The College of Haringey Enfield and North East London has once again been voted one of the country’s best higher education colleges by its students. CONEL has been nominated in the FE College category of the prestigious WhatUni Awards. Unusually for such an award, it is based entirely on reviews that have been submitted by students to the website, which ranks the UK’s universities and those colleges that offer higher education too.

The college offers a range of higher education qualifications, from Access to Higher Education courses, work-related Higher National Certificates or Diplomas, and Foundation Degrees. It is this provision which made CONEL eligible for the award.

Commenting on CONEL’s nomination, Principal Kurt Hintz, said: “It is very satisfying to have been recognised once again by our higher education students as being a great place to learn. We are well-known in London for our free courses and our excellent provision at entry level and levels 1 and 2, so to be shortlisted for a higher education award is fantastic and a testament to the dedication and skills of our HE tutors.”

The college was ranked 4th out of the 10 shortlisted colleges, with an impressive average score of 4.4 out of 5.  We are the only college in London to have been shortlisted and on 25 April, we will find out if we have won at the WhatUni Student Choice Awards in central London.

Here’s a selection of students’ reviews from WhatUni:

“I have really enjoyed my time at CONEL – the teachers are wonder and supportive; and there’s so many courses available. I’m learning things I never thought I could learn.” – Gemma

“This is a really a fantastic course. My teacher is really good and I have so many skills from their classes.” – Pauline

“The course is very useful. Teachers are very helpful. The college is a very good environment for study.” – Maria

CONEL student Lee Driscoll competed at the National Indoor Rowing Championships last week, on Friday 15 March 2019. Lee competed in the first race of the day, male year 13, 2000m race finishing with a time of nine minutes, thirty one seconds.

The National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships is held annually by London Youth Rowing, where schools and colleges across the UK compete in races of different age groups and distances. NJIRC took place in the Copper Box Arena in the iconic Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for the very first time this year.

Here is what Lee had to say about CONEL and the NJIRC:

Robert Murphy, College Sportsmaker at CONEL said: “This was a great event run by the London Youth Rowing organisation. This was a great opportunity for all of the students that had been training all year to compete. The students that did attend thoroughly enjoyed the event and it is great that we can take our learners to events like this as an extension to the enrichment sports programme that we run at the college.”

CONEL also had a promotional stand at the event where, this year, some Sports students were carrying out health checks and giving our information, advice and guidance on CONEL sports courses.

As part of the college’s commitment to tackling mental health issues, The College of Haringey Enfield & North East London held a ‘Question Time’ style event at the Enfield centre yesterday, Wednesday 13 March.

The event was run by an interactive panel of mental health professionals from the NHS, who answered questions from students and dispelled the myths and stigma around mental health issues.

Rebecca Burkoff, Senior Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner, opened the discussion by asking the group questions about mental health statistics, imparting knowledge while illustrating common misunderstandings around mental wellbeing. The conversation remained local, focusing in on problems relevant to Enfield.

Rebecca said, “I really love coming to speak to college students; I think there is a lot of interest but a lack of knowledge. Being able to teach these students is very rewarding – seeing them leave knowing more about mental health.”

This video was shown to the students:

The World Health Organisation estimates that one in four people will suffer from a mental health condition at some point in their lives; currently, around 450 million people have an active diagnosis. While measures are being put in place to facilitate people into appropriate treatment plans, stigma reduction is the first step towards recovery. Staff at the event stressed the importance of opening up the conversation around mental health more generally.

Louise Webber, Enrichment Coordinator and Pastoral Lead for CONEL, said: “Events like this are definitely raising awareness and informing students on what mental health is and how it is affecting their community and the people around them. Even if they only take one thing away from this discussion they are still leaving here better equipped than when they came.”

The event follows on from a previous visit from 5asidechess. 5asidechess is a nationwide social enterprise “determined to reconnect people in a disconnected world.” The company aims to combat loneliness and social isolation by bringing people together with chess. 5asidechess visited both our Tottenham and Enfield Centres on 5 February 2019.

If you are personally affected by mental health issues – or know somebody suffering from a mental health condition – please contact one of your Safeguarding Officers.

CONEL’s Computing Access to Higher Education Diploma students take their study seriously. Seriously enough to request a mentor to support them with structural programming units and help them build their Java skills. And recently they have got a fantastic mentor, Stanislav Ivanov, a CONEL alum.

A 2017 CONEL Excellence Award winner, Stanislav is now in his second year at King’s College University studying for a Computer Science degree. Despite his extremely tight timetable, Stanislav comes in every Friday to run programming workshops and support the students. As he explains: “I enjoyed my time while I was at CONEL and really appreciated the help that I received from all the teachers and the staff here. I just wanted to return the favour and help other students.”

Coming back to college has advantages for both Stanislav and the students who he supports. “I bring my perspective as a student who has been to CONEL, so I know what their course is like. But I can also share some of the knowledge and skills that I am learning at university, and I think it help the students prepare better for university.

“University is a serious jump from college. At King’s you have far less time with tutors as the classes are a lot bigger and you also have to be able to manage your time more than at college.”

The Java workshop that Stanislav runs, covers Java programming. It includes a basic introduction to Java, why it is important and how to install the required software. Stanislav I work alongside the class tutor to makes sure my workshop fits with the main teaching and the main concepts in Java which we do in our first year at university.

Java is a useful programming language for students to learn, not just because it is used in around 3 billion devices around the world, from desktop PCs and supercomputers to gaming consoles, mobile phones, but because it is a route into learning other, newer and future programming languages. As Stanislav explains: “Learning the skills to programme a language like Java enables you to develop your grasp of logic and it helps you to learn other programming languages more quickly and efficiently.”

The students are very appreciative of his support. One student, Ashley told us: “Stanislav’s workshops have helped a lot. He brings a different perspective, as he’s been in our shoes himself. He tends to skip over some of the simpler concepts, so the workshops go at a faster pace, which is good. They are giving us a lot more confidence for our main lessons with our tutor.”

The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London’s Enfield Centre hosted its annual Rail and Engineering Career and Apprenticeship Event in conjunction with the UK National Apprenticeship week.

Students from CONEL and local schools given information by representatives from companies such as; Siemens, NTAR, Bombardier, Alstom, Thales Eurostar, Cory energy and Miele, regarding Apprenticeship opportunities within their companies.

The event opened with a talk and presentations in the Hub to students, detailing the types of jobs the visiting companies were offering within the Engineering sector.

Diandra Marshall-Bruce, a current Siemens apprentice explained her journey as an apprentice at the London Rail Academy at CONEL’s Enfield Centre:

The group then went down to the London Rail Academy to view the training facilities and to engage with representatives from the companies to find out more information about the jobs on offer. Classes were running while the group was there, giving prospective students an authentic insight into the courses that interested them.

Barry Connelly – Director, London Rail Academy said: “The event today provided an opportunity for over 500 young people to view our excellent Engineering training facility and to engage with a number of our blue chip clients to discuss the possibility of joining them as an apprentice.”

Our training arm, Capital City College Training, also made an appearance, helping students apply and talking them through the apprenticeships available.

Project Consultant for NSAR-Connect, Nigel Eagers, said: “I think you can see that CONEL leads the way in promoting rail courses and apprenticeships. It reaches out very successfully to local communities, reaching a wide and diverse range of talent, delivering high quality apprenticeships that really benefit the industry, and leading the way in Apprenticeship delivery for the rail industry as a college!” NSAR-Connect is “a placement service that provides employers with candidates who have successfully been through an industry-leading assessment process.”

The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London student Akram Husaen said: “I have been looking at apprenticeships online but coming here has allowed me to go in more detail and speak to the companies.”

The Rail and Engineering Apprenticeship and Career Event takes place annually. It provides a great opportunity for students to get a deeper understanding of the life that awaits them after education.