Students get the lowdown on engineering and construction careers and apprenticeships from top UK employers

Students at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) found out more about engineering and construction careers and apprenticeships from some of the UK’s leading employers this month.

The event was held at the college’s Enfield Centre, which is home to the London Rail Academy and London Welding Academy, and fully equipped workshops for courses and apprenticeships in Engineering, Rail Engineering, Plumbing, Carpentry, Electrical Installations and Brickwork.

Among the companies promoting engineering and construction careers and at the college were London Underground, Emcor UK, Cleshar, Yunex Traffic, Perfect Welding and CML Steel.

Also present at the event was construction firm Countryside Partnerships, which recently launched an Enfield Construction Skills Academy with Enfield Council and CONEL to support the huge Meridian Water regeneration in the borough.

Students had the chance to hear from their peers and see the college’s replica Docklands Light Railway (DLR) train and a train undercarriage know as a bogie, which were donated to CONEL by Transport for London (TfL) and Eversholt Rail respectively.

Shifa Fatima Shaikh, 16, is studying for an Engineering Level 3 Diploma at CONEL and hopes to stay at the college and complete a rail engineering apprenticeship when she finishes her course.

She said: “I don’t think university is the right route for me. I’m a very hands-on learner and prefer to shadow people and then apply those skills, rather than just sitting and listening to a lecturer.

“I feel apprenticeships hold more value. With university you go to lectures and sit your exams, but when you get your degree and apply for a job and they ask about your work experience you’re not able to say anything, and so you don’t get employed. With apprenticeships you have both the work experience and the qualification and do not have any debt.

“My teacher is very straightforward, he doesn’t sugar-coat anything. He’s worked in engineering, which really inspiring because it’s applied knowledge. He knows the work ethic and commitment employers are looking for and gives us lots of feedback, advice and support to get there.”

According to the Institute of Engineering and Technology there is a shortfall of 173,000 workers in the STEM sector, while the Construction Industry Training Board has revealed around 225,000 extra workers are needed by 2027.

Suzana Harrison, Entry Level Talent Lead for Yunex Traffic, which manufactures, installs and services traffic lights and other street furniture, said: “It is important for us to get our name out in the local community and at college events to make sure people understand there is a route to work outside of going to university.

“CONEL has spent a lot of money to make sure it is meeting the needs of local businesses. The college has very good workshops and the lecturers and will be providing electrical engineering apprentices at our Enfield depot this summer.

“We’ve had interest from students who are coming through the college on Level 2 courses who are looking to do a Level 3 apprenticeship, not just from engineering students but also those studying electrical qualifications.”

Students also learnt more about the London Rail Academy, which is run by CONEL to provide apprenticeship training for companies including TfL, Siemens, Alstom, Thales, DLR, Hitachi, London North Eastern Railway (LNER), Eurostar, Coral Communications and VolkerRail.

CONEL also offers Rail Track Technician apprenticeships with London Underground through Capital City College Training (CCCT), which provides a wide range of apprenticeship opportunities.

The London Welding Academy was set up in partnership with Paddington, a subsidiary of construction giant Ardmore, to initially provide apprenticeship training for the company.

Tony Hayden, Managing Director of Perfect Welding, which supplies equipment and certifies welders for companies including Ardmore and helped build the London Welding Academy, said: “Ardmore are absolutely delighted with all the apprentices who are being trained at CONEL.

“Early on all the apprentices had to produce a weld, which were judged by the workshop manager, and there is a girl here who was the star of the show. She’s now welding aluminium working on actual jobs every day, which is quite a difficult skill to learn because it needs a lot of dexterity, co-ordination and heat control because the metal expands very quickly.

“I’ve been to see the apprentices working in the factory and they are already quite advanced. They have had a really good education taught well at CONEL, not just in welding but in fabrication. It’s not just a case of welding it up, but being able to read a drawing, be accurate with measuring and knowing how to put metal structurally together.

“There is huge shortage of welding and fabrication engineers, and engineering in the UK in general, so it’s vital that events like these are supported. The good thing about it is that everyone here is enthusiastic about getting students and apprentices trained and out into the workplace.”

Find out about courses and apprenticeships in Engineering, Rail Engineering and Construction and apply here.

Drive forward your skills on engineering work experience

Want to gain work experience in the engineering sector? Here’s our top tips for success.

Engineering work experience is an excellent opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience in their chosen field and develop practical skills that are essential for future careers.

In recent years, the demand for engineering jobs in the UK has been steadily increasing. According to Engineering UK, there is a yearly demand for around 124,000 engineers and technicians in the UK.

Many of our Engineering diploma students at Capital City College Group go on to university to specialise in civil, mechanical, electrical, technological and chemical engineering.

During their studies they have the opportunity to undertake work placements with industry employers including Siemens, McLaren, Ardmore, Morgan Sindall and SCS Railways.

If you are considering a career in engineering, here are our top tips on how to gain work experience and make the most of your time on placement.

  • Research the Industry

Before applying for any work experience placement, it’s essential to research the industry to understand the types of engineering roles and the skills required. This research will help you to determine the area of engineering that best fits your interests and career aspirations. Look for information on the latest trends, challenges and job opportunities within the sector.

  • Network with Professionals

Networking with professionals in the industry is an excellent way to gain insights and learn about the various job roles and opportunities within the field. Attend industry events, conferences and join online communities to connect with professionals. Make sure to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve from these interactions and prepare relevant questions beforehand.

  1. Apply Early

Engineering work experience placements can be competitive with limited places. To increase your chances of securing a placement, apply early. Research and identify companies that interest you, and then apply well in advance to increase your chances of success. Many companies have a fixed application period, so make sure to check their websites for specific dates.

  • Be Flexible

When applying for engineering work experience, be open to different roles and companies. It’s essential to gain experience in different areas to understand which career path suits you best. Also, many companies offer placements in different locations, which could offer different experiences and opportunities. Be flexible and open-minded to make the most of your work experience.

  • Prepare for the Placement

Before starting your work experience placement, take the time to prepare. Research the company, their values, culture and the work they do. Look for information on the projects you will be working on and try to understand how they fit into the broader context of the company. Also, make sure you are aware of any safety protocols and procedures you need to follow.

  • Show Initiative

During your work experience placement, it’s essential to show initiative and take on responsibility where possible. Demonstrate your interest in the work, ask questions and seek feedback. This proactive approach will show your commitment to the placement and the industry and could lead to further opportunities in the future.

  • Build Relationships

Building positive relationships with colleagues and supervisors during your work experience placement is crucial. These relationships could lead to valuable industry connections, future work opportunities and references. Make sure to take the time to get to know your colleagues, attend social events and show a positive attitude.

Apply now for CCCG courses and apprenticeships in Engineering here and Rail Engineering here.

Engineering students thrive on extended work placements with top employers

Engineering students at Westminster Kingsway College are boosting their skills after being given the opportunity to gain extra work experience with major employers across London.

Eighteen students from the college are working one day a week for Ardmore, Willmott Dixon, McLaren, Morgan Sindall, SCS Railways, Lendlease and two Hilton hotels.

The placements are an addition to the two-week placements they completed in January, which is a mandatory part of their Engineering Level 3 Diploma course.

Faaiz Banday, 18, who is studying for an Engineering Level 3 Diploma, is undertaking a placement at Ardmore’s Cambridge House development in Mayfair.

The historic listed building is being restored and converted into a luxury 102-room hotel with a spa, gym and nightclub and seven residential properties.

Faaiz said: “I’ve always been interested in engineering and how things are built. I used to enjoy woodwork at secondary school and always been a practical, hands on type of person.

“I’ve been looking at architect’s drawings showing different sections and elevations of the building and learning how to read them. I’ve also been shown how to use different CAD tools and visited parts of the site to see how it all applies to the way it is being constructed.

“Work placements are a great way to find out what you’re interested in and learn from people in the industry by asking questions about their experiences. It makes you feel motivated to follow in their footsteps when it comes to your own career.

“It’s been incredible to have the chance to do an extra day’s work placement each week and further build my skills and confidence. If I had stayed at school in sixth form, I would never have got a chance like this. It’s helping prepare me for a real job.”

Construction is just one of many industries that require engineering skills. Others include transport, chemical, mechanical, electrical, manufacturing, energy, telecoms, technology and utilities.

Nic Finden, Project Director at Ardmore said: “I have worked for Ardmore for more than 20 years and the industry needs succession. Over the years there has been a shortfall in skilled labour, which is why it is important to encourage young people to come into the industry.

“Ardmore has always been a forward-thinking company that takes a lot of pride in the industry, promoting skills and knowing the value of homegrown labour. As long as they are respectful and self-motivated, we will open up doors for students to choose the career path that is right for them.”

The opportunity for students to undertake extra work experience is part of a trial by WestKing ahead of the college running its first engineering T Levels in September 2024.

T Levels are new technical qualifications that are the equivalent of three A Levels designed with employers and require students to complete 45 days on an industry placement.

WestKing currently offers Engineering courses from Levels 1-3 including foundation courses in Civil Engineering and Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering with City University of London.

Find out more about Engineering courses and apprenticeships across Capital City College Group, which includes WestKing, and apply here.

NAO robot boosts engineering tech skills after £5,000 donation

Engineering students have a new robotic classmate thanks to a £5,000 donation to City and Islington College (CANDI).

The NAO humanoid robot at the college’s Centre for Applied Science was purchased with funding from the Pat Allsop Charitable Trust, a charity set up by property firm Allsop.

The robot has full body motion and the walking speed of a two-year-old child. It has cameras fitted with facial and object recognition along with speech recognition and sound localisation.

Standing just under 2ft high, it can be programmed to move and talk and will be used by Engineering Level 3 Diploma students to complete an Autonomous Mobile Robotics unit.

Engineering student Theron White, 18, said: “Having the robot in class is really exciting. We’ve had a demonstration on how it moves and interacts with other people and checks its surroundings. It’s amazing what it can do and I’m looking forward to using it in lessons. I’m really into robotics and programming, so this is right up my street.

“The course has been really good and I’ve loved the different units we’ve been studying. the robot is going to broaden our horizons and help us learn more about AI and other aspects of engineering. The teachers are very hands on. They have an easy way of explaining things and been very supportive.”

NAO robots were originally developed by Aldebaran Robotics, which was acquired by SoftBank Group in 2015 and rebranded as Softbank Robotics. The robots have been used in research, education and healthcare worldwide.

Catherine Quinn, Head of School for Science, Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM), said: “We were absolutely thrilled to receive such a kind and generous donation by the Pat Allsop Charitable Trust.

“The NAO robot is a fantastic addition to our great engineering workshops and facilities at CANDI and will support our students with the robotics element of their course, which will provide them with the skills and knowledge they need for university and their future careers.”

The Pat Allsop Charitable Trust has previously provided funding for UrbanPlan workshops at schools and colleges, which included a session on urban regeneration with CANDI students in March 2019.

Scott Tyler, Senior Partner and Trustee of the Pat Allsop Charitable Trust, said: “We were really pleased to be able to make a donation from the Pat Allsop Charitable Trust to City and Islington College. 

“We are delighted and intrigued at the news that the funds have been used to purchase a working robot. We would love to see it in action and look forward to continuing our relationship with the college.”

Find out more and apply for Engineering courses here.

Female students inspire girls to take STEM subjects on International Women’s Day

To mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, three female students from across Capital City College Group (CCCG) shared their passion for studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects and how employers can attract more women and girls into these careers.

More women are enrolling on STEM courses at university, yet they make up less than a third of the workforce in these careers in the UK.

According to GOV.UK the number of women accepted onto undergraduate courses in these subjects increased by 50.1 per cent from 2011 to 2020. However, in 2020 women only made up 29.4 per cent of the STEM workforce in the UK.

CCCG offers a wide range of academic and technical courses in STEM including A Levels, T Levels, BTEC diplomas and GCSEs, with female students making up 43.5 per cent of those taking these courses over the past four years.

Here’s what female students on our STEM courses had to say:

‘If there were more female role models in IT, that would inspire more girls to think it’s not just a man’s world’

“My dad runs his own IT company, so I’ve been surrounded by tech all my life. I’ve been interested in it since I was eight when I started reading about basic coding. I used to think IT was all about programming, but now I’ve found out there is so much more to it, such as databases, animation and social media.

“The course and teaching at CANDI has been really good and I’ve been able to pick things up easily. I have a couple of female teachers on the course. It’s great to have role models like them in class for someone like me looking to get into IT.

“I think tech companies still accept more men into IT jobs, it’s like they underestimate the skills women can bring to these careers. They need to start encouraging more women to get into roles so they can see that they are capable of doing the same jobs as men, and maybe even do them better.

“You often hear about people like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg, but you never hear about the women in tech. If there were more female role models seen in IT, that would inspire more girls to think it’s not just a man’s world and something they could do as a career.”

Jaina Torres, IT student at CANDI

‘More female engineers giving talks in schools and colleges will mean girls see it as a valid career option’

“From a young age I was fascinated by how things work and liked physics and maths at school. When the pandemic hit, I started to get into technology and began thinking about my future career and saw there was a demand for more engineers.

“I absolutely loved the first year of my engineering course at WestKing and learnt so much. There are so many facets to engineering. I’ve learnt about coding and microcontrollers and have been able to apply knowledge I have gained on work experience to my course. I enjoy the challenge of creating innovative solutions to different problems. The teachers are really encouraging and are always available if I need any help. They want the best for all their students.

“Engineering is a good career for women. We need to show it is not just men who are capable of doing these careers but women as well, and it should no longer seen as a male-dominated career. It’s about changing peoples’ perceptions.

“You don’t tend to hear about women in engineering and more need to be done to make their voices heard. Having more female engineers giving talks in schools and colleges like they do at WestKing, will mean girls see it as a valid career option. More images of women doing these jobs would also inspire girls into engineering.”

Tianen Ho-Nyirabu, Engineering student at WestKing

‘Companies need to do more to promote internships and give more opportunities to women’

“Science was the first type of career that came to mind. I really enjoyed it at school and learning about chemistry, biology and physics. I’ve always had pets – a parrot, a dog and now a cat – and have applied to study veterinary nursing at university.

“The teachers at CONEL are really nice and present the subject well and give you videos to watch to help you understand. I like doing the practical experiments and following a method, doing some procedures, measurement and calculations and understanding why things happen and how you can change things. It’s a fascinating subject and there are so many pathways you can take.

“You see a lot of male doctors and scientists. Sometimes women are not considered for roles because they are seen as too sensitive and men are thought to be better at handling pressure. That needs to change if we are going to attract more women into science. If you have got the skills and ability there shouldn’t be anything to stop you.”

“Companies need to do more to promote internships and give more opportunities for women. They need to show more women doing these jobs and tell them more about the opportunities that are open to them. I know that would build my confidence and motivate me to do well at college if I saw someone to aspire to in the future.”

Alexandrina Pinzari, Applied Science student at CONEL

Find out more about all our courses at CCCG and apply here.

Get the skills London needs to boost your job prospects and the capital’s economy

Sector Insight Event at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday 28 February from 11am to 2pm

Capital City College Group (CCCG) has teamed up with LIFT and Arsenal in the Community to give people the chance to find out how they can boost their career prospects.

Jobseekers can learn more about gaining skills at CCCG’s Mayor of London Academy Hubs at a Sector Insight Event at Emirates Stadium on 28 February from 11am to 2pm.

Last year CCCG successfully bid to run four Academy Hubs specialising in the Creative, Digital, Hospitality and Green industries, to support the capital’s economic recovery from COVID.

The event will give people the chance to gain an insight into careers in these sectors and training opportunities available through the Academy Hubs and CCCG’s industry partners.

Attendees will be able to apply for live vacancies on the day, visit employer stands, take part in workshops and get help and advice to improve their employability skills.

They will also have the chance to sign up to follow-up sessions to get more information on specific jobs and courses along with further advice from employers at Arsenal Community Hub in March.

The Academy Hubs aim to support adults hardest hit by the pandemic including those from diverse ethnic backgrounds, those with SEND, carers and other underrepresented groups.

Find out more about CCCG’s Mayor of London Academy Hubs and other Skills Academies here.

LIFT is a programme across Camden, Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets that aims to help people into tech, digital, creative and science careers, and support businesses in these sectors.

Places at the Sector Insight Event must be booked in advance on Eventbrite here.

Stands and Sessions at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday 28 February

Camera Skills with Middlesex UniversityCoding Games with 01FoundersJobs in the Green IndustryMaking MocktailsPromotional Stall of Opportunities with LIFT  
Be a Graphic DesignerWhat is User Experience (UX)?Green QuizCoffee Beans CompetitionLondon Square – Building Modular  Kits
Media Make-up and SFXGet The Best Out of LinkedinGreen Courses and JobsBreakout Job Coaching BoothIslington Adult Community Services – Courses
Video Editing and VFXDigital Jobs and Employer Q&AEmployability informationMake Hospitality Work For YouiWork – Employment Support
Film London – Equal Access NetworkBreakout Job Coaching BoothOne-to-One Job SupportA World of OpportunitiesSector Employer Stands

Follow-up Sessions at Arsenal Community Hub in March (exact dates and times TBC)

Week CommencingCreativeDigitalGreenHospitality
6 MarchProduction Crew – Lighting and ElectricsWhat are the Digital Skills in Demand?An Introduction to Green Skills IndustriesImperial London Hotels
13 MarchProduction AccountantCV and Interview TipsIntroduction to Building EnvelopesThe Ivy Group
20 March Games, Animation and VFXLearning How to CodeLevel 3 Certificate in Domestic Energy AssessmentGreene King
27 MarchSet Decorator, Designer, Costume and Make-upMorgan Hunt – Jobs, Tips and AdviceLevel 3 Award in Electrical Vehicle Charging Point InstallationInterContinental Hotels Group

Find out more information and to apply for all our courses and apprenticeships here.

Institution of Civil Engineers London chair praises ‘excellent’ teaching at Capital City College Group

One of the UK’s most influential women in Engineering and Construction has praised the high standard of teaching after studying with Capital City College Group (CCCG). 

Phebe Mann, who is Chair of the Institution of Civil Engineers London for 2022-23, achieved an overall Distinction on a Plumbing Level 2 Diploma at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London. She also took a short course in Home Repair and Maintenance for Women at Westminster Kingsway College. 

Phebe studied both courses having already established an illustrious engineering and legal career spanning more than three decades and gaining a PhD and four Master’s Degrees. 

She is a chartered engineer, chartered surveyor, chartered construction manager and a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. She was named in the Women in Engineering Society’s Top 50 Women in Engineering 2018.  

She has a PhD Collaborative Design, MSc Bridge Engineering, MSc Construction Management, MA (Cantab) Computer Science, LLM Construction Law and is a qualified barrister. 

Phebe has worked as a Specialist Judge for the Upper Tribunal and General Regulatory Chamber and has completed engineering projects for Westminster City Council and Cambridge County Council, as well as being a Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster, University of Reading, University of East London and Open University. 

Phebe decided to enrol on both courses to develop her practical construction skills and increase her awareness of the trades to enable her to better address a national shortage of workers in the UK. 

She said: “The students were very enthusiastic in their learning. The lecturers were excellent and devoted to sharing the skills of their professions and we learnt a great deal from the exercises and the feedback they gave us. They also provided high-quality videos of each topic, which we could view repeatedly until we understood the requirements of the course.  

“My lecturer for the practical class, John Nosworthy, was very patient and empathetic to his students as he explained the steps we needed to take and health and safety requirements for each of our tasks. He had a genuine understanding of his students and adapted his teaching to meet their individual needs.”

Phebe is passionate about encouraging and inspiring more women to follow in her footsteps and pursue engineering and construction careers. 

She said: “Girls tend to do better than boys in GCSE and A Level results including science, mathematics and computing. These are all important skills for engineers and construction. Women excel in skills such as good communication, innovation, creativity and analysis. They should not be intimidated by working in a male-dominated industry.” 

According to Engineering UK, there is a shortfall of 173,000 workers in the STEM sector, while the Construction Skills Network says 266,000 new workers are needed by 2026  

“If you are passionate about engineering, discover your potential, seek opportunities, equip yourself, develop a positive learning attitude and be determined to be successful,” said Phebe. 

“Don’t be discouraged by failures. Every success is built on many failures. Don’t give up if you believe you can do it.” 

Apply now for Engineering courses here and Construction courses here

Young dad finds career and job security on Rail Engineering apprenticeship

When Tyler Minter became a dad in March last year he was keen to find a career that offered job security for the future. He explains how a Rail Engineering apprenticeship with Alstom and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) has put him on the right line for a successful career.

Tyler Minter has endured many sleepless nights during his Rail Engineering apprenticeship.

But it’s not understanding the technical training or the thought of assignment deadlines that are keeping him awake, it’s being the proud dad of an 18-month-old baby girl.

Tyler, 24, worked briefly as a machinist for an engineering company after college before enrolling on a BEng (Hons) Aeronautics and Astronautics at university but he left after a year.

For a while he stepped in to help with the family business selling vehicles for a couple of years, during which time his fiancée Nicole became pregnant. But a week before their daughter Elsie-Rose was born in March 2021 a change in his family’s circumstances meant Tyler was forced to find a new job.

Keen to find a career that would provide a stable future for his family, Tyler began to look at apprenticeships.

“I wanted something with career progression, something that was especially important knowing I was going to become a dad,” said Tyler, who lives with his family in Stondon Massey near Brentwood, Essex.

“I found Alstom and started the long process to get in. I had lots of interviews and tests and was delighted when I was successful and got taken on to do a rail engineering apprenticeship.”

Elsie-Rose was born in March 2021 and three months later Tyler started his Rail Engineering Level 3 Apprenticeship with Alstom and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL).

Alstom is a global rail engineering company that constructs and undertakes maintenance of trains, signalling and other rail infrastructure, and employs 75,000 people.

Tyler’s apprenticeship initially involved nine months of training at CONEL with a salary of £20,000 a year before spending four days a week at a rail depot and one day at college.

Tyler has just started his second year and is now a huge advocate of apprenticeships and the benefits they offer to those looking for a career.

“I love the fact that I’m learning while also getting hands on experience,” he said.

“I’m gaining knowledge that is vital to the job and also 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.”

Undoubtedly, juggling the demands of having a young child and studying has its challenges at times and Tyler has been grateful for the support and encouragement he has received from his tutors.

“When Elsie-Rose needed to go to hospital in April, I called the college and work and explained the situation and they were fantastic. They extended the deadline for my work allowing me more time to complete it.”

Tyler’s apprenticeship offered a guaranteed job on successful completion of his training, which has given him an added incentive to do well.

“As a dad having job security and a future career is a huge draw and is one of the reasons I picked an apprenticeship. We’re also eligible for a pension and private healthcare, things that really matter when you’ve got a family.”

Tyler’s achievements earned him an Excellence Award from Capital City College Group (CCCG), which includes CONEL, along with City and Islington College, Westminster Kingsway College and Capital City College Training.

The UK rail industry is facing a massive skills shortage. In 2020, City & Guilds and the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR), revealed 120,000 new workers were needed by the end of the decade.

Find out more about our Rail Engineering apprenticeships here.

CANDI students feature in STEAM special in Islington Tribune

CANDI students feature in STEAM special in Islington Tribune

Students from City and Islington College (CANDI) have shared their views on education in science and engineering in the Islington Tribune and Camden New Journal.

Cheyanne Kusi, Nikolas Vasilev and Ali Girgin appeared in an eight-page special focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) this summer.

They featured in two articles in the pull-out, which was sponsored by MSD, Google, SOAS, SOAS University of London. Camden Council, Camden Learning and Camden STEAM.

Both articles also appeared on the Islington Tribune and Camden New Journal websites.

Cheyanne, 16, who is studying A Level Physics, responded to recent parliamentary debate on why there has been a decline in female students taking the subject.

She said: “I imagine girls are put off the subject because they mostly see white middle-class men as the figureheads of the subject. If you only see people like them doing the subject and not people that look like you, you’re probably less likely to want to do it.”

Her comments were taken from an earlier article on the CANDI website after similar concerns were highlighted to MPs here: ‘We need to be spreading awareness of more female scientists’

Read the Islington Tribune article here: STEAM: Don’t ‘fancy’ science? I’m afraid you couldn’t be any more wrong

Nikolas and Ali, both 18, have just completed an Engineering Level 3 Diploma and are heading to university this September.

They explained why they chose a vocational course as an alternative to A Levels.

Nikolas said: “In a way A Levels are considered more difficult because they are exam-based. With BTECs you have assignments that you can improve on and resubmit them after two weeks. So you can end up with higher grades and still go to the same university as someone who did A Levels.”

Read the Islington Tribune article here: STEAM: BTECs aren’t what you think – they got us on the path to university

Whether you are more suited to A Levels or vocational qualifications or unsure which pathway to take, at CANDI we’ll help you make the right decision to have the best chance of success at university and your chosen career.

Apply now for A Levels here and Engineering courses here.

Engineering students discover more at construction site with Dickensian past

Engineering students at CANDI discovered more about groundworks and archaeology being undertaken at a construction site in central London.

Thirteen students visited the Middlesex Hospital Annexe site in Cleveland Street, Camden, which is being redeveloped by the University College London Hospital Charity.

The Grade II-listed building is a former workhouse dating back to the late 18th Century, one of only three remaining in London, with the remains of a former cemetery at the rear.

Charles Dickens lived in Cleveland Street as a child and later as a teenager, and it is thought the workhouse may have been the inspiration for Oliver Twist.

Morgan Sindall Construction and Ark Build PLC are converting the building and constructing a new block on the cemetery site to create a mix of healthcare, commercial and residential properties including social housing.

Archaeologists from Iceni Projects and L-P: Archaeology have uncovered extensive structural remains of the former workhouse and its inhabitants buried in the cemetery.

Morgan Sindall Construction is currently preparing the site and overseeing the safe excavation of around 1,000 burials before work commences on the new development.

Paul Harris, Site Manager for Morgan Sindall Construction, and Stephen McLeod, Senior Archaeologist at Iceni Projects, showed the students around the site.

They explained why an archaeological excavation had to be done before any construction started and the considerations that needed to be made when working on the site.

The students learnt some of technical language used in the industry and saw the temporary works in place as well as some of the ground preparation and piling being undertaken.

They then had the opportunity to ask them questions about the work and their careers.

Engineering students 1

Engineering student Joni Salillari, 18, from Haringey, said: “I’ve been on building sites before, but never one with skeletal remains. It gave me a deeper insight into the field and how there is much more to it than just putting up a building, and how they have to look at the history behind a site before they start any work.

“Trips like this are really important because they’re very interactive and can teach you things you might not learn in the classroom.”

Another student, Nikolas Vasilev, 17, from Haringey, said: “It was interesting to see how many different people work on a building site, like archaeologists to prepare the site and remove the remains. That was something that had never crossed my mind.

“We got to hear what they do on a day-to-day basis, which is really useful to know. It gives you a taste of what you are getting into, or if you’re unsure it gets you thinking about different aspects and the types of jobs you might want to do.”

The Middlesex Hospital Annexe was built in the 1770s as Covent Garden Workhouse to provide food and shelter for impoverished parishioners of St Paul’s Church.

It later became the Strand Union Workhouse and the Central London Sick Asylum before being acquired by the hospital and falling under the NHS.

The building was closed to the public and was vacated in 2005.

Chi-Chi Akutu, Work Placement Officer at CANDI, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for our students to see first-hand the ground works and archaeology being undertaken at an actual construction site and find out more from experts in their field.

“Paul and Stephen shared their wealth of knowledge and experience on all aspects of preparing sites for development, project management, health and safety, environmental issue and logistics management. They also revealed how they started on their jobs and what career pathways there are in archaeology, construction and engineering.”

Click here to Apply Now for Engineering courses.

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