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.

Mariana Ghertan caught COVID twice and tragically lost her mother and grandfather during her Healthcare apprenticeship. Here she shares how with the support of her tutor and family she successfully completed her training is now looking to fulfil her dream of becoming a nurse.

Juggling two jobs, one as a cleaner and another as a receptionist, as well as being a mother of two boys meant that life was busy for Mariana Ghertan.

Deep down she had always loved looking after people and had a passion to build a career that involved helping others. When her husband encouraged her to follow her dreams and do a healthcare apprenticeship, she was initially sceptical.

“I’m from Romania and hadn’t completed any further education after finishing school,” said Mariana, 36, who lives with her family in Enfield.

“I moved to the UK 17 years ago, and as English isn’t my first language I was worried that would impact my ability to do a course or apprenticeship. I was scared of change but my husband pushed me to follow my dreams and encouraged me to go for it.”

Mariana enrolled on a Healthcare Support Worker Level 3 Apprenticeship at North Middlesex University Hospital with Capital City College Training (CCCT) in March 2020 having gained her Level 2 while working at Person Centred Day Opportunities in Enfield.

Apprenticeships are paid jobs that are available to all ages and involve four days at work and one day of study towards a recognised qualification, which Mariana undertook at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL).

“I started just before lockdown and so I only had a couple of days of study at CONEL before it changed to home study, and on the other days I was working in the hospital caring for people, which I loved,” she said.

However, Mariana faced significant setbacks during her apprenticeship including contracting COVID twice and losing her grandfather who had brought her up with her mother in Romania.

“The first time I had COVID was over the Christmas period before the vaccinations. My grandad also died of old age while I was recovering and my husband lost a cousin due to COVID, and we were unable to attend their funerals because of lockdown,” she said.

“My breathing was very bad and my family were all very worried. I shut myself away in the bedroom in order to protect my husband and sons. It was an extremely difficult time, which resulted in me taking four weeks off my studies.”

Mariana caught COVID again nearly a year later, which resulted in her missing another three weeks. And on top of that her mother was tragically killed in a car crash aged just 59.

‘I received the phone call to tell me about my mum just before my exams. I was completely broken and told my tutor that I was going to quit the course and leave work,” said Mariana.

“However, my tutor was the most incredible support. She encouraged me not to give up and offered me more time. I spoke to my husband and sons who had seen how much hard work I had put in. They said that my mum was proud of me and would have wanted me to finish, so I did.

“Working in a hospital would not have been possible for me without an apprenticeship. If it wasn’t for the amazing support of my tutor, my husband and my sons, I would never have stuck at it.”

Mariana took some time off after completing her apprenticeship to help with family arrangements back in Romania and now hopes to train to become a nurse.

‘My Level 3 qualification has provided me with enough UCAS points to do nursing,” she said.

“I feel very fortunate to have been given the support to follow my dreams.”

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

According to the Health Foundation, 314,000 more full-time equivalent NHS staff will be needed over and above existing vacancies in England by 2030/31. Find out more about our Healthcare and Social Care apprenticeships here.

Capital City College Group (CCCG) has launched a new range of free short courses in logistics across its colleges to fill a massive skills gap in the logistics industry.

According to Logistics UK, around 2.6 million people are employed at more than 200,000 businesses across the sector, which contributes £127 billion to the economy each year.

However, more than 1.2 million workers are needed over the next decade, in roles from transportation and warehousing to higher level positions in strategic planning and supply chain management.

CCCG has teamed up with training consultancy Skills for Logistics to become one of the first education providers in England to offer courses specifically for careers in logistics.

Places can be booked online under Free Short Courses on the City and Islington College, Westminster Kingsway College and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London websites.

Logistics is one of the fastest growing industries in the UK but has been hampered by Brexit, COVID-19, existing skills shortages and limited training opportunities.

Demand has grown for jobs including HGV drivers, delivery managers, transport planners, project managers, client relationship managers, data analysts and business support roles in finance and procurement.

In a six-month period from October 2021 to March 2022 more than 30,000 logistics job vacancies were advertised in London with an average salary of £37,800 a year. These included opportunities with large employers such as NHS, Amazon and First Choice, along with positions advertised by employment agencies like Reed, Hays and Michael Page.

The following courses are available right now in class or online.

  • An Introduction to Logistics
  • An Introduction to Modes of Transportation for Logistics
  • An Introduction to Supply Chain Logistics
  • An Introduction to Freight Forwarding
  • An Introduction to Importing and Exporting Goods Legislation 
  • The Highway Code for HGV drivers
  • HGV Theory Test Preparation
  • An Introduction to Business Improvement Techniques
  • Level 3 Award in International Supply Chain Logistics.

The courses were devised with Skills for Logistics, which works with employers to support their training needs and create a pipeline of skilled workers for the logistics industry.

Carl Boyd, Head of School for Logistics at CCCG, said: “Logistics is one the largest industries in the UK and it needs more skilled and qualified staff. At CCCG, we already have an excellent track record in running warehousing and forklift truck driving programmes that lead to employment.

“With the support of Skills for Logistics we’ve recognised the wider need of the logistics industry, particularly in outer north London, where there are many haulage companies and warehousing facilities serving the capital, offering fantastic opportunities for training and employment.”

David Coombes, CEO of Skills for Logistics, said: “We’re delighted to be working closely with CCCG to develop its logistics curriculum, which will see its colleges become among the first in Further Education o specialise in delivering future skills to support the rapidly growing UK logistics sector that underpins the UK economy.

“There has not been a better time to develop future talent for a sector that requires a wide variety of skills such as digital, technical, engineering, problem solving, AI and automation, while creating long-term job security in well-paid jobs with excellent career progression.”

Find out more about our logistics courses and book a place here.

Logistics firms are invited to have their say recruitment, training and development in the sector at the launch of CCCG and Skills for Logistics’ Employer Advisory Board at Westminster Kingsway College’s Victoria Centre on Wednesday 19 October at 1pm. For more information contact Carl Boyd, Head of School for Logistics at CCCG, at carl.boyd@conel.ac.uk

Students and apprentices celebrated a year of outstanding achievements at the first Capital City College Group (CCCG) Excellence Awards.

Around 60 awards were presented to learners in recognition of their hard work, commitment and success over the past year at a glittering ceremony at Tobacco Dock in east London.

Students from City and Islington College (CANDI), Westminster Kingsway College (WestKing) and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL), and apprenticeship and training provider Capital City College Training (CCCT) all received awards.

Awards were also presented to participants of entrepreneurship programme Visionnaires, which started within CCCG in 2019, and 01 Founders, a coding school launched with CCCG in 2021.

Organisations that work with CCCG were also honoured. Arsenal in the Community received a Community Recognition Award while Nominet and Building Heroes/Regal London were handed Employer Partner Awards.

The ceremony was compèred by Kamal Ellis-Hyman, Founder and Director of Aim A Little Higher, which runs personal development programmes for young people across the UK.

Alastair Da Costa, Chair of CCCG, welcomed the award winners and their families and presented the awards along with Jasbir Sondhi, Vice Principal of WestKing, and David Dangana, Director of Group Quality and Compliance.

He said: “Excellence is hard work realised. It takes dedication, perseverance, overcoming frustrations and doubts. Realising excellence requires support from friends and family, it requires picking up when you are down, and it is right to celebrate achievement and success with friends and loved ones.

“This evening, I want to thank you all for being excellent, whether you win an award, are supporting those who win an award or whether you have taught and helped those in this room to realise their potential.”

Awards were presented to students from across CCCG’s provision including many who had achieved success at college and overcome major challenges during their studies.

Among the award winners was Vivek Quissor who gained a triple-starred Distinction in his Public Services diploma at CANDI and was praised for the quality of his well-researched assignments and being an inspiration to other students.

Vivek, 18, who is now studying for a BA (Hons) Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Greenwich, said: “My lecturers provided an outstanding level of teaching throughout the length of my course. I credit my success to them. They left no stone unturned when it came to making sure that assignment work was completed to the highest of standards.”

Also picking up an award was Mariana Ghertan who completed her Healthcare Support Worker apprenticeship with CCCT despite catching COVID twice and suffering family bereavement.

Mariana, 36, said: “My tutor was the most incredible support. She encouraged me not to give up and offered me more time. I spoke to my husband and sons who had seen how much hard work I had put in. They said that my mum was proud of me and would have wanted me to finish, so I did.”

Tyler Minter, 24, wanted to start a Rail Engineering apprenticeship with Alstom and CONEL after learning he was to become a dad. He was described by his tutors as “an exceptional student” who produces a high standard of work and is a perfect role model to his peers.

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

The final award of the night was the CCCG Inspiration Award, which was presented to CANDI Art and Design diploma student Georgiana Guias, who was praised by her teachers for her dedication, intelligence and enthusiasm, as well as her support for her peers.

Georgiana, 18, who is now studying a BA (Hons) Architecture at Central Saint Martins, said: “It’s a big surprise to get this award because everybody on the course worked hard. The course was challenging but I got to learn new skills and techniques and the teachers were friendly and supportive of me and other students.”

The ceremony also featured live performances by Music Performance and Production students from CANDI and WestKing.

CANDI students Beth Cook, 18, Gloria Elubode, 17, and Ralph Heywood, 17, performed their own composition entitled Faith and Strength is the Key.

WestKing students Gabi Reece, 18, and Isabelle Linehan, 17, together known as The Park, performed their own work called She’ll Stay.

Hospitality and Culinary Arts students from WestKing served canapés at the event with front of house service run by WestKing’s Travel and Tourism students and CONEL’s Public Service students.

The ceremony was sponsored by Apogee, NCFE, OCN London, Gateway Qualifications, Dar Group, insight6, Learning Curve Group, Candor Professional Beauty Academy, ESB, GLL, SFEDI Group and 3Drakes.

Roy O’Shaughnessy, CEO of CCCG, described the evening as “absolutely incredible and inspiring” as he congratulated the award winners, staff, sponsors and organisers of the event.

He said: “I want to congratulate our staff, students, their families and friends and thank them for making this evening such a wonderful success. It is such a privilege to look around this room and see students, teachers and staff from across the Group, sitting here today and celebrating the hard work of those that we’ve honoured, so really, truly well done.

“We wouldn’t have been here without our sponsors, and I would like to thank them on behalf of our staff, students, staff and governors.  Your work means that at CCCG we not only can offer courses and programmes, but we are able to work with employers to give opportunities for our students to create the future for London.”

Find out more about our wide range of courses and apprenticeships here.

Like a great many people here and around the world, we are saddened over the passing of Her Majesty The Queen.

During her long reign – the second longest reign of any monarch of a sovereign state – we were honoured to welcome Her Majesty to one of our colleges. And over the years, our colleges have been awarded Queen’s Anniversary Prizes, and colleagues and students were recognised in various Birthday and New Year honours lists.

Roy O’Shaughnessy, CEO of Capital City College Group said:

“It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen and our deepest condolences go to the Royal Family.

“The Queen was a constant part of our lives for 70 years and her passing will affect our staff and students in different ways. We are offering support to those who may need it, for whatever reason, at this sad time.”

Visit to CANDI’s Centre for Applied Sciences

In 2011 The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh visited City and Islington College’s Centre for Applied Sciences. During the visit the Queen unveiled two plaques marking the official opening of the college’s Animal Care Centre and an accreditation by the National Skills Academy Process Industries which recognised the college as a Centre of Excellence for Biotechnology.

Her Majesty saw some of the animals at the centre and was given a tour of the college’s forensics, optics and sports science provision, which included a mock crime scene being investigated by students.

Queen’s Anniversary Prizes

Two of our colleges have been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. These awards are presented every two years to universities and colleges that have shown excellence in quality and innovation, in providing real benefits to the world through education and training.

In 2007, CANDI received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for creating Pathways to Employment and Higher Education in the Sciences. At the time, City and Islington was the only college to have received this accolade twice, having previously received the award in 1994, for widening access and progression to higher education.

Westminster Kingsway College has been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education – in 2015, for collaboration and innovation in the culinary arts.  At the time, then Principal Andy Wilson said: “The award of the prize to Westminster Kingsway College is one of the greatest moments in the college’s long history. It is recognition of many staff, students and employers who have been involved with the college over the years.” In 2016 a plaque commemorating the award was unveiled at the college’s Victoria Centre.

Queen’s New Year and Birthday Honours

Here are some of our staff and alumni who have been honoured by The Queen over the years:

  • Garth Crooks – The former Tottenham Hotspur striker and BBC football pundit studied at CONEL and was awarded an OBE in 1999.
  • Timothy Spall – The Bafta-nominated actor, known for his many screen roles including five Harry Potter films, attended WestKing and received an OBE in 2000.
  • Audley Harrison – The British former super-heavyweight boxer and Olympic gold medallist attended CONEL and was awarded an MBE in 2001.
  • Trevor Nelson – The DJ and radio presenter on BBC Radio 1Xtra and BBC Radio 2 who attended WestKing, was awarded an MBE in 2002.
  • Jamie Oliver – The celebrity chef and restauranteur trained at WestKing and was made an MBE in 2003 for services to the hospitality industry.
  • Pablo Lloyd – The CEO of Visionnaires, a programme started within CCCG to help aspiring entrepreneurs start new businesses, was made an OBE in 2019.

Our deepest condolences to the Royal Family. HM Queen Elizabeth II 1926 – 2022.

The rising cost of living is having a huge impact on us all.

With energy bills and prices soaring, education is the last thing that you may be thinking of investing in. But with FREE courses on offer at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL), now could be the right time to boost your future career prospects.

We know that that cost is one of the main barriers for adults wanting to learn new skills, which is why took the decision to offer FREE courses regardless of age or income.

Our courses are FREE up to Level 2, equivalent to GCSE, and some at Level 3, equating to A Level study. We also offer a fantastic range of FREE short courses throughout the year.

We run courses at our Tottenham and Enfield Centres in Accounting, Business, Childcare, Construction, Creative Media, Engineering, Hairdressing, Beauty Therapy, Health and Social Care, IT, Music, Public Services, Science, Teacher Education, and Travel and Tourism.

If you don’t have GCSEs in English or maths you can study them too alongside your course.

It may surprise you to learn that most of our students are not school leavers, but adults aged 19 or over, many of whom have gone on to university and great careers.

Where there is a cost attached to your course, we offer flexible payment options, bursaries, support with applying for student loans and advice on funding to help with childcare.

CONEL cost of living

Tim Mansfield, 41, from Woodford, who studied a Plumbing diploma, said: “I’ve made some great friends at CONEL and learnt some great skills that I fully intend build upon in my future career.”

Lwin McLay, 45, from Enfield, who completed an Accounting diploma and achieved a grade 8 in GCSE maths, said: “My tutor was excellent and helped us prepare well for the exam. He knew his subject and all the topics that were going to be covered this year.”

Our courses include Access to Higher Education Diplomas, which are one-year courses for adults looking to go to university who do not have usual entry qualifications.

We also offer apprenticeships for a wide range of careers with top employers through Capital City College Training, enabling you to earn while you learn. English not your first language? Enrol on our English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses to improve your reading, writing and speaking.

If anywhere proves it is never too late to learn, it’s CONEL.

Find out about our courses and apprenticeships here and enrol at our Tottenham and Enfield Centres today

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