skills ministerRt Hon Matthew Hancock MP with Nick De Bois MP and members of the CONEL Career Academy

Top London College Puts its Learners on Pathway to Work

A leading North London vocational further education college for young people and adults hosted a visit by Matthew Hancock, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for further education, skills and lifelong learning this week (Monday 22 April).

As a member of Career Academies UK since 2009, the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London was chosen to host the event which informed Skills Minister, Matthew Hancock, about the benefits of this unique national initiative.

As part of the Career Academy, Business Level 3 Extended (equivalent to A-Levels) diploma learners, gain valuable work experience with cutting-edge blue-chip companies and are coached by commercially successful mentors. Visits to outstanding and varied companies, such as Ofcom, the Royal Albert Hall and the National Theatre, combined with presentations by motivational speakers and developing communication skills are all part of their Career Academy experience.

College Principal and Chief Executive, Paul Head, praised the success of the programme. Opening the visit, he said: “The College reflects the vibrant, can-do attitude of our diverse and talented community. Our goal is to give our learners opportunities to raise their ambitions and make their aspirations real. Our learners leave the College with the technical and academic skills that will make them valued employees and future business leaders”.

Students, Diandra Shortte (19) and Ledi Lulaj (17), explained how they had benefitted from exposure to the business world, as well as the opportunity to develop their networking skills.

Diandra, whose aim is to become a ‘super business woman’, said: “I feel extremely privileged to have been mentored by the Vice Principal of the Bank of America, which more than anything has made me more determined to reach my goals.”

Also presenting were Camilla Dias (20) and Atish Shah (18). Camila, who had taken a two-year career break to raise a young child, had lost self-confidence, but is now firmly back on track and on her way to studying International Business at university. Camilla said: “My mentor restored by self-belief and it is through his encouragement that I was able to set my goals and achieve them.”

Atish, described how as part of his placement with global management consultancy firm, Accenture, he had the opportunity to visit Downing Street and meet Lord Young a renowned entrepreneur and advisor to the Prime Minister on Enterprise.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock offered his admiration to staff and students of the Career Academy, when he said:

"Education and training are the building blocks on which our economy depends. We are insisting on rigorous standards to help our country to succeed. We are also investing heavily to transform the learning environments of our students and we have recently allocated £1m in capital funding to help modernise the College’s Enfield Centre.

"Career Academies UK works with colleges such as the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London to provide a structured programme of paid internships, mentoring by employer volunteers, motivational lectures and workshops. This gives young people the work experience and skills they need to be able to reach their potential.

"I congratulate them both for their dedication and success in giving young people both the skills and the confidence with which to shine."

Says David Walker, Head of Public Policy at Career Academies UK; "This College is one of the pearls in our string of Career Academies across the UK. The Principal and his team have invested in our programme and adapted it to meet the needs of local employers and eager young learners. The College is a forward looking and innovative centre of education supporting the local community.”

The event closed with a question and answer session led by Paul Head, College Principal and Chief Executive, with a panel composed of Skills Minister Matthew Hancock MP, Nick de Bois MP and David Walker from Career Academies UK.

Mr Head added: “We are very proud of all the learners today who presented and spoke confidently to the Minister for Skills and Member of Parliament for Enfield North.”