Profile cover photo
Profile photo
City of Westminster College
Central London's Top Vocational FE College
Central London's Top Vocational FE College
About
City of Westminster College's posts

Post has attachment
On Friday, BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma Media students received advice and tips from sports presenter David Garrido. The students are currently filming and editing videos for the Active Westminster Awards, which take place on Friday 2nd December at Lord’s Cricket Ground. For the fourth year running, CWC’s students have created video content for the awards ceremony, and will be filming the event live on the night.

“We work with the media students on a variety of events throughout the year including the Leadership Academy and Westminster Mile, along with the Active Westminster Awards,” said Andy Durrant, Head of Sport, Leisure and Wellbeing at Westminster City Council. “Over the years the quality of the videos we’ve shown on the night has been brilliant and the students really benefit from the experience.”

The Active Westminster Awards recognise those who change lives through their outstanding contribution to sport and physical activity. Now in its seventh year, the awards are a chance to highlight the hard work of inspiring people and organisations across Westminster, with awards being given out in 10 different categories.

“The students are involved from the pre-organisation, the build up to the event and then are actually involved in the night, working on the run through and filming everything live," said Jonathan Hearn, Sports Development Manager at Westminster City Council. “They get to see it from the conception stage right up to what it looks like on the screen, which is a unique and special experience for them.”

David Garrido is one of the UK’s most recognisable TV sports presenters; getting his big break at the age of 20 with a six-month contract presenting sports news on BBC News 24, he later moved to BBC Radio 1 becoming the main daytime sports voice for Newsbeat. David also acted as a presenter on The Football League Show and Match Of The Day, before joining Sky Sports News in 2011.

“When you’re starting out in the media, a lot of the time you’re just feeling your way and you’re doing what you think you should be doing,” added David. “What the students have so far is great and I want them to go out and be bold and enjoy what they’re creating. The Active Westminster Awards are one of my favourite nights of the year and I’m really happy to be back presenting it.”


Post has attachment
Earlier this week, BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts students visited London South Bank University to take part in a Creative Industries Experience Day. The event sought to help prepare students with their university and drama school applications, the interview and audition process they’ll undertake and experience what life is like on a university campus.

Alongside other London College students, the group took part in a number of workshops covering a wide range of topics including drama and performance, film practice, tips on writing a personal statement, student life and arts administration. Students were also given the opportunity to explore the LSBU campus and speak to students about studying at university, student loans and additional funding.

“It was wonderful to see the students exploring what campus life is like,” said Darren Mawdsley, a Lecturer in the Creative Industries at CWC. “The facilities at London South Bank are fantastic, particularly the arts hub, and the theatre has a real creative feel that inspired the students.”

London South Bank University is one of London’s largest and oldest universities and has over 25,000 students from over 120 countries. Students who attended the day found the experience incredibly enjoyable with Philipa Frempong saying, “It’s made me really think about what my options are for the future.”

“While we were there we ran into an ex-student, Aaron Defoe, who completed his Extended Diploma in Performing Arts in 2015 and is in his second year at London South Bank. It gave our current students the chance to speak to someone who has been in their position and has done really well for himself,” added Darren. "They can’t wait to leave College and move on to the next step – it’s really exciting for them!”


Post has attachment
On Thursday evening three City of Westminster College students attended the HE in London Learners Awards at Senate House, where they received bursaries of £500 each. Twenty bursaries were handed out following over 70 nominations being made earlier this year by London schools and colleges. The bursaries were awarded to students who are now embarking on a higher education course at a university or college.

Former CWC student Louis Holder, aged 19, completed his BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production last year and is now studying Film at University of Westminster, while thirty-year-old Michael Woldehanna studied Access to HE Science and GCSE English while at College and is currently studying Biomedical Science, also at University of Westminster.

“The students we chose to put forward for the awards were all worthy individuals who had overcome a number of barriers, worked hard and achieved fantastic things while they studied at CWC,” said Simon Blackmore, one of CWC’s Careers Advisers who attended the awards ceremony alongside Ita Leavy, Head of Learner Services. “The students can put the money towards any part of their university lives, including living expenses and accommodation which is a great help to them.”

Higher Education in London is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and was set up by Aimhigher London South, AccessHE and Linking London. The organisation aim to offer teachers, advisers and college tutors easy access to important resources which will help them give the best advice they can to learners who are looking to progress on to higher education.


Post has attachment
Before half term, several Extended Law Pathway students from CWC took part in a Debate Day at the Supreme Court. The event was organised by the Court, with the students working alongside professional lawyers and experienced judges debating whether or not it is fair for police to keep fingerprints and DNA samples from innocent people.


Students were split into teams arguing for and against, while another acted as a judge to debate the topic which was chosen by Hajar Adam, Lecturer in Business and Financial Services at CWC. Both groups had to present their findings in a real-life case setting, with the judge making the final decision on which team presented the stronger case.

The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal for all civil cases in the UK and criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as playing an important role in the development of law in the United Kingdom.

“The Debate Day was an excellent opportunity for students to gain an insight into the workings of the highest court in the land and work with professional lawyers,” said Hajar. “The programme encouraged students to develop their evaluative and critical thinking skills, by using real life case studies in an exciting environment to construct robust arguments for their debate.”

Linking in with a course unit regarding aspects of the legal system and the law making process, students were also given a tour of the different court rooms and were told what cases are discussed in each one. “Those who attended are looking at going to university next September, so this gives them something extra to put on their UCAS application, as they’re all interested in pursuing a career in law,” Hajar added.


Post has attachment
​Work experience at City of Westminster College is compulsory for all students on our Study Programmes, with employability skills embedded into our courses. Recently, the College opened a dedicated Work Experience (WEX) platform, designed to help our students gain placements in the workplace. Working alongside Capita, nearly 2,000 students were allocated work experience during the previous academic year, with the aim for even more students to be placed through this year.

Work placements offer you a fantastic opportunity to observe and learn in a busy working office, giving you the chance to build up your career confidence and skills. If you know what career you want to go into then you’re very lucky! Most people don’t know what they want to do in the future and work experience allows those who are unsure to try different jobs and see what environment and role is right for them. At CWC, our Careers Advisors are able to give you advice on possible career paths and opportunities for work experience, alongside staff working in the WEX platform based on the second floor of our Paddington Green Campus. There are a number of things to keep in mind when looking for work experience.

Use personal connections
While the College can assist you in finding placements, students are also encouraged to arrange their own. Asking people in your personal network such as family, friends and neighbours if they know of any organisations or companies who offer work experience or researching local businesses can help you find possible placements.


Make sure you have a good CV and covering letter
Your CV and Covering Letter are often the first impression an organisation will have of you, so ensuring these are well written is essential. Getting someone to spellcheck and read through both your letter and CV is also a good idea; Careers Advisors at CWC can help you with writing both of these.


Be specific
When applying for work experience, it’s always a good idea to tailor your covering letter for the role you’re interested in. It is often obvious to those reading your application if you don’t make specific references to the organisation and role that you’re applying for.


Be patient
Companies will have a large number of students applying for work placements, so it may be a while before you hear anything back - don’t get disheartened if you don’t get a response right away. Also apply to more than one organisation to ensure you get the best placement possible.


Gaining experience in the workplace will not only help you find out what the world of work is like, but it will also give you employability skills, further enhancing your CV and giving you an edge over others who haven’t taken part in any work placements. When bulk placements become available through the Work Experience co-ordinators at College, these will be displayed on the noticeboard in the WEX room, where students can express their interest in applying for roles.


Post has attachment
A former CWC student last week headed to New York City where she has secured a work placement as part of her undergraduate degree. Samantha Storey, 21, who completed the BTEC Extended Diploma in Performing Arts in 2014 is currently enrolled on The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama’s Drama, Applied Theatre and Education course. During the third year, students are required to take up placements and Sam has secured a role working with young homeless people and Broadway actors for the next two months.

“My placement is with an organisation called Covenant House International who house about 300 homeless youths. They give them food, clothes and house them and help them create a plan and filter back into society,” said Sam. “The project I’m working on is called Crossing Bridges, where Broadway stars and the homeless youths are brought together to create a piece of theatre tackling the stigma of being homeless in New York.”

Covenant House New York began more than 40 years ago and today there are 21 Covenant House locations across America, Latin America and Canada, serving more than 56,000 homeless young people every year. It is now the largest privately funded charity in the Americas and seeks to break the cycle of chronic adult homelessness, with comprehensive aftercare including health care, employment training, GED preparation, legal services and drop-in services.

“I always love coming back to CWC and seeing my old tutors because without their help and support I wouldn’t have applied for the course at Central; my tutor Darren was the one who actually told me about it,” said Sam. “I’m really excited to go to New York and work with young people and theatre stars. It will definitely be a new and unique experience and I’m really grateful that I have this opportunity.”


Post has attachment
So you’ve decided that you want to go to university, but how do you decide what to study out of the thousands of courses available? Some will find it easy to pick a course they want to enrol on at university, but for others who have a wide range of interests and career prospects it can be much harder.


Choose a subject

It is important to choose a subject that you’re interested in and something that you want to spend the next three/four years studying. You don’t want to choose something that you’re not really excited about, wasting your time and money. Perhaps you know the career that you want to go in to after you’ve completed your degree and you can choose something that will help you on a long-term basis.


Choose a course

There are a number of different factors to consider when choosing an undergraduate course, each will vary in learning technique, topics covered and assessment methods. Your degree can be assessed in a number of different ways including coursework, practical assignments, group work and examinations and you should choose a course that plays to your strengths. For example, someone who has studied an assignment based qualification like a BTEC, may find it difficult to suddenly change to an exam orientated course.


Choose a university

Once you’ve decided on a course, it’s now time to choose a university! There are a number of factors to take into consideration when selecting a university:

• Location – some applicants will want to select an institution close to home, possibly to save money living at home and commute, while others will look into moving to another part of the UK or possibly another country. Whether you want to live by the beach or in a busy city, making sure you choose the right environment to live and study for several years is an important decision.

• Reputation – while certain universities are known for academic research and teaching style, others are widely recognised for their vocational education and links to companies. Looking at league tables and speaking to friends or family members, teachers and careers advisers can help when making your decision. Make sure you try to attend an open day to get a real feel for an institution.

• Facilities – attending Open Days also give you a g good opportunity to have a look at the academic facilities. Make sure you check out the library, computer rooms and course specific facilities.

• Student satisfaction – students in their last year of university are asked to rate their course and experience at the university in the National Student Survey. These can give an insight into what students really think about their courses and institution, especially as you can find specific ratings regarding teaching and the learning resources available.

• Prospects after graduation – taking a look at what previous students are doing now can be an indication of the employment prospects and the various roles which are available to you after graduation.


Post has attachment
City of Westminster College is once again participating in the Good Jobs campaign, in partnership with Citizens UK, OMD International and Atkins. Global Digital Media consultancy firm OMD International invited interested students to a presentation on Tuesday afternoon. Former CWC student and Ambassador Tia-Nicole was in attendance and spoke about her time on the training programme and the internship she secured with the organisation. On Wednesday morning engineering and project management consultancy Atkins also visited the College to encourage students to sign up to the pathways to engineering programme taking place this academic year.

The Fast Forward Programme is a seven month digital and technology training programme for final year students and provides a strong pathway into ‘good job’ opportunities for young people. With over 700,000 young people currently out of work in the UK, Citizens UK and OMD International are working with employers in engineering, technology, digital media, health and the creative industries in order to bridge the gap between companies and young people struggling to find opportunities.

“Those interested in either the Atkins or OMD International programmes will have to apply and go through an interview process in order to secure a place,” said Ricardo Vega, Enterprise and Employability Coordinator at CWC. “They’ll have sessions involving sector specific employability skills, workshops with leading company guests and will work towards giving a pitch at the end of the programme.”

Both the Fast Forward and Pathways to Engineering programmes are strategically planned to avoid clashes with College timetables, typically taking place on a Wednesday or Thursday from 3pm – 6pm.

“This is an excellent opportunity for students to get some work related experience and gain new skills,” added Ricardo. “Former CWC student Tia, who was on the training course last year, has secured paid work with OMD International, an opportunity that she may not have had without taking part in the Fast Forward programme.”

The deadline for applications for both programmes is Wednesday 12th October at 5pm and all students who expressed an interest by booking a ticket for the presentations are welcome to apply.


Post has attachment
If you’re thinking of applying to university next September, your UCAS application should be well underway. The Personal Statement section of your application, gives you the opportunity to make your submission to your chosen universities really stand out, giving you the chance to set yourself apart from the thousands of other candidates applying for the same course. There are a number of things you can include to make sure your personal statement leaves a lasting impression. It’s a good idea to look at some examples online before you start in order to get an idea of the format and language you want to use.


Explain why you want to study your chosen course and why you’re right for it

Saying why you want to take the subject is probably the most important part of a personal statement. If you don’t demonstrate passion and understanding for the course, admissions tutors may not feel you’re fully committed and you may miss out on a place. Writing about what motivates you to take the course, how your interest in it has grown the more you’ve looked into it shows you're invested in the topic. Perhaps you’ve taken part in related extracurricular activities outside College or have volunteered or completed work experience in your field. The best statements will show a student is interested in a subject not just in the classroom, but also outside it.


Mention any transferable skills you feel would be beneficial

Any skills you have learnt through school, College, working or any work experience and voluntary work you may have acquired that you feel would be useful in your course or university generally are worth mentioning. This could include working well on your own, having good organisational skills, good time management, working as part of a team and leadership skills.


Don’t copy anyone else’s statement

UCAS uses a programme to look for similarities in personal statements, which are then flagged up to the universities should something suspicious arise. Looking at examples online for inspiration is ok, but make sure you don’t copy anything you see as it will be picked up!


Always check your spelling and grammar

It’s always a good idea to get your statement checked by friends, family, teachers or tutors as it’s easy to miss spelling mistakes when you’ve read something a number of times. Getting a fresh pair of eyes to take a look at your work will increase the chances of any errors being picked up before your application is sent off to a university.


Make sure you don’t leave it until the last minute

While the official UCAS deadline is January 2017 for undergraduate entry, it is highly recommended that you complete your application much earlier. When you submit your application it is not automatically sent to UCAS and is instead forwarded on to your tutors in order for them to complete the necessary references. Only once they have completed this, is your application sent on to UCAS and officially submitted.


Post has attachment
Yesterday, universities from across the UK visited City of Westminster College’s Paddington Green Campus for a Higher Education (H.E.) Fair organised by CWC’s Careers Advisers. The highly popular event is the first of the academic year, with the second set to take place during the Spring. It is primarily aimed at first year Level 3 and As Level students who will be looking to apply to universities starting September 2018, but is also extremely beneficial to those on other levels.

Catering for a wide variety of interests and career goals, universities in attendance included Leicester University, University of Roehampton, University of the Creative Arts, Notting Hill Academy of Music and Cardiff University, as well as the majority of London universities. Institutions were able to provide students with invaluable information regarding the UCAS application process and current students were able to offer potential applications an insight into what life at a particular university is like.

“The Fair was very well attended by our students and we had excellent feedback across the board from the universities who said they were extremely impressed with those students they spoke to and particularly the questions they posed,” said one of CWC’s Careers Advisers Simon Blackmore. “It’s unusual for a College to hold two of these a year, but we’re really keen to get universities in to speak to students directly and answer any queries they might have.”

Wait while more posts are being loaded