Jobseekers had the chance to find out more about new employment opportunities and gaining work skills when they attended a Careers and Enterprise Day at Westminster Kingsway College.
The event was run with the Central District Alliance (CDA) business improvement district, which is partnering the college’s Mayor of LondonDigital and Hospitality Academy Hubs that launched earlier this year.
The CDA represents more than 400 businesses in central London and has backed the hubs to help its members upskill their staff and recruit new talent in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic.
Mayor of Camden Cllr Nasim Ali was the special guest at the event at the college’s King’s Cross Centre, which was held to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week last month.
CCCG’s apprenticeship and training provider Capital City College Training and entrepreneurship programme Visionnaires, a subsidiary of CCCG, were also present at the event.
Among the other organisations that attended were Transport for London, Camden Council, Metropolitan Police, London Fire Brigade, DHL, Cutlass Security Group, Bidvest Noonan, London Communications Agency and Digital Influx.
There were also stands from several hospitality and entertainment businesses including Pret, Shaftesbury Theatre, Travelodge, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, Imperial London Hotels, Kimpton Fitzroy London and Strand Palace.
Visitors had the opportunity to attend employability sessions with Samsung, LinkedIn and Edwardian Hotels, and have free professional headshots taken for their LinkedIn profiles.
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.
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 ofcareers in mechanical, electrical, chemical, and civil engineering as well as new green technologies.
Find out more about our Engineering courses and apply here.
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.
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
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.
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.
By Jackie Chapman, Managing Director, Capital City College Training
For years we have heard the same line: ‘the apprenticeship levy doesn’t work’ – whether that’s because of the disengagement of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME apprenticeship starts are half what they were before the levy was introduced), the drop in apprenticeship uptake by 16-18-year-olds, or the amount of unused levy returned to the Treasury (according to the Financial Times, employers have handed back more than £3bn in unspent levy cash over the last three years).
This is ineffective for the economy and unhelpful for the workforce. Apprenticeships should be a central part of the employment landscape for people of all ages. They are a genuine alternative to T Levels or university for many young people who are eager to start their careers sooner or learn on the job; and they are invaluable for adults already in the workforce, who want to develop new skills and qualifications without having to give up work to study.
But apprenticeship starts are now far lower than before the levy was introduced back in 2017. What can be done to reverse this? How can apprenticeships become popular again?
Recently, we attended the Labour and Conservative party conferences, where we hosted breakfast events with the London advocacy group BusinessLDN – discussions with our guests addressed apprenticeships and other pressing skills challenges.
As we see it, the apprenticeships challenge is threefold: firstly, how apprenticeships are promoted – especially to young people; secondly, how they are funded; and thirdly, how flexible they are – for employers, educators and apprentices.
If young people don’t know about apprenticeships, we can’t expect them to be interested in them. Many schools have failed to effectively point their 14–17-year-olds towards apprenticeships, as academic routes remain a central focus for schools.
The ‘Baker Clause’ should help this. Originally an amendment to the Technical and Further Education Act 2017 which was widely ignored by schools, the Baker Clause was made law in the Skills and Post-16 Education Act 2022. It requires schools to allow colleges and training providers access to every student in years 8 to 13 to discuss non-academic routes. It also states that schools need to impartially promote the full range of technical education qualifications and apprenticeships to their pupils.
The Baker Clause is an important part of a school or college’s careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) programme and, provided it is followed and enforced, it should widen pupils’ access to information about apprenticeships and other non-academic routes.
The introduction of T Levels may cause more confusion, so the message needs to be clear that apprenticeships are 80% in the workplace, whilst T Levels are 80% learning.
Funding and flexibility
The apprenticeship levy is the main mechanism for funding apprenticeships. Some £3.3 billion of unspent levy money has been returned to the Treasury over the last 3 years, so it’s fair to say that the level of funding is more than adequate.
Flexibility – what the levy money can be spent on and who can spend it – is where many of the problems, and opportunities, are. Businesses and apprenticeship providers have been calling on the Government to offer greater flexibility around the levy for years, but how would this look? And how would it work?
How do we improve the levy and encourage more apprenticeship starts?
It’s encouraging to see the Government responding to the sector’s conversations about the levy. In February of this year, Alex Burghart MP (then Skills Minister) introduced flexi-job apprenticeships and announced that businesses could transfer their surplus levy to other businesses to pay for their apprenticeship training.
Flexi-job apprenticeships aim to help sectors with short-term contracts to take on apprentices. Within this model, apprentices will be supported by their training provider to obtain multiple short-term contracts across different employers to complete their apprenticeship requirements.
We have already seen the benefits of this for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) at CCCG’s training arm, Capital City College Training (CCCT). For instance, in the creative industry, CCCT have been working in partnership with the NextGen Skills Academy to enable SMEs who only focus on one key skill to cluster together to take on an apprentice. Each apprentice is subsequently able to learn each skill through a different business to complete their apprenticeship.
These initiatives are a positive step forward for helping to increase the number of apprenticeships, but there is a more fundamental issue for many employers which needs addressing – the cost of wages.
Employers tell us that they are deterred from taking on apprentices because they must pay their wages while the apprentice is still relatively inexperienced, especially when taking on 16–18-year-olds. In addition, many employers want to pay their apprentices more than the National Minimum Wage, because it’s the right thing to do and it would encourage more people to become apprentices.
So, we think that employers should also be able to use their levy funds to pay between half and two-thirds of their apprentices’ wage costs for the first year of their time with the company. Covering most of the salary for this period will help some employers pay their apprentices more and would be a powerful incentive to smaller businesses, as an extra pair of hands at a subsidised cost would never go amiss!
A levy reform along these lines could be structured like the Government’s Kickstart Scheme, released in September 2020. Kickstart provided funding to employers to create jobs for 16- to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit, covering 100% of the National Minimum Wage – based on the workers’ age – for 25 hours per week.
By supporting employers with their wage costs in the short term, Kickstart enabled many small businesses to engage with young people and provide adequate support whilst they were developing their basic skills.
If the levy allowed for the funding of such a scheme, a valuable proportion of the apprentice’s salary would be paid until the they become skilled enough to not need continuous supervision – the reason why employers prefer to employ individuals who have sufficient skills to undertake the job. This flexibility will encourage employers to take on apprentices and will guarantee the apprentice a job at the end.
We’d also like to see levy flexibility go further, by allowing the transfer of the apprenticeship levy to the organisation that provides the apprenticeship training (typically a further education college or a private provider), so they can continue to support an apprentice when they change jobs – currently as soon as an apprentice ends their studies or changes employer, the provider can no longer support them. This initiative will also help boost apprenticeship completion rates, as apprentices are currently leaving at the point of triggering the End Point Assessment. Such a change would not cost anyone money, will allow colleges and training providers to use their unspent Levy funds, and will decrease the administration required for providers to sign up additional employers to support the final stages of an individual’s apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships can and should be a bigger part of the employment landscape. We think that increasing the flexibility of the levy will allow more employers take on more apprentices and will encourage more people to consider an apprenticeship. We’ll be advocating for these changes to the levy over the coming months.
What is the apprenticeship levy? And what are the problems with it?
The apprenticeship levy was introduced in 2017 to create long term sustainable funding for apprenticeships. The levy is a 0.5% tax paid by larger employers (those with an annual pay bill of more than £3 million), which is stored in a fund and must be used to pay for the cost of apprenticeship training.
The idea was that the levy would encourage businesses to offer more apprenticeships, but unfortunately, the number of people starting an apprenticeship has fallen by around 50% since the levy was introduced. It also had some unintended consequences. For example, the House of Lords’ Youth Unemployment Reportfound that some employers use the levy to reshape existing roles into apprenticeships, benefitting those who already work for their company and are usually older and more experienced.
Other criticisms are that because the levy is only paid by large companies, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) don’t pay it but have to use the online system to engage with providers and pay 5% to the cost of the apprenticeship. In addition, the apprenticeship system is considered too complicated and hard to navigate for employers and education providers alike. Perhaps because of these flaws, the number of SME apprenticeships has fallen since the levy started.
She said: “We have analysed our EPA data and selected a small cohort of providers that have met these criteria with evidence of volumes of Distinctions and positive learner feedback.
“As a result of the high quality and standard of your apprenticeship provision, we would like to present you with a personalised EPA plaque.”
The majority of CCCG’s apprenticeships are available through Capital City College Training (CCCT), London’s largest apprenticeship provider, training more than fifth of all apprentices in the capital.
The Group offers apprenticeship training in sectors including accounting, business administration, construction, healthcare, hospitality and culinary arts, customer service and facilities management.
Electrical Installations apprentice David Jones, 28, from Haringey, said: “I’m a bit older than most apprentices and I’ve tried a few things in the past including bricklaying, forklift driving, sales and removals. They were enjoyable, but not to the same extent as this.
“I’ve also got two uncles who are electricians and just thought that this kind of work would suit me better. It’s not just physical but involves using your mind as well. You’re also not doing the same thing every day, and that really appealed to me. If there’s a fault, you have to find it, look at the cable routes and how it fits together, and then plan how you’re going to fix it.
“I had a really good supervisor on my first apprenticeship job who helped me with the basics by breaking things down to making it easier to understand, which gave me a good head start. I’ve enjoyed learning not just about the electrical side, but how a building goes up from start to finish.
“I did look at doing a full-time course, but it didn’t fit right and then this opportunity came up and it was good money for an apprenticeship. I think most employers, if they see you’ve done an apprenticeship, it looks better because you’ve got the experience and a qualification to go with it.”
Each year CCCT works with more than 500 organisations to train 1,500 apprentices, as well as offering free short courses and employability skills training to help get people into work.
CCCG Executive Principal Kurt Hintz said: “We are absolutely thrilled that our apprenticeship provision at CCCG has been recognised by City & Guilds, which is a credit to the excellent work of our apprenticeship teams and the fantastic achievements of our apprentices.
“I am enormously proud of our success in delivering such a high standard of apprenticeships at CCCG. I have no doubt that with such incredible commitment from our colleagues, employers and apprentices we will remain London’s number one provider for apprenticeship training.”
Apprenticeships are paid jobs that are open to all ages, which usually comprise four days with an employer and one day of study towards a recognised qualification. They enable you to earn while you learn and gain real work experience in your chosen sector with no student debt.
Find out more about CCCT apprenticeships and training courses and how to apply here.
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