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.

Student travelled over 4,000 miles to CANDI to pursue marketing dream

Naveena Dhera left her family in the Caribbean island of Montserrat at 16 and travelled to the UK to study a Business Level 3 Diploma at City and Islington College (CANDI). She immersed herself in many college and community activities before going on to graduate with a BSc (Hons) Marketing and  Management and studying a for an Master’s Degree.

Leaving the small Caribbean island of Montserrat aged 16 to travel over 4,000 miles to London is no small feat. But Naveena Dhera had known from a young age that if she wanted to pursue further education she would need to travel as formal education on the island stopped after GCSEs.

“I followed in the footsteps of my older sister and two cousins coming to London,” said Naveena, now 23, whose parents are from India and settled on the British Overseas Territory in the 1980s.

She enrolled on a Business Level 3 Diploma at City and Islington College (CANDI) and has gone on to graduate with a BSc (Hons) Marketing and Management from Queen Mary University of London and is now studying an MSc International Marketing with Consumer Psychology at the same university.

“It was hard to find student accommodation that would accept me at such a young age but eventually I did and the staff at the college were a great support. The biggest adjustment was the cold British weather!”

Naveena wasted no time in emerging herself fully into student life at CANDI and the Islington community including being elected to Islington Youth Council.

“A month after joining college I ran for the Islington Youth Council. The college staff and students were incredibly supportive and I was delighted when my campaign was successful and I won the election,” she said.

“I also became a course rep at CANDI and as a result of both the roles I was involved in lots of committee meetings, and travelled to different schools and colleges to discuss student issues.”

In addition to her burgeoning political career, she also took what she had learned about marketing while on her Business diploma one step further than most.

“I’ve always been interested in marketing since I studied it as part of my GCSE in Business Studies. When buying a product, I love thinking about the marketing and advertising behind it,” she said.

The more Naveena learnt about marketing the more she began to think about how she marketed herself to people, both with Islington Youth Council and later roles she ran for at university.

“At college I studied services marketing and did a lot of research about how supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s market themselves,” she said.

“I got involved in helping to market the college itself too. My face was pictured on huge marketing posters locally and every time I went to my local supermarket all the staff would recognise me as the girl on the poster. I never imagined I would become famous as a result of it!”

Naveena , who lives in Tower Hamlets, also represented students on CANDI’s Equality and Diversity Committee.

She said: “CANDI had a very diverse mix of students. In the Caribbean everyone is more focused on one background whereas at college and university it was rich in diversity, especially at Queen Mary where I got involved in learning about Hindiusm and became heavily involved in the National Hindu Students Forum.”

While studying for her BSc, Naveena ran for the student elections and was voted in as a student rep for three years in a row. During that time she campaigned to reduce fees for students.

She also became President of the Indian Society in her third year and was also on the events team for the National Hindu Students Forum (NHSF) and its marketing rep the previous year.

Naveena’s achievements earned her CANDI’s Director’s Award from CANDI. She was also one of the colleges recipients in the Jack Petchey Achievement Awards, which recognise outstanding achievements of young people across London and Essex.

Inspired by the support she’s received by peers, tutors and careers advisers, Naveena is now looking towards the next step in her journey.

“I’m really enjoying the start of my MSc and would like to work in a luxury brands company in the future, or set up my own company helping students from overseas to secure places at colleges and universities and to support their transition.”

Our Business diplomas cover all aspects of commerce and finance including marketing, which according to labour market website Statista employs 197,000 people in the UK.

Find out more and apply here.

Nurse declares CANDI’s healthcare diploma as ‘one of the best’

Angela Karuri never considered nursing as a career as a young girl.

She recalled in her late teens seeing how hard her mum worked in private healthcare and thinking “I can’t do that,” and never imagined herself in a nursing career.

A decade later Angela is about to start an MSc Specialist Community Public Health Nursing after more than two years as a Registered Nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

Her master’s at City University was arranged through Tower Hamlets GP Care Group and will lead to a job as a Specialist School Nurse, while her wider plan is to work in public health policy.

Angela, 28, who lives in Tilbury, Essex, was forced to rethink her future after struggling in in her A Levels, after becoming unwell due to a chronic condition while her mum was also ill.

Back then she was more interested in sports science, which led to her enrolling on a Health and Social Care Level 3 Diploma at City and Islington College (CANDI) and gaining a Distinction.

After her diploma Angela went on to the University of Central Lancashire to study a BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Exercise Sciences where she graduated with first class honours.

“The course at CANDI is definitely one of the best out there,” said Angela.

“It gave me my confidence back after it had been knocked with A Levels. It was a chance for me to regroup and start with a clean slate. Right from the beginning I put my all into it,” said Angela.

“I had a fantastic tutor. He knew most of us were looking to go to university and would make sure we learnt how to research and set out references in our coursework. That set the tone for my degree and further learning.”

A year after graduation, Angela landed a job as an Outpatient Clerk at for Barts Health NHS Trust, which turned out to be a pivotal moment in her career.

She said: “I started to enjoy working with patients and making sure they felt safe and being that friendly face to talk to. I really liked that aspect of it. I was also looking after the children at my church’s Sunday school and thought I could combine this with nursing. It just clicked.”

Angela enrolled on a Postgraduate Diploma in Paediatric Nursing with London South Bank University in 2018 and two years later she began her career as a nurse at GOSH.

GOSH is one of the world’s leading paediatric hospitals, treating more than 69,000 children from the UK and overseas each year who are mostly referred by other hospitals for specialist care.

“Nursing gives me real sense of fulfilment and a joy. I get a lot of peace and satisfaction making sure the children are safe and well. Knowing I’ve helped them and they’re okay is the best part of the job,” said Angela.

Angela admitted it is hard not to get too attached to the children, particularly those who are terminally ill or in long-term care, when supporting them and their families.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s kids are very resilient. Most of the time they don’t really focus on their illness. They know that they are unwell, but they seem able to just switch off sometimes and just want to get to know you and play with you,” she said.

“On the ward I worked on, we had a lot of high dependency patients who were very unwell, but when you see them overcome surgery or recover from their illness and come out the other end, or they come back a few months later to say hi, it’s a lovely feeling.”

Angela explained that all hospital staff caring for a particular child would meet to share their feelings and support each other through difficult times including bereavement.

She said: “Initially, I tried not to get too close as a way of isolating myself from those situations. As you get more comfortable in your nursing career, you do tend to start forming relationships with these children and their parents, and when things don’t go well your team really matters.”

Angela felt most pressurised in her job during the COVID pandemic and coped with the stress by switching off after her shift, not worrying about less urgent jobs and making sure they had a life outside of work.

“There will be times when you feel the strain. Always remember the reason you decided to get into nursing in the first place. More often than not it is because you want to help people. As long as you keep that in mind, the rest will fall into place,” she said.

Angela listed kindness, staying calm under pressure, good time management and organisation, being able to delegate, teamwork, flexibility and resilience as the skills and attributes needed to be a nurse.

She admitted in retrospect she would have done a nursing degree after her Health and Social Care diploma at CANDI but has no regrets on taking a slightly longer route into her career.

“Obviously, my mind wasn’t on nursing then and I had my little detour, but it’s a good course that gives you a great foundation in healthcare and other things you might not necessarily think of, like public health policy, which you will get assignments on if you study nursing,” she said.

So, how would the young Angela react to her being a nurse?

“She would definitely be shocked. If I could have spoken to her then, I would tell her to approach things with more of an open mind and a little less fear. Back then I swore to myself I would never work in a hospital, but look at me now.”

Find out more about Health and Social Care courses 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.