Students show flair for architecture in Design in Practice project

Students from City and Islington College (CANDI) showed off their talent for building design when they took part in a project with professional architects.

The Design in Practice career programme was run by the college in partnership with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and architectural and interior design firm Hollaway Studio.

Students across the curriculum took part in the 10-week project, which introduced them to architecture, what it is like working in the sector and what they need to do to become an architect.

This included looking at design-related subjects at university, careers linked to those subjects along with advice on what to include in portfolios and how to prepare for university and job interviews.

During the project, students were tasked with designing a six square metre room where they could relax and enjoy their hobbies such as cooking, reading, gardening, gaming and watching films.

Each week the students were set different design challenges including learning how to draw in plan, section and elevation, understanding and drawing to scale, learning about sustainable design, model making and presenting designs.

The project culminated with the students sharing their final designs with each other and professional architects at Hollaway Studio’s offices in Camden.

A Level student Mariana Boycheva, 17, said: “The project was really useful because I want to study architecture in the future.

“For the task we had to design a room and make sure it was to specific measurements and made of sustainable materials. I created a room for reading and an area to chill out. I couldn’t fit everything into the space, so I added a second floor.

“We also asked the architects questions about what we needed to do to study architecture at university, how to get into the industry and learnt about the different roles we might want to do in the future. It was really inspiring hearing about their personal journeys and experience.”

CANDI runs various projects with RIBA to introduce students to architectural design. In 2021, a group of A Level and Engineering diploma students took part in a town planning workshop

On the latest project, Sophie Draper, Learning Manager at RIBA, said: “We were all really impressed by the students’ standard of work and the designs and models they created.

“The research, drawings and models the students produced really were of an exceptional standard, especially considering that none of the students had previously studied architecture. They created some really exciting, beautiful, unique and workable designs.

“The project has been a fantastic collaboration and one which we are looking to participate in again. We hope the students enjoyed it as much as we did.”

Find out more and apply about courses and apprenticeships at our colleges and apply here.

Former CANDI student Naomi Ackie nominated for BAFTA for starring role in Whitney Houston biopic

Former City and Islington College (CANDI) student Naomi Ackie has been nominated for a BAFTA for her starring role in Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

Picture courtesy of BAFTA.

Naomi, 31, who studied for her A Levels at CANDI from 2007-09, has won rave reviews for her portrayal of the pop sensation who burst on to the music scene in the 1980s and tragically died in February 2012 aged 48.

She is in the running for the BAFTA Rising Star Award alongside Sheila Atim (The Woman King), Daryl McCormack (Good Luck to You, Leo Grande), Aimee Lou Wood (Living) and Emma Mackey (Emily).

On her nomination, Naomi said: “I’ve followed and been inspired by the BAFTA Film Awards for so many years, so to be recognised amongst this incredible group of artists is huge!

“This nod from the Rising Star jury, and to be recognised for my work in the country that I’ve grown up in, is also a nod of encouragement, to continue to create stories that speak to people. What a beautiful experience to be a part of.”

Naomi Ackie and friend celebrate their AS Level results at CANDI in 2008. Picture courtesy of Islington Tribune.

Before her lead role in the biopic directed by Kasi Lemmons, Naomi appeared as in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019), the final film in the sequel trilogy of the epic saga.

Naomi does not sing all the songs in the film, but she does show off her vocal talents in scenes where Whitney is singing alongside her mother and when she is choosing a new single.

Critics have praised her portrayal of the music icon whose biggest hits include I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Greatest Love Of All, How Will I Know, One Moment in Time  and I Will Always Love You.

Empire magazine’s Kelechi Ehenulo wrote: “As the legendary star, Naomi Ackie delivers a commanding performance, channelling every iota of Houston’s mannerisms and magnetism … Ackie’s uncanny embodiment reminds you of Houston’s soul-stirring power.”

The Evening Standard’s Charlotte O’Sullivan referred to Naomi’s “blistering on-screen presence,” adding she is at her absolute best in scenes with Clarke Peters who plays Whitney’s father John.

She further described her performance alongside Danielle Singleton, who plays Bobbi Kristina, the daughter Houston the singer had with her husband Bobby Brown as “electrifyingly raw.”

Now in its 18th year, the BAFTA Rising Star Award recognises up-and-coming acting talent and is the only award at the BAFTAs voted for by the British public. Past winners include James McAvoy, Tom Holland, John Boyega, Shia LaBeouf, Kristen Stewart and Tom Hardy.

Nana Brew, Curriculum Leader for Performing and Visual Arts, said: “Naomi studied for her A Levels at CANDI before I joined the college, but her teachers who were here tell me she was a hard-working and incredibly talented student.

“Everyone at CANDI is hugely proud what she has achieved in her acting career and will be cheering her on to win the BAFTA.”

Naomi Ackie with broadcaster Edith Bowman and the other BAFTA Rising Star Award nominees. Picture courtesy of BAFTA.

Naomi was born in Camden and raised in Walthamstow. She took A Levels in Drama, English Literature and Textiles at CANDI, initially studying these subjects at AS Level, and later went on to study at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

She made her TV debut in Doctor Who and later appeared in Netflix comedy-drama The End of the F***ing World, for which she received a British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Her breakthrough film role was in Lady Macbeth (2016) for which she won the British Independent Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer. She subsequently appeared in Idris Elba’s directorial debut Yardie (2018).

TV and radio broadcaster Edith Bowman announced the BAFTA Rising Star Award nominees at The Savoy Hotel on 17 January. Voting is now open at ee.co.uk/BAFTA

The winner will be announced at the BAFTA Film Awards ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall, which will be aired on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, on 19 February.

Find out more about studying A Levels at CANDI and apply here.

New students discover more about college life at Freshers Fairs

Hundreds of newly enrolled students found out more about college life and the wealth of other support available to them at Freshers Fairs across Capital City College Group (CCCG).

City and Islington College (CANDI), Westminster Kingsway College (WestKing) and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) all hosted welcome events.

CANDI held a combined fair for students enrolled at its Sixth Form College and Centre for Applied Science along with fairs its Centre for Business, Art and Technology and Centre for Lifelong Learning.

A ‘Welcome Fest’ was held at the WestKing’s King’s Cross Centre and another fair took place at the college’s Soho Centre, and Michelin-star chef Michel Roux welcomed Hospitality and Culinary Arts students to the college’s Victoria Centre.

Among the organisations attending the CANDI and WestKing fairs this year were IMECE, Papyrus, Octopus Communities. Islington Youth Council, NHS, All Change, Lift, Step into Dance, Kooth, We Speak, Brook, Go-Forward Youth, Flint & Flame, The Caterer, Koppert Cress, Compass Group, Arts Emergency and the Craft Guild of Chefs.

CONEL’s Tottenham and Enfield Centres hosted fairs, which included stands from Let’s Talk IAPT, National Citizen Service, Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, Metropolitan Police, Proud North London, Pirate.com, Reed Wellbeing, ReachOut, The Rebel School, Pure Gym and Terrence Higgins Trust.

We want to enrich our students’ lives with more than just qualifications. Our aim is to help them develop a broad range of skills and qualities that employers look for, including communication, teamwork and problem-solving, as well as ensuring they have a great time at college.

Throughout the year our colleges run a range of enrichment and extracurricular activities to give students greater insight into their studies and future careers and to support their health and wellbeing, including trips, guest speakers, sports, clubs and societies.

Students can get to know their peers through a range of student-run activities including our Student Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Learner Voice, or college clubs and societies – from football and table tennis to debating and a poetry club.

Students can volunteer to become a Student Ambassador, study buddy or a peer mentor. These important roles help our students develop their confidence and interpersonal skills and look really good on a CV, job application or university application.

Our centres have on-site canteens and cafés, serving a daily menu that includes healthy options. Canteen meals are great value for money and are a good opportunity to relax with friends between lessons. All of our centres have libraries and some have on-site gyms, so you can keep your body fit as well as your mind.

Find out more about Student Life here.

CANDI students celebrate A Level success as grades greatly surpass pre-COVID results

Students at City and Islington College (CANDI) celebrated A Level success as the college saw the number of students achieving top grades significantly exceed results prior to the COVID pandemic.

CANDI Sixth Form College saw 71 per cent of students attain A* to C grades – an 18 per cent increase on 2018-19 – with many going to Russell Group universities including Oxford and Cambridge.

Among this year’s top performing students were Isobel Rout, Keefe Choong, Amy Lay and Mohammed Yusuf, who all achieved three straight A*s in their exams.

Isobel, 18, who gained three A*s in Biology, Psychology and History, is heading to Oxford University to study Experimental Psychology.

She said: “I’m really happy. I couldn’t have done any better. The exams were quite stressful as there was a lot of content covered. I had a few nerves this morning, but I’m so relieved it’s now over.

“My teachers at CANDI were really supportive and would go beyond what was asked of them to make sure you understood their subjects.

“I’m looking forward to university. I want to get into neuroscience. It’s a very fast-moving field with finding treatment and prevention for conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia.”

Keefe Choong and Amy Lay who both achieved three A*s in their A Levels.

Keefe, 18, secured a place at Warwick University to study Computer Science after gaining A*s in Maths, Further Maths and Computer Science.

He said: “I wasn’t too stressed this morning as I left the exams feeling confident because of all the preparation and past papers we did.

“Having a good relationship with your teachers is important and I had that at CANDI. The teachers were very helpful and easy to talk to. If I had any questions, I could go straight to them and they would explain it, especially in maths.”

“I’m happy all the hard work’s paid off and I can now enjoy my summer.”

Amy, 18, gained A*s in Photography, Textiles and Graphics, and is going to UAL: Central St Martins, to study a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

She said: “I wasn’t nervous. I thought whatever grades I get will be a reflection of how hard I worked, but I am amazed at my results. It’s been a really tricky year as my mum moved out and I was living with a flatmate, but I think that made me work harder.

“My family made a lot of sacrifices to allow me to stay in London, and that made putting studying first really easy and especially when it’s something you love.”

“My teachers were incredible. I have never known teachers who are as passionate as the teachers at CANDI. They will go out of their way for you. Even though they had a lot on and a hundred other students they always made time for you. I wouldn’t have done it without them.”

Students who studied vocational courses such as BTEC diplomas also celebrated their results with many of those taking Level 3 qualifications, equivalent to three A Levels, gaining distinctions.

CANDI has one of London’s largest choices of A Levels with more than 30 subjects available to study along with a wide range of vocational courses and apprenticeships.

Colleen Marshall, Vice Principal of CANDI, said: “Our students have shown admirable resilience in very challenging and unprecedented circumstances during the COVID crisis, to still achieve fantastic grades and gain places on degrees at some of the country’s best universities.

“I would like to say a big thank you to our teachers who have been resolute in ensuring the success of each and every student, and all our support staff who often go unmentioned but whose work is invaluable to the college.”

Kurt Hintz, Executive Principal of Capital City College Group, which includes CANDI, said: “I would like to congratulate all our A Level students on an excellent set of results this year.

“Their studies were hugely impacted by the COVID pandemic, and it is a tribute to their hard work and resilience that they have achieved the grades they deserve and are now set to progress on to the universities, employers and apprenticeships they planned for.

“I would also like to thank our teachers and support staff for their dedication and relentless support to students, in what has been the most challenging period to be a teacher in living memory.

“I wish all our students collecting their results today the very best for the future.”

Places are still available at CANDI this September. Find out more about our courses and apprenticeships here and enrol today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apply now for A Levels at WestKing.