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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ICT and Computing courses at CONEL

Computing and IT is at the cutting edge of digital communication technology, working to produce innovative and creative projects in every aspect of our lives. There are exciting possibilities in this sector including software development, programming, digital design, virtual reality and more.
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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 former hairdressing student at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) has recalled how cutting the new Doctor Whos’ hair led him to work in TV.

Rwandan-born Ncuti Gatwa, 29, was unveiled as the new Time Lord on 8 May and is also set to appear in a Barbie film out next year starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.

Silas Baiden, 36, cut Ncuti’s hair for the Netflix hit series Sex Education, six years after the pair had become friends when Silas was working for a BT call centre in Scotland.

Silas runs Ama Hair Salon in south Tottenham, which specialises in Afro-Caribbean hair, with his mum Ama who also trained at CONEL and started the business in 2001.

He said: “Ncuti is one of my best friends. We met at a party in Glasgow and I cut his hair when he moved to London and lived with me and my mum for a couple of years.

“When he got a part in Sex Education, he told me that they were looking for a barber. I was fresh out of college at the time and didn’t feel ready to work on a production, but I nervously went to the set, made some connections and they gave me the job.

“I remember having a bit of imposter syndrome, like I’m not supposed to, or don’t deserve to be here, but now I feel I’ve reached another level. In addition to barbering, I can do braids, cornrows and locks, which are still quite niche things in the TV industry.”

Silas also cut and styled hair on set and at the salon for other cast members including Asa Butterfield, Kedar Williams-Stirling, George Robinson, Chinenye Ezeudu, Jonny Amies and Olive Gray.

Silas has gone on to work on Halo, a TV series based on the video game of the same name, for Paramount+ as well as The Mosquito Coast for Apple TV+.

His other famous clients include actors Yasmin Finney, Clifford Samuels, Morgan Rees, Ariyon Bakare and Karla Chrome and singer Henry Dell.

Ama, 57, came to the UK from Ghana in 1990 with Silas when he was just four years old and initially struggled to find work.

She said: “I used to have my own boutique business in Ghana, so being unemployed was foreign to me. The only job I could get was in catering, but that wasn’t my passion.

“I did my own hair and my grandma’s and some friends back home. I always enjoyed the social aspect of the job and making people feel and look good.”

Ama enrolled on a hairdressing course at CONEL, then the College of North East London, in 1992, and worked in a couple of salons in Tottenham before opening her own.

“The teachers showed us how to become fully fledged hairdressers and made us believe in ourselves. They were very experienced and pushed us to be the best we could be,” she said.

“I did placements at Afro and European salons to gain experience with both textures. They didn’t train in Afro hair at the college at the time, but that has changed now, which is good to see.”

Ama has long been an advocate of natural hair, particularly among the Afro-Caribbean community, and has encouraged her clients not to use relaxers or other chemical treatments.

“The death of George Floyd in America and Black Lives Matter has given black people more confidence to be themselves because it is out there that we’re treated differently,” she said.

“We’ve woken up to accept who we are. I see it in young people and I tell them how lucky they are to be free to wear their hair the way they want to.”

When Silas was younger, he would often help his mum out washing clients’ hair at weekend to earn extra pocket money during which time he learnt to plait and blow dry.

“I’ve always unofficially been an employee of my mum. I used to watch the way she and the rest of her staff would transform people in a few hours and create some magic,” he said.

“Working with my mum is awesome. I’m proud that I’ve been able to continue the business and raise the salon’s profile with new ideas and clientele and put it on the map.”

Ama added: “Silas has made so many wonderful changes to the business and we have been able to grow and increase our turnover. We’re now busier than ever.”

You might not end up cutting Doctor Who’s hair or working for Netflix but now is the right time for you to start your career in hairdressing or barbering with CONEL.

With top-quality training salons in our Tottenham and Enfield sites and excellent tuition to help you gain a recognised qualification, a career in this rewarding industry is within your reach.

Apply now for our Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy courses.

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