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Apprenticeship opportunities were on offer to adults and young people when Havering Colleges held an information and advice session in a pop-up shop at the Mercury Mall, Romford last Thursday.

The event was part of National Apprenticeship Week and enabled passing shoppers, parents and teenagers to explore current vacancies across many industries, update their CVs and set up online accounts.

The pop-up shop was supported by Havering Council, Prospects, the Job Centre, Wates Construction and Measom Dryline and was busy all day with visitors eager to find out more about courses and careers for the future.

A team of our Student Ambassadors gave out leaflets to shoppers and people working in the shopping centre to publicise the pop-up shop and the offers available.

During National Apprenticeship Week Havering Colleges also held numerous challenges, events and competitions.

Monday saw us hosting Bricklaying, along with Built Environment and Carpentry competitions at our Rainham campus, while also hosting at our Ardleigh Green site the NCC Business Community Challenge.

On Tuesday our Quarles campus hosted a Plumbing competition and we exhibited at the London Borough of Havering’s Apprenticeship Fair in Romford as well as taking part in an employer event at the Premier Cinema that we co-hosted with the Local Authority involving many schools from across the borough.

On Wednesday we had Electrical competitions at Ardleigh Green and also organised the Metro Bank Schools Challenge for local Year 10 pupils. Later that evening we participated in a liaison event hosted by Marshalls Park School.

Last, but not least, on Friday we hosted the launch of the Aspiring Leaders programme in partnership with Havering Academy of Leadership.

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An exciting mix of dance styles featuring ballet to Bharatnatyam wowed a packed audience at the Havering Dance Festival.

Some fantastic performances were enjoyed as the festival, founded and directed by Havering Colleges dance lecturer and freelance artist Jo Leahy, played its second successful year at the college in Ardleigh Green Road, Hornchurch, on Friday and Saturday.

More than 200 dancers from local theatre and youth groups, to breakthrough artists and industry professionals took part, sharing ideas and showcasing some superb routines. Horizons Dance Company, based at the college, hosted and helped with the running of the festival, as well as performing themselves.

All the dance companies joined industry workshops during the day and were lucky enough to work with international dance artist Alejandro Martinez, Louisanne Wong, from Esprit Concrete and Dollie Henry, director of BopJAZZ Theatre Dance Company, who also appeared as guest professional performance on Saturday. The workshops gave dancers the chance to collaborate and combine their creativity as well as getting an insight into the professional world of dance.

Dance groups also had the opportunity to network with other schools and companies in the Networking Zone, where they took on a hot seat challenge - sharing their stories, experiences and inspirations from the world of dance - before the main performance at the end of the day.

Jamie Brown and Scott Parrot, technicians from the Creative Arts Department at Havering Colleges, which sponsored the event, managed the Student Ambassadors alongside Jo Leahy. The students all worked hard behind the scenes as backstage runners, front of house, meet and greet, ticket sellers, ushers, and videographers.

Special guests watching the performances, which were hosted by Events Officer Jamie Webb, included the Deputy Mayor of Havering John Mylod.

Photos by: Clive Thompson

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A skills challenge and career progression day really ignited a competitive spark in students on the Electrical Installation course at our Ardleigh Green campus on Wednesday.

Industry professionals, along with a former student, visited the college to talk about apprenticeships, opportunities and pathways to becoming an electrician and the students also took part in practical competitions.

Awards for the morning challenge went to: Winner Jamie Prior, second Teddy Green and third Liam Timke. In the afternoon challenge the awards were presented to: Winner George Ryan, second Lewis Woodford and third Alex Ford. Prizes of tools and tool bags were donated by Rydon Maintenance.

At the presentation, the colleges’ Electrical Programme Manager Daniel Barr told the 40 students who had taken part: “You have done the college and yourselves proud today. You are all winners even though we could only give out six prizes.”

The judges were David Crowley MIET, and Karen Boom, owner of She’s Electric based in Billericay. David said: “Some of the work we have witnessed today has been inspirational. If you all keep at it you will do well in the industry. We have been really impressed by what we have seen.”

Visiting electrical business coach, consultant and engineer Dan Jackson, along with Paul Meenan from the e5 Group, delivered a talk on career progression and gave advice and support during the competitions. Dan said: “Wow. What a day! During the competitions I spent some time talking with these students who are 16/17 years old. I was blown away by how engaging they were. They are very intelligent, eager and open to learning. Two of the girls also told me about a little business venture they've seen an opportunity for since getting an insight into the electrical game! The tutors are doing a fine job.

“I came away having learnt loads and hopefully the youngsters learnt a thing or two from me!”

Former student Jack Wright, who left the college in the summer, told how he was now working as an electrician and studying for his NVQ. He encouraged the current students to work hard to pass their Level 3 and said: “After that, the sky’s the limit for you. The money is good and the industry is crying out for trainee electricians. You have nothing to worry about for your future if you work hard.”

Any contractors, companies or individuals who can offer industry placements, work experience or apprenticeships to any electrical students, please contact Daniel Barr on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 01708 455011 ext 2339.

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Enterprising students were on fire when they stepped into the Dragons’ Den to take part in business challenges held at our Ardleigh Green campus as part of National Apprenticeship Week.

Two separate competitions were held – the Metro Bank Schools Challenge for Year 9 and 10 pupils from local schools, and the NCC Business Community Challenge for college students.

Nine teams from schools including Hornchurch High, Marshalls Park and Eastbury pitted their wits against each other in a challenge to create initiatives on why young people should open an account with the Metro Bank.

The youngsters had to come up with a marketing company name and strapline, ideas for adverts, campaign slogans, create a digital presentation and then pitch their initiatives in the Dragons’ Den to three visiting business experts – Josephine O’Connor, Head of Business & Community Investment at Vinci Construction Company; Russell Ridley, Local Director of Metro Bank; and Amit Rehal, Area Business Manager at Metro Bank.

The Dragons chose the Eastbury School Year 10 team – calling themselves the Metro Marketing Agency - as the winners, saying their presentation was professional, delivered clearly and included some great initiatives such as social media campaigns and setting up a ‘Teen Zone’ in schools where pupils would be taught about managing money.

In presenting the trophy and Amazon vouchers to the winners, the Metro Bank’s Russell Ridley said: “Thank you to everyone at Havering Colleges and the local schools who helped make this such a memorable event. The level of engagement from all the students was outstanding and the quality of the ideas and presentations first class. We left feeling really inspired by the whole experience.

“The Eastbury School Year 10 students were innovative and creative in their approach and worked well together as a team. This really came across in their final presentation and some of their ideas certainly gave us food for thought.”

In the NCC Business Community Challenge for college students, teams had to design a fundraising campaign for a charity and then present it in a Dragons’ Den type scenario, which involved thinking on their feet in a stressful environment and pushing themselves out of their comfort zone.

A team of students studying BTEC Business at Ardleigh Green were the winners and received some high praise from the Dragons on the day, who were Genevieve Seal from Wildberry Associates, Mu Ali from Wavemaker UK and Lucy May from Willmott Dixon.

Genevieve said: “I was very impressed by the students who were all so enthusiastic. There were some who really stood out. Public speaking is by no means easy, and the students really did themselves and the college proud. It was a privilege to have been involved in the day.”

Mu added: “It was an exciting and humbling day to see how students think, feel and approach challenges of this nature. It’s a great testament to them and the college to show what they will bring to the working world. I'm so grateful to be part of this and to see the younger generations excel - we have to continue to encourage them and help them see that the world is full of opportunities and they will succeed! I'm hugely optimistic. Congratulations for organising such an inspiring day.”

Havering Colleges’ Marketing Officer, Jamie Webb, who organised the competitions, said: “Thank you to all our Dragons in both challenges. The mentoring, critique and support given by the business representatives who gave up their time to attend the day was priceless for students. They gained so much from the experience.”

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Plumbing students all rose to the challenge when they took part in a competition run as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2020.

The competition gave students the opportunity to meet and gain advice from visiting industry representatives and the chance to secure an apprenticeship.

Based at Quarles campus in Harold Hill, the trainee plumbers worked in pairs and were assisted by an apprentice engineer. They were set an all-day task to construct an internal cast iron soil pipe system used in commercial high rise buildings, such as The Shard in London.

Their work was inspected and judged by Jonathan Gaunt, Acting Chairman of SoPHE (Society of Public Health Engineers) and Steve Vaughan, Regional Director of AECOM, who told the students that they were very encouraged by what they had seen. Individual winners and students awarded apprenticeships will be announced at a special presentation on World Plumbing Day – 11th March.

The challenge was jointly organised through the college and Sanjay Modasia, Operations Manager at JA Brooks Mechanical Services, with the help of Mark from Kylemore Services Ltd.

Sanjay gave out participating certificates and told the students: “It was great to see the passion in the room today. If there were problems, you retraced steps and sorted them out – nobody gave up. You all have a lot to be proud of with what you have achieved.”

Programme Manager for Plumbing at the college, Rennie Llewellyn, said: “I want to thank all the visitors here today – the manufacturers and suppliers - who have given up their time and who have provided materials to make this day possible. Thank you also to the students who have been focussed and have worked hard.”

The college, which is the only college in the UK to have been awarded a centre of excellence accreditation by SoPHE, is grateful for all the support given by industry:  JA Brooks, Kylemore, AECOM, Hargreaves Foundry Drainage, Blucher, Saint-Gobain, Pegler, Geberit, Tilgear, British Gypsum and CIPHE (Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering).

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