Colleges Week is a celebration of students, staff and skills from 17-21 October #LoveOurColleges
A student has launched his own news and current affairs podcast after studying a free short course at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL).
Hamse Abdilahi set up the The Aliberg Podcast Show as part of his own news website The Ailberg Post after taking an Introduction to Producing Radio Broadcasting course in March.
While studying the course, Hamse secured a grant from Collins Educational Trust in Frome, Somerset, to enable him to purchase a RØDECaster Pro to record his podcast.
So far he has recorded podcasts on How COVID Has Changed Our Public Poilcy Making, My Take on Britain’s Worsening Economic Crisis and Five Lessons Learned from the End of the Elizabethan Era.
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Hamse, who was lives in Southwark, previously studied for a MSc Public Policy at the University of Bristol and later an MSc Sustainable Urban Development at Oxford.
He said: “I have always had a passion for media, even though I never studied journalism at college. It has been a gradual realisation that I should have a career shift to media. The podcast show is my first step, but I hope to have greater media involvement going forward.”
Hamse, who has written numerous news and feature articles including a piece for the Times Educational Supplement on what he learnt from applying to Oxbridge, recently started a Digital Content and Creation free short course at CONEL to further develop his media skills.
“I really enjoyed the radio and podcasting course for two reasons. It was first a short course, which is what I wanted, and secondly, it was both theoretical and practical,” said Hamse.
“The college has a podcast recording studio and was where I first learned how to create a podcast using a RØDECaster Pro, and now I’ve got out of my own. I like the freedom of having my podcast at home and being able to discuss a chosen topic at any time and get my voice heard.”
Find out more about Digital Media and Creative Computing courses and apply 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.
Aspiring accountants gained an invaluable insight into the career of the President of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and the benefits of joining the industry body.
Heather Hill shared her experience of working in the sector and her role at AAT with students and apprentices at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL).
AAT is the leading professional membership body for accounting technicians with 125,000 members and students worldwide. AAT is also an awarding organisation that is recognised globally as being the gold standard for anyone wanting to gain technical accounting skills.
Heather studied for BTEC National Certificate in Business and Finance and then an AAT Level 4 qualification while working in local government finance, which allowed her to gain full AAT membership.
She said: “It wasn’t easy at times. I was grateful for the support of my tutors who dedicated their time and effort to ensure I understood and learned the syllabus, as I know your tutors do for you.”
Heather later moved to Wiltshire and set up her own accountancy practice, which she ran for 24 years providing services to sole traders, companies, partnerships, charities and other organisations.
During this time, she studied for her Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) qualifications to expand the services she could offer her clients.
Heather, who has been a member of the AAT for more than 30 years, joined her local branch of the association and is now a Fellow member of both the AAT and ATT.
Joining the AAT branch gave her the opportunity to network, share experiences and gain experience from other like-minded professionals while continuing to develop her skills.
Accounting and Bookkeeping at CONEL
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“Branch meetings provide opportunities to learn about other areas you may want to specialise in and to receive valuable continuing professional development to update our existing knowledge and skills. They also enable you to receive support from others who have already developed their careers further, such as attaining chartered accountant status,” she said.
Heather, who was previously chair of the Swindon branch, joined AAT Council in 2016, and is now Chair of the Council and is a member of the Management Board, Nominations and Governance Board and Remuneration Board. She was elected Vice President of AAT in September 2020 and became President of AAT a year later.
She said: “AAT is working hard to create an inclusive community, to help people to get a start in our great profession, and to then support them throughout their career. I hope you will progress your studies and become a member of AAT.
“AAT is not just a valuable qualification, it is a community of people who support one another and who share the same ethos.”
Wishing students and apprentices good luck with their studies, Heather added: “Don’t regard setbacks as failures, they are all learning opportunities and building blocks to a better future. Believe in yourself and you will achieve your goals.”
Business students capitalise on private equity firm Primera visit
Business students at CONEL invested in their future when they visited global private equity firm Primera.
The group, who are studying for a Business Level 3 Diploma, were given an insight into business and investment at the company’s UK office in Pall Mall.
They heard about the growth of the private equity market, how Primera operates, the markets it invests in and how it makes decisions on acquisitions, while also learning about fund management and investor relations.
The students also took part in a practical workshop where they had to look at the performance of three different businesses and decide which company to buy.
Employees at the company then shared their career journeys and took questions from the students on career choices and gave them advice and guidance.
The visit was arranged by Career Ready, a charity which works with educators and employers to prepare young people for work and help them fulfil their potential.
Kareen Lawrence, Regional Account Manager at AAT, also shared more about how becoming an AAT member demonstrates a commitment to exceptionally high standards and ethics in accounting, as well as CPD opportunities available for AAT qualified bookkeepers and members.
This included using the AAT’s Knowledge Hub to keep updated on the sector including articles, podcasts and webinars, as well as it’s e-learning platform, employability advice and other events.
Riccardo Maserati, 22, and Leah Hughes, 23, have both completed an Accounting Level 3 Apprenticeship with CONEL this year and are looking to continue their studies.
Riccardo, who is taking his apprenticeship with The Scout Association, said: “I enjoy the managerial side of accounting like how to make more profit and how to cut your cost them kind of things. After my level three I will look to do my ACCA to try and get involved more in manager accounting but apart from that I’m quite open with my future.
“Meeting and hearing from a senior face behind the AAT was really inspiring. I’m going to use the AAT website a bit more to my advantage for my next exams.”
Leah, who is training at recruitment firm NP Group, said: “I learnt a lot more about the AAT’s networking events and the resources on their website, which will help with my further studies and to eventually become a chartered accountant.
“I started my apprenticeship because I needed to work. It was the perfect opportunity to earn money and get a qualification. The college helped prepare me for my interview and I’ve really liked the teachers I’ve had. They take the time to explain everything really well and are always there if I needed any advice.”
CONEL’s Accounting courses and apprenticeships from Levels 2-4 including a 14-week AAT Level 2 Pre-apprenticeship that leads to a full AAT Level 3 Apprenticeship, with apprentices spending four days a week training in a paid job and one day studying.
Jacqueline Dyett, Head of School for Business, Accounting and Travel and Tourism, said: “It was wonderful having Heather visit CONEL and talk to our students and apprentices. It gave them the chance to put a face to the qualification they are studying and hear about Heather’s inspiring journey from similar beginnings to where she is now, as well as hearing about the benefits of the AAT.
“It was a good opportunity for them to realise the significance of the AAT and what lies ahead for them along with giving them that added impetus to keep going as the qualifications get tougher and to get into their future careers.”
If you are good with numbers and problem-solving, a career in accounting could be for you. At CONEL we work with top employers to give you the skills and experience needed to work in this huge sector. Apply for courses here and apprenticeships here.
More than 160 college students, including many whose first language is not English, have successfully achieved this year’s Reading Ahead challenge.
Certificates were presented to students of the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) who completed the challenge set by the Reading Agency to read and review six books.
The Reading Ahead challenge is run through colleges, learning providers, libraries, workplaces and prisons, and reaches around 30,000 people each year. It’s run by the Reading Agency, a national charity that promotes the benefits of reading to children and adults.
Most of the students who took part are studying English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses, while others have been improving their literacy skills on Functional Skills in English courses.
All students who participated were entered into a prize draw to win one of five £25 Tesco vouchers, which were won by Gul Akarcorten, Zaid Emueru, Valentina Vasquez Soto, Gunel Yukselir and Lisa Zangari.
Assistant Principal Hilary Moore presented certificates and prizes to the students at the college’s Learning Resource Centre, whose staff organise the programme each year at CONEL.
Pavla Jonasova, Curriculum Manager for ESOL, said: “Reading Ahead is a great initiative to encourage ESOL learners to read. Many read with their children, and some develop a real passion for reading.
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“Our students read a variety of books and sometimes listen to a CD that accompanies the books, so they can hear the correct pronunciation as well as developing their vocabulary and spelling. Reading is also very good for mental health and students’ wellbeing as it builds their confidence.
“Each year we encourage all our students to participate and each year we see an increase in the number of students who complete it”.
If English is not your first language, our ESOL courses are ideal for you. We’ll help you learn how to read, write and speak English to improve your education or help you get a job. Apply here.
Students had the chance to question a TV news producer and reporter about careers in broadcast journalism when she visited the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL).
Michelle Gooden-Jones from Al Jazeera English shared her experience and advice at the college’s Creative, Computing and Media End of Year Show.
Michelle, who has also reported for US media including NBC News, explained how she studied TV journalism at university and did an internship at Al Jazeera, aided by a friend’s mum who was a presenter and introduced her to an executive producer.
She said: “You need to study media or journalism, but you also do need to get yourself out there and telling stories. It’s also about connections as well, so network and make sure people know that you’re interested in working in the industry because then they’re more likely to help you.”
Al Jazeera’s main headquarters are in Doha, Qatar, with Al Jazeera English located at The Shard. The channel broadcasts to 80 million homes in 100 countries and its reporters come from all over the world.
Michelle admitted it can be harder for under-represented groups to find work in the industry but with the right mentors and determination it was possible to succeed.
“As long as you go in there and you’re confident in yourself and you have stories and you do the work, there’s nothing stopping any of you from achieving in news,” she said.
The End of Year Show celebrated the work created by students across the college’s Creative Media, Computing and Music courses, and saw this year’s best performing students presented with mini-Oscar statuettes and certificates of achievement.
CONEL invests in new £30k music recording studio
Students on Music courses at CONEL will be able record and mix their own tracks in a new £30,000 recording studio at the college’s Tottenham Centre this September.
The studio is kitted out with leading industry-standard equipment and features a live recording area, control room, microphones, mixers, synthesizers and digital software.
CONEL runs Music Performance and Production courses from Level 1-3 led by lecturers who have many years’ experience working in the music industry.
Our teachers have worked for major music companies alongside top artistes, been influential on the club scene and recorded music for TV series.
Apply now to start composing and recording your own tracks on one of our music courses.
Creative Media Level 1 Diploma student Daniela-Elena Moise, 19, was presented with this year’s award for Best Photographer.
She said: “I’ve enjoyed everything about the course. I’ve taken photos, learnt how to do a promotion and make a documentary, and created layouts for magazines and leaflets. My teachers have been amazing, I’ve never had teachers like this. They’ve really helped me and have made it a lot of fun in class.”
The show featured showreels of students’ work during their studies featuring clips of film trailers, short films and music videos as well as video games, 2D and 3D animations and graphic design.
Toan Phan, Curriculum Manager Computing Creative and Media, inspired students at the show when he shared how he came to the UK as a Vietnamese refugee but later graduated from university despite being dyslexic, before working as a web designer and a teacher at CONEL.
IT Diploma students Mario Busato and Alex Gomeniuk spoke about a project they worked on with an actual client to design a website called Key London Walks providing information on walking tours around north London.
There was also an esports competition where students played computer games against each other with the chance to win a £30 Amazon voucher, which was won by Creative Media Production student Glen Miguel.
Students also posed for photos against a VIP backdrop with various props including a picture frame and silly disguises as a memento of their time at college.
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Laila Hassanzadeh, Head of School for Computing, Creative and Media, said: “This academic year students have produced some amazing pieces of work, which has been reflected in their high achievement rates this year.
“The End of Year Show was a wonderful way to showcase their work and celebrate the successes of all our wonderful students.”
If you’re looking to get into the media or IT, CONEL’s courses will give you the knowhow to work in these fast-growing and exciting industries. Apply now for Digital Media and Creative Computing courses here and ICT and Computing courses here.
A Women’s Network has been launched by Capital City College Group (CCCG) to promote equality and raise the profile of women across the Group.
The first meeting of the network, chaired by Hilary Moore, Assistant Principal at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, featured a panel of inspiring women:
- Sarah Veale CBE – Former Head of the Equality and Employment Rights at the TUC
- Apinder Sidhu – Diversity and Inclusion Lead at the Education and Training Foundation
- Emma Case – Founder of Women Beyond the Box, a platform supporting neurodivergent women
- Fathia Abiola-Ajishafe – A-Level student and member of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee at City and Islington College
The panellists shared how they got to where they are today and discussed their experiences at work and how woman can support each other in the workplace and their advice to other women.
The Women’s Network was set up by CCCG’s Learning and Development Team, which hopes to establish similar groups to inspire colleagues and promote inclusivity.
The event combined an in-person event at Westminster Kingsway College’s Victoria Centre and a live stream on YouTube for those unable to attend.
Watch a recording of the live stream here: CCCG Women’s Network Launch – Panel Discussion
Molly Elliston, Group Learning and Development Business Partner, said: “At CCCG, we’re very proud that our Group Leadership Team is gender-balanced and represents our workforce. We believe is right and important to celebrate our women role models, and recognise we have many inspirational women leaders among our teachers, managers, support staff and students
“We started the Women’s Network in response to feedback from colleagues who told us that they would like more peer-to-peer support across the Group on issues that matter to them. We hope it will give colleagues more opportunities to share their experiences that will lead to an even more inclusive working environment. Our network chairs will also support us in making valuable contributions and important decisions relating to our equality, diversity and inclusion plans.
“We hope that the launch of the Women’s Network will be the first of many more sessions, which will bring us closer together and encourage others to start more networks to do the same.”
Here are some memorable quotes from the chair and the panellists of the first meeting of the Women’s Network.
Chair and Assistant Principal at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London
I came from a background where my parents were the first generation going to university. When I was 11, I decided I was going to become a lawyer. When I went to sixth form college, the careers team, which were nowhere near the quality we have across CCCG, said, “I don’t think it’s a good idea, you might get the grades, but you’ve got no contacts and you’re a woman. Why don’t you become a legal secretary?” I went home and told my mum, who said, “Well I’m not having that,” and my father said, “How ridiculous,” in a very broad Yorkshire accent. I carried on and got a law degree and became a lawyer. It’s things like background and support that can make such a difference.
Sarah Veale CBE
Former Head of the Equality and Employment Rights at the TUC
Workplaces are often competitive. Women sometimes get into this mode of thinking I’ve got to be extra good and fit in better than everybody else in order to be in the same place as the men they’re competing with. It’s about building confidence and challenging the parameters you’re working in.
I’ve noticed that if men are in charge of an interviewing process, they tend to use words like assertive and dynamic. It’s all about power, but never valuing softer skills, like someone who can bring people together and who can explore situations and find solutions by working with other people. It’s a question of elevating the sorts of skills that women are often much better than men, which are valuable to the whole entity, and then owning and pushing them up towards the front.
Diversity and Inclusion Lead at the Education and Training Foundation
I was raised in an area of west London that is predominantly Asian where there is a culture about how you’re perceived as a woman. I left and went to university, but a lot of girls didn’t go and got married because that was the expectation. Luckily my father told us, “You need to do what you need to do, and we’ll talk about marriage later on.”
There’s a dichotomy of what it is like to be a woman growing up with the pressures of culture and community and wanting to listen to your inner voice and do what makes you happy. I’ve had that pressure growing up and going into leadership, looking at how other women did things and what resonates with me. Individuality is really important. It’s not always about being inspiring. When you are genuine and authentic people look up to you.
Founder of Women Beyond the Box, a platform supporting neurodivergent women
There is a quote that says, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ and I think that is so important. Representation matters, and we often take it for granted. I currently live in Lisbon, Portugal, and I’ve noticed on television there are very few women, and very few black and brown women. I just wonder what that does to young children because we don’t aspire beyond what we’re told we can be. It isn’t just the verbal, it’s the visual impact, and that is the challenge. It is about intervention and being intentional and making sure everybody sees and experiences something that they can relate to.
A-Level student and member of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee at City and Islington College
Being a black girl from a less well-off area in London makes me feel like I’m not going to have as many opportunities or experiences as someone who grew up in a richer area. But what I do know is that no matter what or where you come from, you can do it. We may not have as many resources or experiences, but there is always a way to get somewhere. That’s what really keeps me going.