CONEL’s Basketball and Netball Academies net place at Association of Colleges National Championships

Young sports stars at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) are celebrating after qualifying for the Association of Colleges Sport National Championships.

Teams from the college’s Basketball Academy and Netball Academy will represent the capital after winning in the regional finals at Redbridge Sports Centre in Ilford on 8 December.

The basketball team won all their opening round matches to reach the knockout stages and beat Newham College in the final, while the netball team beat all teams in their competition.

Both teams are now preparing for the national tournament at the University of Nottingham in April under the training and guidance of their coaches AJ Roberts and Yamini Bist.

CONEL’s Basketball Academy and Netball Academy, along with the Football Academy, Martial Arts Academy, Athletics Academy and Esports Academy are based at the college’s Enfield Centre.

The academies are open to all students aged 16-18 at the college and include professional coaching, personal fitness, physiotherapy, nutrition and tactical analysis.

Jonathan Silman, Head of School for Sport, Public Services and KS4, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for our Basketball and Netball Academies. The teams and their coaches have worked exceptionally hard and shown great commitment to develop and improve their skills and performance, which has resulted in them qualifying for the National Championships.

“Our Sports Academies at CONEL continue to go from strength to strength and I am hugely proud that the college will be representing London. The basketball and netball teams and their coaches should be proud of what they have accomplished in their sports, especially the team from the Netball Academy, which only started up at the college recently.

“The National Finals will be an even bigger challenge, but if they continue to apply themselves and show the same dedication then they will give themselves every chance of success.”

The AoC Sport National Championships has been running for more than 40 years and is one of the UK’s largest student sporting events with nearly 1,800 students taking part each year.

Ten regional tournaments are held across England and Wales during the autumn term with the top teams in 13 sports qualifying for the National Championships.

Students compete in boccia, badminton, basketball, cross-country running, football, disability football, hockey, indoor cricket, netball, rugby, table tennis, tennis and volleyball.

CONEL’s sports facilities include a floodlit 3G football pitch, grass pitches, sports centre with sports hall, fully equipped gym and changing rooms, which are also available for hire.

Find out more about CONEL’s Sports Academies here.

Students go green to become London winners of the first Planet Earth Games

Eco-friendly students at Westminster Kingsway College have been named the London regional winners of the first ever Planet Earth Games for colleges.

Planet Earth Games – Colleges, run in partnership with Association of Colleges (AoC) Sport, aims to promote sustainability and educate students on how their actions affect the environment.

Students from colleges across the UK were asked to complete five virtual sustainability challenges around veganism, litter picking, carbon reduction, slow fashion and hugging a tree.

They were asked to submit evidence of themselves undertaking the challenges on allocated days in January, with the most engaged college being awarded a trophy.

Engineering student Sinem Bozkurt, 17, said: “I’m really proud that we were regional winners for London. The students put in so much effort to complete every challenge and I think we deserved it.

“The challenges were really fun and enjoyable and had a good impact on us. It was nice seeing other students at college taking part because it showed they care about the environment.

“I’m very interested in environmental engineering because climate change is a worry and I really want to make a difference and make sure we prevent worse things from happening.

“The environment is something that everyone should be concerned with right now, it’s not really an option.”

Planet earth game image

WestKing has recently set up a Sustainability Council run by students and supported by their peers and staff with the aim of making the college the greenest in London.

Planet Earth Games was formed in 2019 and runs various challenges throughout the year to inspire and encourage people towards active and sustainable lifestyles.

The charity has been backed by former GB rower Melissa Wilson, international runner Gemma Kersey, Paralympian Alexandra Rickham, professional cricketer Joe Cooke and the environmental group Kids Against Plastic.

Since it began, 84 per cent of participants have learnt something new about sustainability and nearly two thirds have become more active.

Laura Elliott, Director of Learner Services at WestKing, said: “As a college we take pride in not only educating our students in the classroom, but also on topics that matter to them and affect their everyday lives, including the environment.

“We were delighted to be named the London winner in the first Planet Earth Games. My congratulations go out to all the students who took part and showed how passionately they care about the world around them.”

Chris Broadbent, Founder of Planet Earth Games, said: “We were thrilled with the success of the first ever Planet Earth Games – Colleges event, in particular, the gusto and creativity in which students tackled each challenge. Each and every submission was superb.

“Working with our partners at the AoC, we now have a real foundation from which to build. We are particularly excited at the prospect of working with students to develop this concept to best deliver for young people.”

Find out more about Student Life at WestKing.

WestKing commended for innovation in careers and enterprise by Association of Colleges

Westminster Kingsway College has been shortlisted in this year’s Association of Colleges Beacon Awards for its careers education and guidance.

The Beacon Awards are one of further education’s premier awards. They celebrate the best and most innovative practice in colleges and the impact they have on the students and communities that they serve.

WestKing is one of just three colleges in the running for The Careers and Enterprise Company Award for Innovation in Careers and Enterprise.

The Careers and Enterprise Company is the national body for careers education in England and set the criteria for the award, which recognises outstanding careers leadership and practice.

Colleges were asked to give examples of effective careers programmes that demonstrate partnerships with schools, employers and other education providers, to help students make informed choices about their future education and careers.

WestKing’s Careers, Employability and Work Placements Teams were boosted by funding from The Careers and Enterprise Company’s Personal Guidance Fund in 2018, which has enabled the college to provide training for staff to ensure quality information, advice and guidance and to better align to industry needs.

Over the past 12 months WestKing has invested in new programmes and partnerships to support its students and the community. The college has developed strategies to drive high-level skills, mentoring and student progression to meet the needs of Londoners and London’s employers, as the capital recovers from the COVID pandemic. Highlights include:

• A tutorial programme linking labour market intelligence to relevant courses in Hospitality and Culinary, Digital Media, Business, Construction, Engineering and Science.

• A partnership with the Creative Careers programme at the Roundhouse in Camden to help students with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) to get into the industry.

• A Nursing Insights Programme run with Great Ormond Street Hospital that has been embedded within the college’s Health and Social Care courses.

• Careers Clusters and Enterprise Adviser Network activities, such as virtual Skillz Up workshops and Insight sessions.

• Better communication with parents through an e-newsletter, virtual events and additional information, advice and guidance.

Carlo Liu, Head of Careers Education and Partnerships, said “We are thrilled to be commended this year for the AoC Beacon Awards. A huge congratulations to all at WestKing with special mention to the Careers, Employability and Work Placements Teams.

“Due to an unprecedented interruption in education coupled with the impact of COVID on the job market, young people are facing so many challenges. Here at WestKing, our focus has been improving the social capital of our learners, by boosting their confidence, helping to widen their career aspirations and their knowledge of the labour market, and by showing them the opportunities open to them.”

Jasbir Sondhi, Vice Principal of Westminster Kingsway College said: “I’d like to especially congratulate Carlo, Mike, Sharon, Dorota and Frankie in the WestKing Careers and Employability team. The team have been instrumental in providing our learners with a plethora of opportunities that raise aspirations and broaden their horizons.

“Each member of the team is committed to ensuring our learners are given access to employers, networks and careers guidance that informs their decision making allowing them to progress on to positive destinations.

“Well done and thank you for the work you do to transform lives.”

The finalists of the Beacon Awards will be announced at the Association of Colleges’ annual conference on 17 November.