of how far I have come. Savills has brought me out of my shell and made me realise you need to step out of your comfort zone to succeed.”

The event gave Apprentices the chance to meet their peers and be recognised for their hard work. Ivy also said: “Being surrounded by other Apprentices from across the UK was amazing – I met so many new people and got to hear about everyone’s different experiences.” 

Chelsey Darmanin was the joint winner of the Making an Impact Award. The award celebrates those who have made a significant contribution to a project which has benefited the team, the division or the business as a whole.

Chelsey, who is also a Level 3 Facilities Management Apprentice said: “I would like to say a big thank you to CCCT alongside my tutor, Rodney Cottrell, who has supported me in every way possible with all my workshops, assessments and my portfolio on Smart Assessor whilst on the course which I am still undertaking currently.”

Another CCCT Apprentice, Jared O’Toole, also received a nomination for the Rising Star Award in recognition of his career progress and leadership potential.

There are many benefits to doing an apprenticeship, and CCCT offers a wide range of options for those looking to receive excellent on-the-job training across a range of professions. 

CCCT Apprentice Chelsey Darmanin said: “I highly recommend taking on an apprenticeship, where you experience both the college training/learning and the day-to-day activities you would possibly have responsibility for.”

Does the idea of an apprenticeship appeal to you? Why not find out what you can gain from doing an apprenticeship or learn more about a real apprentice’s experience, before taking a look at the wide range of apprenticeship subjects on offer.

Congratulations to the CCCT Apprentices for their nominations and awards!

How to become a Plumber in the UK

Discover the steps to become a skilled plumber – from training options to essential skills and start your journey in this dynamic trade.

When your boiler is on the blink or your sink has a blockage that won’t shift, there’s no one more valuable to you than a good plumber. Once the unsung heroes of modern life (and a certain computer game), plumbers are often the most sought-after people in our list of contacts, with the ability to keep homes and businesses running smoothly.

Becoming a plumber in the UK is a rewarding and practical career path, and there are a variety of plumbing courses to help you get there. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about how to become a plumber, from qualifications to a typical plumber salary.

Are plumbers in demand in the UK?

According to the UK Trade Skills Index 2023, there is a significant skills gap across the construction sector, and over 70,000 new plumbing recruits are needed by 2032 in order to meet industry needs.

Plumbers are in high demand in all parts of the UK, and many cities are facing a shortage of skilled plumbing professionals. When faced with domestic emergencies, homeowners and residents often struggle to find a qualified tradesperson, making plumbing an even more vital skill in today’s fast-moving world.

What does a plumber do?

There’s more to being a plumber than you might think. Plumbers are responsible for a wide range of important tasks, such as:

  • Assessing potential client work and taking measurements to plan costs and time estimates
  • Installing and repairing systems for water, heating and drainage
  • Cutting, shaping and joining pipes and fittings
  • Servicing gas and oil-fired central heating systems and radiators
  • Responding to emergency call-outs to deal with anything from broken boilers to blocked drains
  • Fitting weather-proof materials to roofs, chimneys and walls
  • Diagnosing and resolving faults

Some of the core skills and attributes needed to work within the plumbing trade are:

  • A good knowledge of building, construction and some maths
  • Manual dexterity and the ability to repair and maintain tools and machines
  • Attention to detail and a sense of initiative
  • The ability to implement and follow safety precautions and regulations
  • The ability to communicate and work well with others
  • Good physical health
  • Good customer service skills

It’s also important that plumbers are able to keep learning on the job and absorb new information about safety regulations and changes to industry codes.

How much does a plumber earn?

The average plumber’s salary varies depending on geographical area and skill. The average salary for a plumber in the UK is around £34,000 per year. Starter salaries for trainee plumbers are around £21,000 with more experienced professionals commanding a salary of around £40,000. Some self-employed plumbers can earn as much as £60,000.

What qualifications do you need to become a plumber?

In the UK, there isn’t a national licensing system for plumbers. However, employers and commercial clients will often look for plumbers who are members of professional bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) or  The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE). It’s also a legal requirement for anyone carrying out gas work to be on the Gas Safe Register.

You can train to be a plumber by completing vocational courses or through an apprenticeship.

Vocational Courses

To pursue a career as a plumber you’ll need to complete specialist vocational training. A good place to start is a college course such as the plumbing courses offered by Capital City College Group (CCCG). Many of our courses are offered by the Enfield Construction Skills Academy, which aims to help Londoners get jobs in the construction industry.

Introductory courses offer insight into heating systems and water supplies, with valuable input regarding the use of the correct tools and materials as well as important health and safety advice.

The Level 1 diploma leads to City and Guilds qualifications, covering essential practical skills and knowledge needed to start working as a plumber.  Training includes the installation, repair and maintenance of plumbing systems and there is also a focus on drainage, pipework, plumbing science and environmental sustainability measures in domestic dwellings.

Level 2 courses also lead to a City and Guilds qualification and allow you to build on your knowledge of plumbing and domestic heating while gaining more advanced practical skills. Topics covered include safety in plumbing, plumbing principles, hot and cold water, central heating systems, simple electrical systems, sanitation systems and environmental awareness.

Level 3 courses deliver a high level of occupational skills and take you closer towards becoming a competent plumber. Students may cover a range of areas such as working safely and effectively, principles of environmental technology systems, hot/cold water system planning and design and domestic central heating systems planning and design. Colleges often work closely with local employers who contribute to the delivery of training, provide demonstrations and industry talks and provide work placements.


Apprenticeship training gives you the chance to work and receive a salary while you study. They also provide a great blend of practical and theoretical training, with the opportunity to put your skills into practice from day one.

During an apprenticeship, you’ll work around 30 hours per week, with 20% of your hours set aside for study and training. Apprenticeships vary from one provider to another, but CCCG’s Plumbing and Domestic Heating Technician – Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship takes two years to complete and is assessed through a combination of coursework and practical assessments. It sets you up for a career in plumbing with the opportunity to acquire the all-important Gas Safe licence and become registered with CIPHE or CIBSE on completing the course.

How long does it take to become a plumber?

Initial training like CCCG’s free introductory plumbing course can be completed part-time in as little as six to eight weeks. As you progress through each level of training, the time it takes to complete each stage can depend on your work and personal commitments. Full-time courses allow you to qualify more quickly but part-time study means that you can continue to work and earn a salary while you upskill.

Apprenticeships can take two to four years, depending on the type and structure of the course.

Can I be a plumber without an NVQ?

In a word, yes. You can complete an accredited fast-track plumbing course and then find a role as a plumber’s assistant. Fast-track courses usually last between eight and ten weeks and allow you to find a role as a plumber’s assistant, where you’ll be able to learn from an experienced professional and ask them for advice as you progress in your work.

The downside to these short courses is that, while they cover the main components needed to get started, they don’t give you the in-depth training and practical skills that employers may be looking for.

There’s no official plumbing certificate required to call yourself a plumber. However, to become registered with certain organisations and join the Gas Safe Register, you do need to be able to demonstrate your knowledge and skills. The best way to do this is through accredited City and Guild courses or an apprenticeship.

How much does a plumbing course cost?

Many of CCCG’s level 1, 2 and 3 plumbing courses are free to both school leavers and adult learners, depending on their circumstances.

Level 2 City and Guilds courses for experienced plumbers can cost around £1,500. Courses for those with little or no experience are often priced around £3,200 – but again, this all depends on the course provider. If you’re lucky enough to find an apprenticeship, you won’t usually pay to complete your training.

Career progression

Once qualified, plumbers can work for themselves and be self-employed, or they can work as part of a team within a plumbing services company. There are also opportunities for site-specific plumbing roles which offer permanent employment within a company or organisation e.g. a university or a larger company.

After gaining some experience, there are other careers available such as:

  • Domestic Gas Heating Installer: Someone with plumbing and electrical skills who installs gas heating systems in households
  • Oil-fired Technician: Someone who maintains and repairs oil-fired heating systems
  • Heat Pump Engineer: Someone who installs, services and repairs systems providing low-carbon heating and hot water
  • Master Plumber: An experienced plumber who has passed the journeyman plumbing licensure exams and may specialise in one area of plumbing e.g. general plumbing, pipefitting, steamfitting, pipelaying, sprinkler fitting
  • Building Services Engineer: Someone who uses specialist software to create building plans and design and install controls for heating, ventilation and lighting systems
  • Teaching Trainee Plumbers: In a college or training centre

Next steps

A career in plumbing is about more than fixing leaks and unclogging pipes, it’s about providing essential services that improve people’s lives. It comes with certain perks that make it an attractive career:

  • Job security: Plumbers are always in demand, with the industry facing a skills shortage
  • A good salary: Experienced plumbers can earn a very competitive salary
  • Variety and challenge: Every day brings new challenges and keeps the job interesting
  • Making a difference: You’ll directly impact people’s comfort and well-being, knowing your work makes a real difference

For many of CCCG’s former students, completing the training to become a plumber has helped them realise their dreams and begin a career that brings them a sense of pride.

If being a plumber appeals to you, then why not take a look at the wide variety of construction and plumbing courses that CCCG has on offer?

Veterinary Nursing students celebrate course completion with a trip to London Zoo

A group of Veterinary Nursing students visited London Zoo to learn about career opportunities and gain insight into the organisation’s conservation work.

To celebrate reaching the end of their two-and-a-half year course, a group of Level 3 Diploma Veterinary Nursing students visited London Zoo. The trip, which took place on 6 February, was organised by the Veterinary Nursing department and aimed to expand students’ view of the opportunities available for Registered Veterinary Nurses.

The group is the first cohort of students to complete the Level 3 Diploma Veterinary Nursing course under the new awarding body LANTRA, which is one of the leading awarding bodies for land-based industries in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. 

During the visit, the group of nine students had the chance to meet London Zoo staff and discuss their roles. They were also given a special tour of the Veterinary department and were able to spend time with the Head Veterinary Surgeon, who told them about the veterinary work carried out at the zoo and described the zoo’s involvement in conservation projects around the world.

The students enjoyed hearing from both Veterinary Surgeons and Veterinary Nurses about their work and were able to discuss job roles and career progression. The visit has also inspired some of the students to consider a career working in a zoo environment or with exotic species.

Congratulations to the Level 3 Diploma Veterinary Nursing students on completing your course!

At CCCG, we offer a range of Animal Care and Veterinary Nursing courses and Apprenticeship training for learners of all levels.

Creative teaching at CONEL – working with LEGO to provide a pivotal introduction to robotics

Teachers at CONEL think outside the box to provide a practical robotics session for Level 3 Access to Higher Education Students

This term, students on the Digital Technologies and Computer Science – Level 3 Access to Higher Education Diploma at The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) have been exploring the world of robotics. To help them prepare for an upcoming assignment, teachers set up an engaging and interactive robotics session using LEGO to sharpen students’ problem-solving and critical thinking abilities.

The group of 13 students were set a challenge of building a variety of projects using LEGO robotics kids, which involved working with motion, sensors and sounds. The hands-on session allowed them to become better acquainted with basic robotics concepts and fostered a practical understanding of mechanical design and programming.

Emine Uysal, one of the Digital Technologies and Computer Science students, said: “It was an engaging and enjoyable way to introduce us to a topic we have not gone over before.” Another student, Shayan Joyevni said: “It was a fun experience to get an idea of what we are going to do in coming weeks.”

The students used Scratch programming language, which provides a visual programming environment offering accessibility and ease of use. During the exercise, students were able to code and control the movements of their LEGO robots by applying their theoretical knowledge.

This engaging and creative session incorporated a combination of mechanics and programming competencies. In addition to building the project, students also had to program the robots to detect obstacles and prevent collisions using motors and sensors.

The students’ reaction to the session was incredibly positive. Paule Sandrine Massacdo Simo said: “I enjoyed the session because the focus was on problem-solving. This involved following instructions whilst paying attention to details to get the appropriate result.”

The session encouraged students to draw on and develop a wide range of skills such as:

  • Engineering and mechanical design
  • Programming and computational thinking
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Adaptability and learning from failure
  • Attention to detail

“It was an engaging and enjoyable way to introduce us to a topic we have not gone over before.”

We offer a wide range of Access to Higher Education Diplomas, covering everything from Applied Science to Policing. These Level 3 qualifications can prepare students without A Levels for university study, and offer a widely accepted and well-established pathway to higher education courses.

01Founders wins Positive Impact Award in SME London Business Awards 2024 

01Founders has been recognised by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry with a Positive Impact Award at the SME London Business Awards 2024.

01Founders, the innovative coding school founded by Capital City College Group (CCCG), 01Edu and Founders Forum’s Brent Hobermann, has taken home the Positive Impact Award at the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (LCCI) SME London Business Awards 2024.

The prestigious SME London Business Awards 2024, which took place on 8 February at the Park Plaza London Riverbank Hotel, celebrated enterprises that have shown great levels of innovation, initiative and positive impact. The awards, which are divided into 22 categories, welcomed entries from the best small or medium-sized enterprises across the capital. 

CCCG and 01Founders have been working together since 2021 to enable a diverse range of people to access tech opportunities. The award recognises their strong commitment to welcoming learners from Westminster and surrounding areas regardless of age, background, education or culture.

With its focus on creativity and collaboration, the central ethos at 01Founders is peer-to-peer, team-based, gamified learning that equips students with an array of coding languages and problem-solving skills. On completing their courses, students emerge ready to work as software developers, enriching London’s businesses with a skilled workforce and addressing industry needs. In fact, 28% of 01Founders students (of which around half are female) have successfully secured positions within the tech industry.

Jackie Chapman, CEO of 01Founders, said: “For the past two and half years, we have worked tirelessly to bring this innovative coding provision to local communities and find untapped talent. 

We have supported a wide range of individuals from different backgrounds, cultures and abilities. Every day I see the positive impact we have on individuals, increasing their confidence, their abilities and their career prospects – so I am delighted that this work has been recognised by LCCI. I hope this award will raise further awareness of what we do and encourage more future talent through our doors.” 

Congratulations to everyone at 01Founders on winning the Positive Impact Award! 

If you’re interested in a career within the tech industry, take a look at the array of free, accessible learning options that 01Founders offers. 

Interview with an Apprentice: Helen Dixon

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week (5-11 February), we caught up with a former CCCG Apprentice to find out about her motivation, experience and outcomes.

If you’re considering an apprenticeship, you may well be wondering what the life of an Apprentice is really like. We interviewed Helen Dixon, who recently completed the Facilities Management Level 4 Apprenticeship, which includes a Level 4 Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM) qualification.

Facilities Management (often known as FM) is a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure that a built environment functions correctly – through the integration of people, place, process and technology. Facilities Management includes diverse disciplines such as:

  • Health and Safety
  • Fire Safety
  • Security
  • Maintenance
  • Cleaning
  • Grounds Maintenance
  • Caretaking
  • Property Management
  • Business Continuity
  • Space Allocation
  • Change Management

Helen worked in various roles in Facilities Management for around 20 years before deciding to do an apprenticeship with Capital City College Group (CCCG). At the time, she was working for CBRE, a global leader in commercial real estate services and investment, as an Area Facilities Manager for North Wales. She completed her apprenticeship remotely between June 2021 and July 2023.

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

Helen: It was something that had been in the back of my mind to do. I was just waiting for the right opportunity to come along and this seemed like a good option – a good way of formalising all the knowledge and work that I’d accumulated in my previous FM roles.

How long was your apprenticeship?

Helen: The apprenticeship training was originally 14 months long but it took me just over 2 years due to a family bereavement. They were very good at being understanding and letting me have the extra time I needed.

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship over another type of course?

Helen: I chose it because I could do it through work and it allowed me eight hours a week to devote to coursework and reading – limiting the amount of my own free time I had to spend on it. The government covered the course fees which was also a bonus. I’m much older than most people would envision an Apprentice – when you think of an Apprentice you think of someone who’s just left school and is just starting out on the road to work. 

How was the apprenticeship training structured?

Helen: We’d have a monthly lecture or workshop with our tutor, Rod, where we’d cover a certain topic. Then he’d send out slides and we’d get an assignment. You usually have about six weeks to two months to complete the assignment.

How often did you get to speak with your tutor?

Helen: I’d have a fortnightly one-to-one meeting with Rod to discuss progress or any issues. He could see how I was getting on and see if I needed any help. We also had a quarterly meeting with my manager so they could be kept informed about how I was doing and see that the time off I was given to do the training was worthwhile.

What did you like about your apprenticeship?

Helen: It was a really good way to meet other people working in similar roles. Although we all had very similar job titles our roles were very different – some people worked for local councils, some people worked for really massive organisations and some people worked for really small organisations. It was good to compare and contrast what other people were doing and how they approached different problems.

Why did you choose this apprenticeship in particular?

Helen: It was always something I was keen on doing. For me, it was about trying to take the next step up the ladder. It was also about formalising what I’d learnt in the past 15 to 20 years. The IWFM diploma, particularly Level 4, is a really good qualification to have in the FM world. It’s one you can build on as well so there’s always the opportunity to go back and get Level 5 or Level 6.

What are you doing now?

Helen: In September last year, I noticed a job advertised in my local area, which is rare. I applied, not really thinking that it would go much further because it was quite a big step up for me. I ended up getting the job and now I work at Kimberly Clarke. Whereas before, I was just in charge of a team of engineers, I now have a catering team, an engineering team and a cleaning team to manage. I’d like to think that the IWFM qualification contributed to that.

What would you say to anyone thinking about doing an apprenticeship? 

Helen: I think it’s a great opportunity to learn while you’re still working. If your job is willing to let you take those eight hours a week to put towards your reading and your coursework, I’d say it’s definitely a worthwhile thing to do. Once you’ve completed it and got your final diploma or certificate, I think it gives you an edge when it comes to applying for roles or promotions.

What advice would you give to anyone who is about to embark upon an apprenticeship?

Helen: Speaking from experience, I’d definitely say, stay on top of your coursework, because it can be very hard to catch up. Sometimes you’ve got two months to write 4000 words, but if you’ve got a lot going on at home or sometimes after a long working week you don’t feel like sitting down and writing an essay, that time can dwindle away quite easily.

What were the challenges of doing the apprenticeship?

Helen: The main challenge was staying on top of coursework. Although I used the apprenticeship to cement the knowledge that I already had, there were aspects of it where I had very limited knowledge, for example, FM budgets. So it was a case of going out and finding out that information, whether it was talking to someone in the finance department in my organisation or someone else on the apprenticeship training who dealt a bit more with that side of things. There were still things that I didn’t know and I could learn from the training.

Did you enjoy it?

Helen: I did enjoy it, I really did. It can be a bit daunting sometimes. I hadn’t sat down and written an essay since I was at university, so a good 15 to 20 years before starting the training. I felt a bit out of my depth at first, remembering how to do Harvard referencing and that kind of thing, but after a couple of essays, you get back into it.

Your apprenticeship was conducted remotely. Was there a sense of community within your cohort?

Helen: I think so. We had our sessions with Rod, where we’d sometimes break out into groups. We also met up for sessions outside of that if we wanted to share knowledge. It was useful to get a wide range of ideas and speak to others to find out how they’d approach things.

Everyone was approachable enough so that you could contact them or email them if you were a bit stuck with something they were particularly good at. Sometimes, Rod would put you in touch with someone within the apprenticeship training who knew more about a subject so that you could have a chat or share information with them. 

What’s next for you?

Helen: I started this role about three months ago so, at the moment, I see my future here. I’d like to spend a bit of time here and get to know this site and how to make it effective. I was surprised by how quickly it all happened and I’m glad I made the move – it makes me feel like all of the hard work was worthwhile. I’d like to think that in the future I’ll pursue the next level of the IWFM diploma Level 5 or Level 6.

Helen’s apprenticeship experience helped her consolidate what she knew and led her to the next step in her career. Our apprenticeships are for learners from all backgrounds and at any stage in their careers. 

If you’re interested in earning while you learn, and gaining new skills and knowledge while progressing within your organisation or career path, why not apply for apprenticeship training?

Apprenticeships take centre stage at 01Founders and Westminster Business Council networking event

Students took center stage at the “The Future is Apprenticeships” event, hosted by 01Founders in collaboration with Westminster Business Council and Capital City College Group (CCCG).

Held on the 6th of February at WestKing’s Regent’s Park Centre, home of 01Founders, the event provided a platform for employers and students to highlight the benefits of apprenticeships to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week.

Rupert Cheetham, a student attendee, explained how securing an apprenticeship with Viabio was a turning point in his career and a dream come true. Rupert credits 01 Founders for connecting him with Viabio, a pioneering company utilizing AI in bio-printing, and transforming his educational experience from passive learning to active engagement with real-world innovators.

Similarly, Matthew Hope found his niche at 01Founders after realizing that the structured environment of traditional university education wasn’t conducive to his creativity. Embracing the flexibility and autonomy offered by 01Founders, Matthew discovered a newfound passion for learning and innovation, setting the stage for a promising apprenticeship journey.

Rupert and Matthew’s stories echo the sentiments of many students in attendance, who found inspiration and opportunity during the event.

Michael Akimov, from EI Consulting (UK), said: “We’re here at 01Founders today to find bright, new talent. We have hired apprentices from the 01Founders talent pool in the past who have excelled. For example, Nikoy, who joined our start-up in robotics. He initially started in a junior role but immediately progressed to management. Apprentices are fundamental to innovation.”

Jackie Chapman, CEO of 01Founders and Executive Director of Growth and Partnerships at Capital City College Training (CCCT), opened the event, which included a series of guest speakers.

Cali Ibrahim, Social and Economic Investment Manager at Notting Hill Genesis and Ambassador for the London Apprenticeship Ambassador Network, underscored the value of apprenticeships and showcased collaborative efforts between 01Founders, Notting Hill Genesis, and pop-up academies in advancing digital skills within local communities.

Stav Aristokle Hill, People Manager at Berkeley Group and Ambassador for the London Apprenticeship Ambassador Network elaborated on the benefits of apprenticeships to employers in the construction industry, emphasising enhanced skills and productivity alongside long-term strategic advantages.

Ajay Purbhoosing, Senior Account Manager at Workwhile, shared insights into free apprenticeship support for SMEs and provided crucial information on accessing fully funded apprenticeships.

The guest speaker sessions culminated in a panel Q&A session where attendees engaged in discussions, followed by a productive networking session to connect students with employers.

01Founders specialises in coding-related apprenticeships and Level 4 courses in Software Engineering and Data Analysis. If you’re an employer looking to recruit from a diverse talent pool. Click here to find out more.

Capital City College Training, part of Capital City College Group, also has a range of different apprenticeship schemes to support a wide range of industries.

What can you gain from doing an apprenticeship?

We caught up with a former CCCG Apprentice to find out about how her apprenticeship enhanced different aspects of her life.

There are many on-paper benefits to doing an apprenticeship: no student debt, practical training, good qualifications, networking opportunities and so on. But what does an Apprentice really gain off-the-page?

We interviewed former apprentice Libby Ellis to find out about what she felt she’d gained from doing an apprenticeship with Capital City College Group (CCCG).

Libby has worked at Surrey Council for the last 16 years, working her way up in various Facilities Management (FM) roles. She recently completed the Facilities Management Level 4 Apprenticeship, which includes the Level 4 Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM) qualification.

Trying something new

Libby: My colleague Tara, who had previously completed an apprenticeship in Business Management, saw this one and she said I had to do it and that she was going to do it too. She encouraged me, having one apprenticeship under her belt, that this was a good thing for me to do, and that we’d do it together. 

Learning about a different side of the industry

Libby: I thought it was time to brush up on the skills that I’ve learned on the job and to get a better understanding of the overall picture of FM. 

Working for the county council, I see FM in a different way to those in private industry. We’re not making money, we’re supporting our colleagues so that they can do their job. So it was quite interesting for me to see the business side of FM. The experience I had before was limited to what I had seen in the council, so now I can see the bigger picture of FM and it just gave me wider knowledge. 

Gaining a recognised certification

Libby: I had the experience and I didn’t have anything official to show for it, so I like the fact that at the end of it, you get certified. You can demonstrate that this is the standard that you have now met and this is the standard that you’ve been educated to. 

Developing an expanded view of the field

Libby: Doing the apprenticeship opened my eyes up to a much bigger world of facilities management and the opportunities that were out there – such as different roles that some of the other cohorts were doing and some of the technology that other people had access to that I didn’t. It was a steep learning curve to begin with.

Receiving support from colleagues

Libby: To do an apprenticeship, you have to have an organization and a manager who is going to support you. You’re going to need the time to attend all the training sessions and do the assignments. At the time, my line manager said, “If it’s in your diary Lib, as long as I know what you’re doing, I’m happy.”

At one point I met with the energy team. I had an hour of their time where they walked me through energy management. If they hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have been able to answer all the questions in the assignment to the best of my knowledge and that would have affected my overall grade and understanding of what was going on. They linked me to a couple of websites which I subscribed to and I now get energy newsletters. 

Gaining a wider range of resources

Libby: I was learning outside of the apprenticeship training, attending webinars and things like that just to expand my knowledge. It opened my eyes to a world of different parts of FM,  different ways to access information and where to subscribe to channels and TED Talks – things that I’d never considered before.

Accessing education through remote learning

Libby: I work full time and I’m a mum – there aren’t enough hours in the day to attend college as well. Because the apprenticeship training was completely remote, I never actually went into the college. If I’d had to have driven or got a train to a college, with that extra time that it puts into the day, it certainly wouldn’t have been possible to do that for two years.

I could be in the office working, have my two-hour tutorial, and then carry on working. That flexibility really helped.

Building a new approach to learning

Libby: I built learning into my routine. When I took my son on a Saturday morning to his morning activity, because of COVID we weren’t allowed into the sports hall. We all had to sit in our cars, so I just made sure that I had a cup of tea and a relevant TED Talk lined up to watch while he was doing his activity. 

Joining more communities

Libby: I signed up to do loads more training with work and joined communities like the women’s network, the disability network, the carer’s network and the parent network because they have webinars and seminars to go to as well.

Surrey Council partnered with a charity working for period dignity. That was another webinar I joined because it was going to affect how we manage things within facilities management, such as where we put the PHS bins, access to period products and even the language you use around that sort of thing.

Growing in confidence

There are all sorts of things that I just wouldn’t have had my eyes open to if I wasn’t doing the apprenticeship. I just felt like I could put myself forward for more things because it was going to help me learn and develop. I think it gave me a lot more confidence, which I wasn’t really expecting as an outcome. I expected to learn. I didn’t expect it to give me more confidence.

Using the apprenticeship to land a new role

Libby: I applied for a new role as a Business Improvement Manager. I used all the knowledge that I’d gained through doing the apprenticeship in my interview. I demonstrated the things that I knew were needed like the contract management elements of the apprenticeship. Although I hadn’t done it, I theoretically could explain it and apply it to a scenario. I used the things that I learned through doing the apprenticeship in my interview and was successful. I’ve been in my new role since July.

Catching the learning bug

Libby: In the immediate future, I’m going to do the NEC4 Contract Management training because that’s going to be a large part of my job. I did have a little peruse on the apprenticeship website to see if there was anything on there and there are a couple of Business Improvement apprenticeships that I quite like the look of. I think I need a bit more time to get into this role to work out what I really need, but another apprenticeship is definitely a consideration to make. 

“I expected to learn. I didn’t expect it to give me more confidence.”

Whether you’re drawn to Accounting and Bookkeeping, Health and Social Care, Catering and Hospitality or Construction and Plumbing – take a look at our apprenticeships and see if there is training that can help you fulfil your potential!

Top 10 reasons to do an apprenticeship in the UK

If you’re nearing the end of one set of studies and are looking ahead to your next step, choosing between the various pathways can be daunting. You may be asking yourself: ‘Which pathway suits me best?’, ‘Am I ready to start work?’, ‘Should I consider an apprenticeship?

For some, further study at college or university is the perfect place to further academic knowledge and gain new skills. They allow you to delve into theory and study subjects in great depth. However, apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason; they provide a unique blend of practical experience, a nationally-recognised qualifications, and a steady wage.

In recognition of National Apprenticeship Week (5-11 February), this article explores the top 10 reasons why doing an apprenticeship in the UK could be your ticket to a successful and fulfilling career.

1. Choose from a wide range of opportunities

If you’re under the impression that apprenticeships are only for those learning a trade, think again. There are over 800 apprenticeships on offer across the UK, ranging from intermediate through to degree level, in a wide range of indrustries, from Accounting and Bookkeeping apprenticeships to Digital Media and VFX apprenticeships. Whatever you’re passionate about, there’s a strong chance that someone somewhere offers an apprenticeship that will nurture your talent. Capital City College Group (CCCG) offers one of the largest ranges of apprenticeship training across London.

2. Apprenticeships are flexible and accessible 

Apprenticeships are designed with people of all ages and backgrounds in mind. Whether you’re aged 16-18, an adult exploring a career change or to upskill, there’s an apprenticeship programme that will meet your needs and reflect your ambitions. Many apprenticeships include part-time options, making them ideal for those with other commitments.

3. Earn while you learn (and avoid debt)

While university students have to grapple with student loans and part-time jobs in addition to their studies, apprentices benefit from paid positions. This means you can gain valuable work experience and earn a salary from day one. 

Apprenticeships are usually fully funded by the government and your employer. This means you can gain valuable qualifications and experience without accumulating student debt, leaving you financially independent and ready to invest in your future.

4. Gain in-demand skills

An apprenticeship can give you a competitive edge in the job market, with employers seeking candidates who have industry experience can hit the ground running. Apprenticeships bridge the gap between theory and practice, and you’ll learn the specific skills and knowledge needed for your chosen field through on-the-job training and structured off-the-job learning.

Beyond technical skills, apprenticeships equip you with essential soft skills like communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and time management – all of which strengthen your CV. These transferable skills are valuable across most industries and career paths, making you a well-rounded professional who can adapt to the ever-changing job market.

5. Learn from real industry experts

Apprenticeships are designed to equip you with the skills employers are looking for. While working within your chosen field, you’ll have the opportunity to observe other professionals at work. 

Your off-the-job training will be delivered by subject experts and often include lessons and lectures as well as practical elements such as shadowing, mentoring, industry visits or talks, and a variety of assignments.

6. Benefit from guidance and support

Both your employer and your college tutors will be heavily invested in your progress and success, and you’ll benefit from comprehensive training, consistent support, and a mentor. You’ll have two teams cheering you on while you’re doing apprenticeship training – your colleagues and your classmates. Whether you’re swapping notes with a classmate or learning a complex practical technique from a colleague, the sense of community you’ll get both at work and at your place of study will often carry you through the more challenging aspects of your apprenticeship.

7. Get valuable qualifications

Apprenticeships lead to nationally-recognised qualifications that you can take with you wherever you go, from NVQs and diplomas to higher-level degrees. These qualifications are industry-specific and valued by employers, demonstrating your competence and commitment to your chosen field.

8. Embrace continuous learning 

Apprenticeships are designed for continuous learning and career progression. Many employers offer additional training and development opportunities throughout your apprenticeship and beyond, ensuring you stay updated with the latest industry trends and keep your skills sharp.

It’s also possible to do multiple apprenticeships over your working lifetime or move on to other courses throughout your career, meaning that you don’t need to take a career break to expand on what you know.

9. Build your network 

When doing an apprenticeship, your workplace becomes both your classroom and your contact hub. You’ll be interacting with experienced professionals, mentors, and colleagues, showcasing your skills and building valuable connections that can open doors to future opportunities. These networks can become a source of career support and guidance and can lead to job opportunities throughout your career.

10. Do something rewarding

Doing an apprenticeship can unlock your pathway into a career that is meaningful, and fulfilling and allows you to reach your full potential. After completing their training, over 90% of apprentices go into employment or on to further study. The financial security on offer is not to be overlooked, with many apprentices going into well-paid positions soon after completing their studies and without carrying university fees loans.

Choosing an apprenticeship is an investment in your future. It’s a pathway to gaining valuable skills, qualifications, and experience while simultaneously avoiding student debt. With multiple opportunities available across diverse industries, you can choose a programme that aligns with your interests and ambitions.

So, what are you waiting for? At CCCG, we can help you explore the exciting world of apprenticeships and take the first step towards a bright and rewarding future!

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