Former CANDI student ‘super happy’ after netting apprenticeship with global tech giant IBM

A computer savvy former City and Islington College (CANDI) student is excited about his future after gaining a place on a degree apprenticeship with global tech giant IBM.

Imtiyaz Rahman, 18, secured his place on the BSc (Hons) Digital and Technology Solutions apprenticeship after achieving D*D*D on an IT Level 3 Diploma last summer.

He spends four days working at IBM’s offices in Southwark and the one day studying at Northeastern University London, a hub of the university in Boston, Massachusetts.

Imtiyaz, from Westminster, revealed that his uncle and cousins had been a big influence on his decision to pursue an IT career at an early age.

“My interest stemmed from an initial desire to play computer games with them when I was about seven. My uncle knew how to build PCs and told me about the hardware and the key things I needed to know, and I began to get into it in more depth,” he said

Imtiyaz’s interest grew as he began to find out more about how computers work and the different components needed to build them, which enabled him to upgrade his own PC.

“I’m interested in many different aspects of IT. On the one hand I’m interested in the hardware side, but since I’ve been at IBM I’ve been shown some new aspects of software and cloud-based technology that I never knew about, which has also piqued my interest,” he said

“I’ve also learnt about AI and quantum computers, which are faster, more powerful and beyond any computers that most of us know today.”

Imtiyaz heard about the apprenticeship through his friends at CANDI. He also applied for another at Lloyds Bank, which although unsuccessful helped him better prepare for his application to IBM.

“I had my focus dead set on going to university and that was the way to my future career, but then my classmates started to tell me about degree apprenticeships,” he said.

“I didn’t expect to make it. With UCAS application you send off your application and personal statement, but with the degree apprenticeship I had to answer a lot more questions on why I want this role and why I am good at it as well as face-to-face interviews and a presentation.

“When I got the call to say I had got on the apprenticeship I was in the middle of class. I walked out of my lesson to take the call and they asked me about my results. There was this daunting silence and then they said I’d got the role, and I was super happy.”

Imtiyaz explained that the diploma at CANDI gave him a realistic expectation of what it would be like to work in IT and how it is applied in business, while also preparing him for degree level study.

“When I’m doing assignments for university, I’m using the same approach and research skills I learnt at college. The practical side on my course also meant I am now able to look at someone’s coding and have a general idea what it means,” he said.

“The teaching was rigorous and intense. It was great to have teachers who had passion for their subject and wanted to see their students grow as people and improve their skills.”

Imtiyaz explained that the degree apprenticeship was a great option because IBM cover his tuition fees and he is not just getting an education but a career.

“What I’ve learnt is that no one really knows what they want to do for the future and not to plan or have too many expectations because situations are always changing, so keep your options open,” he said.

“I am happy for the future because this is a potential career opportunity at a great company that’s well known within the industry, which will give me the skills and experience over the next three years that I might not have got at university.”

Find out more about Computing and IT courses and apply here.

Capital City College Group set to launch T Levels from September 2023

Capital City College Group (CCCG) will be offering T Levels across its three colleges from September 2023.

Five T Levels will be available at City and Islington College (CANDI), The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) and Westminster Kingsway College (WestKing)

What are T Levels?

T Levels are two-year technical courses taken as an alternative to A Levels, apprenticeships and other 16-19 courses.

A T Level is equivalent to three A levels and comprises a core component and an occupational specialism to give students skills for employment, higher education or apprenticeships.

Students spend 80 per cent of the course at college gaining the skills that employers need. The remaining 20 per cent is on industry placement where they put these skills into action.

They will spend at least 45 days in industry placements to enable them to gain valuable experience in the workplace and give employers an early sight of new talent in their industry.

Why choose a T Level

T Levels have been designed with leading employers and awarding bodies to give students the skills, knowledge and experience they need. More than 250 employers have been involved in their development to give students confidence they will take them to the next level.

What T Levels will be available?

The first T Level courses available at CCCG colleges are listed below with more expected to be added over coming months.

T LEVELOCCUPATIONAL SPECIALISMCOLLEGECENTRE
Digital Production, Design and DevelopmentDigital Production, Design and DevelopmentCANDICentre for Business, Arts and Technology (including Health, Social and Childcare)
Digital Production, Design and DevelopmentDigital Production, Design and DevelopmentWestKingKing’s Cross Centre
Digital Support ServicesDigital SupportCANDICentre for Business, Arts and Technology (including Health, Social and Childcare)
Digital Support ServicesDigital SupportWestKingKing’s Cross Centre
Education and ChildcareEarly Years EducatorCANDICentre for Business, Arts and Technology (including Health, Social and Childcare)
Education and ChildcareEarly Years EducatorCONELTottenham Centre
HealthSupporting the Adult Nursing TeamWestKingKing’s Cross Centre
HealthSupporting the Adult Nursing TeamCONELTottenham Centre
HealthSupporting the Mental Health TeamWestKingKing’s Cross Centre
HealthSupporting the Mental Health TeamCONELTottenham Centre
ScienceLaboratory SciencesCANDICentre for Applied Science

Entry requirements

Entry requirements are the same as for A Levels and many other Level 3 courses, which require five GCSEs at grades 9-4 including English and maths. At least a grade 4 in GCSE Science is also required for science and health related T Levels. 

Grading and certification

Students completing their T Level will receive a certificate which will show their overall grade shown as Pass, Merit, Distinction or Distinction*. 

The certificate will show A*-E grades for the core component, and Pass, Merit, Distinction or Distinction* for the occupational specialism. It will also confirm they have completed the industry placement and met any other mandatory requirements

Students who do not pass all elements of their T Level will get a T Level statement of achievement that will only show the elements they have completed.

Find our more information about T Levels at CCCG and apply here.

Former CANDI student stars and co-produces film with acclaimed director Wim Wenders

A former City and Islington College (CANDI) Performing Arts student is starring in a short film she co-produced with acclaimed German director Wim Wenders.

Lena Góra also co-wrote the script for Roving Woman with director Michal Chmielewski, which was also produced by her co-star John Hawkes and Orian Williams.

Wenders is best known for his film Paris, Texas, which won the Palme D’or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1984 and saw him win a BAFTA for Best Direction the following year. He has been nominated for a Oscar for Best Documentary Feature on three occasions

Roving Woman is a quirky road movie about a woman called Sara who is kicked out of her home after a break-up and steals a car, falls in love with the owner and sets out to find him.

Lena, who studied for a Performing Arts Level 3 Diploma at CANDI, explained that the film was inspired by the disappearance of US singer-songwriter Connie Converse and her own life.

She said: “There’s been a really wonderful reaction to the film. I’ve worked with many acclaimed producers and it feels different with each person. Wim is a really special human being and his movies are a work of art. He inspired us all in every possible way.”

Lena was born in Poland where she performed in theatre before taking the stage in London and New York before her TV debut in the CANAL+ series The King of Warsaw. Last year she appeared in the film Traveling Light, filmed in Los Angeles Light and the Polish crime-romance Saint.

She also co-wrote and received a Special Mention for the film Stillborn at the presentation of the Krzysztof Kieslowski Award, which was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019, and is set to star in a Netflix dark comedy feature called Night at the Kindergarten.

Giving her advice to future performers or anyone wanting to get into film, Lena said: “Don’t be lazy. Don’t wait to get discovered. Networking doesn’t work unless you have a really solid project that you are pitching.”

Another former CANDI Performing Arts student, Blanka Douglas, was the Production Manager for Roving Woman, which had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in June.

Blanka is also from Poland and came to the UK in 2013 and after studying at CANDI she went on to graduate with a BA (Hons) Drama from Queen Mary University of London.

The daughter of a Polish film director, she co-produced and appeared in her first short film An Ode to The Order of Things, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017. She has also appeared, produced and directed other shorts through her own production company Doorbell Films.

Blanka said: “I will never forget my time at CANDI and the support I got. I came to the UK by myself and was renting a room with people I don’t know, and my English wasn’t great.

“I am so grateful for my teachers who really made sure I had a good experience. They always had a lot of energy and time to pass their expertise. They were wonderful teachers but also exceptional human beings. I made sure I put extra effort to get good grades and they saw it. I truly couldn’t choose a better place to start in London.”

Lena and Blanka are among the many successful CANDI Performing Arts alumni, which includes Charlie Heaton, best known for his role as Jonathan Byers in Netflix hit series Stranger Things.

Other former students include Armin Karima, who has appeared in Netflix series Sex Education and Black Mirror as well as BBC drama Waterloo Road, and Kandaka Moore whose theatre credits include Bernarda Alba, The Bacchae and Yard Girl. She has also sung and featured in music videos for Clean Bandit.

Tim Chaundy, Curriculum Leader for Performing Arts, said: “It’s so inspiring to see our students Lena and Blanka making such fantastic progress in the film industry. Both were students on our Performing Arts courses and were committed students who also liked to question and push the boundaries, which shows in the work that they have gone on to create.

“We’re very proud of the diversity of students that have trained at CANDI, many of whom go on to high-level industry work in theatre and on screen, or further training at some of the world’s top universities and drama schools.”

Find out more about Performing Arts courses and apply here.

A Level Media Studies student shares her experience on placement at Channel 4 News

A Level Media Studies student Kubra Arslan, 17, recently secured a work placement at Channel 4 News with the support of City and Islington College’s Careers Service. Here she shares how the experience gave her a fascinating insight into working in a fast-paced national TV newsroom.

As students we are at a stage of our lives where we are making decisions about our future careers and life. Wanting to aim high or do what we love in our lives is the main goal for many of us. I’ve always been interested in working in the media, so I booked an appointment with one of CANDI’s career advisers, Elizabeth Frimpong, who had previously helped to find out more information about future careers, universities and apprenticeships.

After finding a few media-related work experiences, she was able to guide me in writing a covering letter that I would later send to the various places to show my interest in them. A few days later I received exciting news from Jordan Jarett-Bryan, a journalist for Channel 4 News at ITN Productions, asking me to call him to arrange an insight of the post-production of journalism and live news. I was quite nervous as I had never before made a call like this, but Elizabeth was on hand to give me tips. The call was a success and I secured an amazing one-day placement at Channel 4 News.

On the day I arrived I received a visitors slip so I could enter the building, which was very tall with many floors hosting different news companies including ITV News, Channel 4 News and 5 News. Jordan briefly pointed out which companies were on what floor and showed me where the actual production of live news takes place. The studio and the production control room are shared by all the news companies, which have their own scheduled time to use the rooms.

As we entered the Channel 4 News office, Jordan introduced me to some of the people that work there. I was thrilled to be able to talk to some of the team including the programme editor, news editor and graphics editor. Jordan also has his own production company and website called Blakademik, which celebrates and elevates black culture through its shows and online content.

Meeting the team had allowed me to understand the importance of each role and how without one role the news would not be able to function properly. One of the most important roles in the newsroom is the programme editor. Programme editors organise the news and create an in-depth schedule that shows the timings of each programme that are to run that day. It is crucial that programmes abide by the time given for them to run. They cannot run over their given time.

Other roles such as a news editor and digital content creator are equally as important. Without the news editor it is much more difficult to gather news and make sure that the programme editors have not missed any important content. A digital content creator can appeal to a younger audience, so they focus on targeting certain demographics. Due to technology developments, the younger audience are less interested in watching TV. In order to relay news to a younger audience, the digital content creator creates content on social media platforms that are widely used by the younger generation, such as TikTok. Creating and sharing content on an app which is used by certain demographics is a clever way to grasp the targeted audience’s attention.

Another role at the news editorial department that I discovered was the graphics editor. Before my placement, I never thought that they would work quite so close to the news editing team. Graphics editors create visual images to anchor with the text or message that is being relayed to the audience. These are as important as visual images as they help audiences to understand the news being shown to them and keeps them interested in the news.

Later, I saw how a reporter works with an editor to bring together a report about the leadership contest for the next UK prime minster. I also had the chance to take a closer look at Channel 4’s filming studio. Seeing the studio where some of the biggest news programmes are broadcast. Something that seemed quite big was simplified to a room with only four cameras.

The final and most exciting part of the day was when I was able to watch an actual live news programme run from beginning to end in the production control room where there was the director, programme editor, production assistant, graphics editor and a sound technician. During rehearsals, and even on air, the director would frequently communicate with the news anchor to ensure everything was going to plan. It was amazing to observe and just be present in the control room.

I really enjoyed meeting with different people at Channel 4 News and getting to know more about their roles, which gave me a much better insight on a typical day working in television news.

Find out more about all our A Level courses at CANDI and apply here.

Aspiring aerospace engineer flying high at university after studying at CANDI

An aspiring aerospace engineer is proving a real high-flyer at university six years after he was predicted low grades in his GCSE results.

Rojhat Dere, 22, is studying a PhD Mechanical Engineering at UCL, where he is researching future hydrogen fuel technologies, having previously completed an Engineering Level 3 Diploma at City and Islington College (CANDI).

He grew up on a council estate in Hackney and was told in Year 10 that he could expect to mostly receive D and E grades after missing half the year due to ill-health.

It was quite demoralising, but it also motivated me to prove to myself and those around me that I was able to do better,” said Rojhat.

“I had a couple of teachers in my corner who helped me focus on my weaker subjects and I made a plan to get my grades up. That was the turning point.

“There was a lack of ambition where I lived. Not many people went to university or even thought about it. It seemed so out of reach.

“I was fearful of failure and regret if I didn’t do everything I could to get where I wanted to be.”

Rojhat pushed himself in his final year. He started school earlier and finished later, doing mock papers over and over. His hard work resulted in him achieving three As, four Bs and two Cs in his GCSEs.

His passion for engineering began at a young age and fixing his bike and building Lego models. He would regularly watch Top Gear and aviation documentaries on TV and his sister would take him to London City Airport to see the planes on her way to university lectures.

“I would spot planes using flight tracking apps and chart all the makes and models and see what engines they had. The technology intrigued me. I would look at the mechanics within the wing, and how all the components worked seamlessly together to get them up in the air,” he said.

Rojhat enrolled on an Engineering diploma at CANDI after meeting a lecturer with experience in aerospace engineering at his interview. He went on to pass with a triple-starred Distinction.

“The diploma a much different approach to learning. It was much more hands on, which helped me understand things better, rather than just taking A Level Maths and not understanding how it applies to the work you’re doing,” he said.

The practical side of the course involved using industry machinery and equipment in CANDI’s workshops and learning computer-aided design applications, which gave him a head start when he went on to study a MEng Aerospace Engineering at the University of Nottingham.

Rojhat was full of praise for his “inspirational” teachers at CANDI who gave students a realistic expectation of careers in engineering.

He said: “The teaching was great. Most of my lecturers were PhD engineers who knew what was required to study at a higher level and the system inside out, which was real plus in getting us into good Russell Group universities.”

During his course, CANDI arranged for Rojhat to undertake an engineering work placement with McLaren Construction Group at a new development in Hackney.

“I shadowed a civil engineer who let me use their CAD software. We also went onto the construction site to check the steel bars before the concrete was put in, and make sure everything matched the designs,” he said.

“Even though it was civil engineering, it gave me a real insight into what engineering is as whole.”

Rojhat was part of a CANDI engineering team that came first in a competition run by Transport for London (TfL) to make its services more eco-friendly and sustainable. The team was awarded two weeks work experience working in various departments within TFL.

“CANDI is where my dream became achievable. Until I went there, I didn’t think I would get into a specialist engineering university,” said Rojhat.

“I’m now on the way to a career I always hoped for. It means everything.”

Engineering employs 5.5 million people in the UK and offers a broad range of careers in mechanical, electrical, chemical, and civil engineering as well as new green technologies.

Find out more about our Engineering courses and apply here.

Former WestKing student Ben Murphy scoops National Chef of the Year

A chef who trained at Westminster Kingsway College has won the Craft Guild of Chefs’ prestigious National Chef of the Year competition.

Ben Murphy, who is Chef Patron at Launceston Place in Kensington, scooped the top prize at a celebratory dinner at The Berkeley in Knightsbridge attended by VIPs from the hospitality world, including Gordon Ramsay who won the competition in 1992.

April Lily Partridge, who also studied at WestKing and is Sous Chef at The Ledbury in Notting Hill, came third in the competition, which was celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Ben served a menu of butter poached pollock, radish and oscietra followed by Lake District young fallow, watercress, onion and batek pepper, and a dessert of clementine, honey, tahitensis vanilla and yoghurt.

In an interview with the Craft Guild of Chefs at the ceremony, he said: “Winning National Chef of the Year is crazy. Seeing the standard of food today, I didn’t expect to win at all. As I said to my friends and family, I’m going to cook the food I do daily, cook food I love to eat and hope for the best.

“I was confident and in my comfort zone and felt happy with what I did. I felt I did enough, but I wasn’t sure because afterwards we got the chance to view other dishes and I saw the calibre of the chefs I was against and the level of food they were cooking.”

Ben was presented with an exclusively designed winners plate framed together with the winner’s medal from Churchill Catering, along with £500 worth of products.

He also received a cash prize of £2,500 from Knorr Professional to support his career development along with a chef experience from Continental Chef Supplies including Michelin-starred restaurants, masterclasses and artisan food classes.

Each of the finalists have also been given the chance to enjoy culinary dining experiences with well-known Michelin-starred or award-winning restaurants across the UK.

The competition was judged by a panel of professional chefs chaired by Kenny Atkinson, Chef Patron at House of Tides and Solstice in Newcastle.

He said: “Wow, what a final, with an incredible winner! I’ve absolutely loved my first year as Chair of judges and seeing the calibre of cooking we’ve witnessed today has been the highpoint.

“The brief I set, purposely left the menus open to individual interpretation so that we could clearly see each chef’s personality, skill and talent so we’ve tasted some amazing food today. Congratulations to all the finalists and well done to Ben.

“To the other nine chefs, I want to see you learn from this experience and come back next year, more determined than ever.”

Competition organiser David Mulcahy, Food Innovation and Sustainability Director at Sodexo UK and Ireland added: “The reason this competition has spanned half a century is down to the way we have developed it year on year to address the industry’s biggest issues and attracted the highest level of talent to enter and judge this competition.

“I know that Ben is joining a long list of incredible chefs who have become real ambassadors for our industry.”

The Craft Guild of Chefs is the largest UK chefs’ association with members worldwide in food service and hospitality, from students and trainees to top management, working everywhere from Michelin-starred restaurants to school catering.

WestKing is home to one of the UK’s leading schools of hospitality and culinary arts.

Find out more and apply for our courses here and apprenticeships here.

‘Schools and colleges can work better together,’ CANDI Vice Principal Colleen Marshall tells FE Week magazine

The nation’s 16-year-olds have more choices than they think when it comes to what they do – and where they do it – after their GCSEs.

While A levels are most school-leavers’ first choice, the fact is that 16-year-olds have a multitude of options, whether that’s by staying on at their secondary school, going to college, or elsewhere. They can study from a huge range of vocational and technical qualifications, from BTECs to T levels. They can get on- and off-the-job training through an apprenticeship. And if they need to, they can even resit their GCSEs.

But many advisers in schools don’t understand all these options and as a result, some young people don’t always get the right advice.

City and Islington College (CANDI) is doing some great work with local secondary schools to help bridge this gap. They are showing Islington’s 16 year-olds – and their parents – that there is more to post-16 education than A Levels, and it’s opening their eyes to the options available to them.

To mark Colleges Week, which ran from 17-21 October, CANDI’s Vice Principal Colleen Marshall wrote an interesting and thought-provoking piece for FE Week magazine 

Read Colleen’s full article here

Helping Londoners into great digital and hospitality jobs

On Wednesday 21 September, Capital City College Group (CCCG) and Central District Alliance (CDA) came together to celebrate the launch of the Mayor of London Academy Hubs in the Digital and Hospitality industries. The Hubs are a key part of the Mayor’s Academy Hub programme – a £44 million initiative to support the capital’s recovery from the pandemic.

They were joined by London’s Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, and employer partners who are working with the Group and CDA to deliver the Academy Hubs’ work.

Supporting Londoners into work for the first time or into higher paid and more secure work – especially from under-represented groups such as minority ethnic communities, women and disabled people – is a key priority for London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan. The Digital and Hospitality Hubs will work with employers to train Londoners for work in those industries, helping them meet their staffing and recruitment challenges.

Having strong Digital and Hospitality sectors will be critical to London’s recovery. For example, the hospitality industry employs around 400,000 people in London, but the lack of suitable and trained staff means there are too many vacancies which is costing the sector billions in lost revenue.

CDA is the Business Improvement District for Holborn and Clerkenwell. Its footprint, which spans Holborn and Clerkenwell, is also home to a world-leading tech cluster, including household names such as Google, TikTok, Snapchat and LinkedIn. These employers – alongside hundreds of others in the CDA district and across the city – can provide a range of jobs and career opportunities for Londoners and so CCCG, working collaboratively with CDA, will establish partnerships to facilitate these new roles.

However, 210,000 people are currently unemployed in London and a further 1,080,000 adults – some 21.7% of the working age population – are economically inactive. So, the Academy Hubs’ role will be to unlock the valuable contribution that businesses can bring and enable more socially-excluded Londoners to gain employment.

As Jules Pipe explained at the event: “The inequalities that were already present in London were laid bare by the pandemic. Over 750,000 working people in London are still paid less than the London Living Wage and more than a quarter of Londoners are living in poverty once their housing costs are taken into account.

“We’re committed to using the skills funding that we have at our disposal to support Londoners – particularly the most disadvantaged and those most impacted by the pandemic – to acquire the skills they need to progress in life and get into good work.

“I’d like to congratulate all the partners for the leadership shown by the CDA and Capital City College Group for making this possible.”

Also speaking at the event, Alexander Jan, Chair of Central District Alliance (CDA) said: “We want to ensure sustainable and inclusive economic growth, which means delivering skills and employment opportunities for our communities.

“We need some big ideas and collective action, and we very much believe that connecting and encouraging people back into the labour market and to help people who are looking for work gain the skills they need to do so, is at the heart of that approach.

“We and our members are delighted to be working with Capital City College Group, to help provide long-term unemployed people with opportunities to gain good quality jobs and helping them gain the skills they need to do so.”

Westminster Kingsway College is part of Capital City College Group and already runs a wide range of courses in the hospitality and digital sectors. The Group is therefore ideally placed to support even more Londoners into these exciting industries. To illustrate the transformative effect that skills training can have, current and former students from the college also spoke at the event about their experiences.

Opeoluwa Odutayo studied Culinary Arts at Westminster Kingsway College, before setting up Ice Cream and Ting, which produces ice creams with Caribbean and African flavours, including Plantain, Hibiscus, and Avocado and Strawberry.

She said: “My teachers at Westminster Kingsway College helped me with advice and boosted my confidence. I worked at events and did internships at four different restaurants to gain experience and at the end of my course, I won the overall best student award. My mum was so proud of me!”

The college also exposes students to industries that they will be working in when they have qualified – helping them gain contacts and eventually secure good quality work.

Student in Hospitality Archie Smitton said: “Working at events with the college helps me get contacts in the industry and work out where in the industry I want to work.

“Last year I did work experience in a Peruvian restaurant in Green Park and a modern English restaurant in Soho and later this year I’m going to Lisbon for two weeks’ work experience.  I’m really looking forward to learning a different language and working in a different country.”

The Hubs have already started work – holding taster sessions and introductory courses hosted by industry experts. These have been in, for example, culinary skills, coding for women, digital marketing, cyber security and user experience (UX) design.

In addition, the Digital Hub will be running internship programmes which will come with additional support including employability training, ongoing support, advice, and guidance on getting the most out of the programme, as well as support for interns to build their network and prepare for their next steps.

And the Hospitality Hub is working with Westminster TalentServe (Westminster City Council’s new recruitment service for its hospitality and leisure businesses) to provide all the training to people who are referred to the service.

You can find out more about the Digital and Hospitality hubs and all our Mayor of London Skills Academies here.

Students celebrate success at first Capital City College Group Excellence Awards

Students and apprentices celebrated a year of outstanding achievements at the first Capital City College Group (CCCG) Excellence Awards.

Around 60 awards were presented to learners in recognition of their hard work, commitment and success over the past year at a glittering ceremony at Tobacco Dock in East London.

Students from City and Islington College (CANDI), Westminster Kingsway College (WestKing) and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL), and apprenticeship and training provider Capital City College Training (CCCT) all received awards.

Awards were also presented to participants of entrepreneurship programme Visionnaires, which started within CCCG in 2019, and 01 Founders, a coding school launched with CCCG in 2021.

Organisations that work with CCCG were also honoured. Arsenal in the Community received a Community Recognition Award while Nominet and Building Heroes/Regal London were handed Employer Partner Awards.

The ceremony was compèred by Kamal Ellis-Hyman, Founder and Director of Aim A Little Higher, which runs personal development programmes for young people across the UK.

Alastair Da Costa, Chair of CCCG, welcomed the award winners and their families and presented the awards along with Jasbir Sondhi, Vice Principal of WestKing, and David Dangana, Director of Group Quality and Compliance.

He said: “Excellence is hard work realised. It takes dedication, perseverance, overcoming frustrations and doubts. Realising excellence requires support from friends and family, it requires picking up when you are down, and it is right to celebrate achievement and success with friends and loved ones.

“This evening, I want to thank you all for being excellent, whether you win an award, are supporting those who win an award or whether you have taught and helped those in this room to realise their potential.”

Awards were presented to students from across CCCG’s provision including many who had achieved success at college and overcome major challenges during their studies.

Among the award winners was Vivek Quissor who gained a triple-starred Distinction in his Public Services diploma at CANDI and was praised for the quality of his well-researched assignments and being an inspiration to other students.

Vivek, 18, who is now studying for a BA (Hons) Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Greenwich, said: “My lecturers provided an outstanding level of teaching throughout the length of my course. I credit my success to them. They left no stone unturned when it came to making sure that assignment work was completed to the highest of standards.”

Also picking up an award was Mariana Ghertan who completed her Healthcare Support Worker apprenticeship with CCCT despite catching COVID twice and suffering family bereavement.

Mariana, 36, said: “My tutor was the most incredible support. She encouraged me not to give up and offered me more time. I spoke to my husband and sons who had seen how much hard work I had put in. They said that my mum was proud of me and would have wanted me to finish, so I did.”

Tyler Minter, 24, wanted to start a Rail Engineering apprenticeship with Alstom and CONEL after learning he was to become a dad. He was described by his tutors as “an exceptional student” who produces a high standard of work and is a perfect role model to his peers.

He said: “I love the fact that I’m learning while also getting hands on experience. I’m gaining knowledge that is vital to the job and putting it to use in a practical sense. I’m also not getting into debt like a lot of people who go to university do, and I’m earning a good salary.”

The final award of the night was the CCCG Inspiration Award, which was presented to CANDI Art and Design diploma student Georgiana Guias, who was praised by her teachers for her dedication, intelligence and enthusiasm, as well as her support for her peers.

Georgiana, 18, who is now studying a BA (Hons) Architecture at Central Saint Martins, said: “It’s a big surprise to get this award because everybody on the course worked hard. The course was challenging but I got to learn new skills and techniques and the teachers were friendly and supportive of me and other students.”

The ceremony also featured live performances by Music Performance and Production students from CANDI and WestKing.

CANDI students Beth Cook, 18, Gloria Elubode, 17, and Ralph Heywood, 17, performed their own composition entitled Faith and Strength is the Key.

WestKing students Gabi Reece, 18, and Isabelle Linehan, 17, together known as The Park, performed their own work called She’ll Stay.

Hospitality and Culinary Arts students from WestKing served canapés at the event with front of house service run by WestKing’s Travel and Tourism students and CONEL’s Public Service students.

The ceremony was sponsored by Apogee, NCFE, OCN London, Gateway Qualifications, Dar Group, insight6, Learning Curve Group, Candor Professional Beauty Academy, ESB, GLL, SFEDI Group and 3Drakes.

Roy O’Shaughnessy, CEO of CCCG, described the evening as “absolutely incredible and inspiring” as he congratulated the award winners, staff, sponsors and organisers of the event.

He said: “I want to congratulate our staff, students, their families and friends and thank them for making this evening such a wonderful success. It is such a privilege to look around this room and see students, teachers and staff from across the Group, sitting here today and celebrating the hard, hard work of those that we’ve honoured, so really, truly well done.

“We wouldn’t have been here without our sponsors, and I would like to thank them on behalf of our staff, students, staff and governors.  Your work means that at CCCG we not only can offer courses and programmes, but we are able to work with employers to give opportunities for our students to create the future for London.”

Find out more about our wide range of courses and apprenticeships here.

Queen Elizabeth II: 1926 – 2022

Like a great many people here and around the world, we are saddened over the passing of Her Majesty The Queen.

During her long reign – the second longest reign of any monarch of a sovereign state – we were honoured to welcome Her Majesty to one of our colleges. And over the years, our colleges have been awarded Queen’s Anniversary Prizes, and colleagues and students were recognised in various Birthday and New Year honours lists.

Roy O’Shaughnessy, CEO of Capital City College Group said:

“It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen and our deepest condolences go to the Royal Family.

“The Queen was a constant part of our lives for 70 years and her passing will affect our staff and students in different ways. We are offering support to those who may need it, for whatever reason, at this sad time.”

Visit to CANDI’s Centre for Applied Sciences

In 2011 The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh visited City and Islington College’s Centre for Applied Sciences. During the visit the Queen unveiled two plaques marking the official opening of the college’s Animal Care Centre and an accreditation by the National Skills Academy Process Industries which recognised the college as a Centre of Excellence for Biotechnology.

Her Majesty saw some of the animals at the centre and was given a tour of the college’s forensics, optics and sports science provision, which included a mock crime scene being investigated by students.

Queen’s Anniversary Prizes

Two of our colleges have been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. These awards are presented every two years to universities and colleges that have shown excellence in quality and innovation, in providing real benefits to the world through education and training.

In 2007, CANDI received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for creating Pathways to Employment and Higher Education in the Sciences. At the time, City and Islington was the only college to have received this accolade twice, having previously received the award in 1994, for widening access and progression to higher education.

Westminster Kingsway College has been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education – in 2015, for collaboration and innovation in the culinary arts.  At the time, then Principal Andy Wilson said: “The award of the prize to Westminster Kingsway College is one of the greatest moments in the college’s long history. It is recognition of many staff, students and employers who have been involved with the college over the years.” In 2016 a plaque commemorating the award was unveiled at the college’s Victoria Centre.

Queen’s New Year and Birthday Honours

Here are some of our staff and alumni who have been honoured by The Queen over the years:

  • Garth Crooks – The former Tottenham Hotspur striker and BBC football pundit studied at CONEL and was awarded an OBE in 1999.
  • Timothy Spall – The Bafta-nominated actor, known for his many screen roles including five Harry Potter films, attended WestKing and received an OBE in 2000.
  • Audley Harrison – The British former super-heavyweight boxer and Olympic gold medallist attended CONEL and was awarded an MBE in 2001.
  • Trevor Nelson – The DJ and radio presenter on BBC Radio 1Xtra and BBC Radio 2 who attended WestKing, was awarded an MBE in 2002.
  • Jamie Oliver – The celebrity chef and restauranteur trained at WestKing and was made an MBE in 2003 for services to the hospitality industry.
  • Pablo Lloyd – The CEO of Visionnaires, a programme started within CCCG to help aspiring entrepreneurs start new businesses, was made an OBE in 2019.

Our deepest condolences to the Royal Family. HM Queen Elizabeth II 1926 – 2022.