More than 3,000 people have signed up to study courses at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) during the first week of enrolment.
The college offers a wide range of vocational courses at its centres in Tottenham and Enfield, which are free up to Level 2 regardless of age or income.
CONEL also offers English, Maths and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses and some higher education qualifications and free short courses.
Kalioppi Thymaras, 23, will be studying a Creative Media Production Level 2 Diploma to help her gain the skills for her dream career in TV or film production.
She said: “I want to get a career in the media industry, but I don’t really have any relevant qualifications, so it’s an opportunity for me to get some experience and maybe go on to an apprenticeship later. I really like the creativity and being able to express myself.
Kalioppi, who moved to the UK from Greece when she was 17, has been working in a pub in Shoreditch while deciding her career path.
She said: “I got to meet one of the teachers on my course and ask her some questions about what the course involves and what projects we’ll be doing. I’m really looking forward to getting back into studying and being back in a school setting again.”
Shaun Saunders-Pierre, 32, enrolled on a Plumbing Level 2 Diploma and hopes to go into business with former CONEL student Dustin Clark who runs his own plumbing firm.
He said: “Dustin did the same course at CONEL and now has his own company, which pushed me to follow in his footsteps. I hope to go into business with him and he can show me the ropes and what he’s learnt doing it professionally. He said it’s a good place to learn, and all the skills that he learnt he gained while being at college.”
Shaun previously worked as a security guard before moving into warehousing jobs during which time he undertook a free short course in fork-lift operating at CONEL.
“I’ve worked for come good companies but felt like a change in career. I’m good working with my hands and trying to figure things out, so thought plumbing would be a good choice, and this course will give me that opportunity and environment to get the skills I need.”
Carmela Antoniou, 39, will be starting a Foundation Degree in Counselling having previously studied for counselling qualifications at Level 2 and 3.
She said: “I’m very altruistic and what you might call a wounded healer. I went through a traumatic experience in my childhood and ended up taking a few people to court. I received compensation, which I invested into becoming a counsellor and the person I would have needed back then.”
Carmela has further aspirations to help young offenders and is looking to set up a charity to provide for counselling services for parents of children with special needs.
She said: “Studying counselling has already drastically changed my life. I am definitely much more resilient and in tune with myself from the personal growth you get from it, and I’m sure CONEL will help me along the way.”
Francisco Ocampo Gonzalez, 47, will be studying a more advanced ESOL course having started learning English at CONEL last year.
He said: “For me, it is very important to learn English because I live here. All jobs and places ask if you can to understand English. When you can’t communicate it can be complicated to explain what you need. I practice with my friends and family, but there is never enough time to learn.”
Francisco was born in Colombia where he worked as a painter before coming to the UK from Spain in 2007 to be with his sister and uncle.
He said: “I had a very good teacher on my last ESOL course. She was very good in her explanation and helped me a lot. That is why I am very happy to come back.”
You too could be among the students enrolling at CONEL this summer and gaining new skills and knowledge to enhance your career and education prospects.
Enrol at CONEL today to start a course this September.