In the first couple of months of 2021, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) Law A Level students were offered valuable opportunities to get to know jobs within the legal profession and gain virtual work experience.
Students heard from practising barrister, Linda Appiah, who has been working in the field for over 20 years. She explained to students the differences between barristers and solicitors and why she prefers being a barrister. She also talked about her biggest challenges, including time management, working long hours and the need for good self organisation due to being self employed, as well as all the things that likes most about her work. It is never repetitive, she travels all over England and she can talk, argue and cross examine in court. Students asked what the most rewarding part of being a barrister involves, to which Linda answered that someone who she represented once told her that she made such a difference to their lives.
Aikohi Aire teaches Law at RuTC and has organised many of opportunity for her students over the last few months. She said, “During lockdown, Law A Level students attended a virtual Supreme Court tour, where they had the privilege to meet judges and ask them anything during a Q&A session. It was a brilliant opportunity for the students to join in, an eye opener what their job is all about and how they prepare for hearings. Students also had the opportunity to engage in two weeks virtual work experience, which gave them professional insights that will benefit their future education and career.”
To find out more about studying Law at RuTC, click here.
Isabella (Bella) Brown, A Level student at Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC), is a rising star in the weightlifting world and on track to one day compete at the Commonwealth Games and Olympics.
From a young age, Bella was a gymnast and competed nationally and internationally. After ten years, she decided to move over to CrossFit, a high intensity sport incorporating cardio, weightlifting and gymnastics. Her coach recommended to practise Olympic weightlifting alongside CrossFit to better her performance within the sport, however after about six months, Bella decided to shift to weightlifting full time. At her first competition in September 2019, she immediately broke a British record.
Since then, Bella has competed at various other competitions all around the country, continuing breaking records, including records in Snatch, Clean & Jerk and Total within her age group. In addition, she is a British Champion and top ranked U17 female regardless of weight class. Bella has some exciting opportunities coming up this year, including competitions in Singapore and Uzbekistan. Bella says, “Moving onto the next few years, I hope to attend multiple international competitions, Commonwealth Games and Olympics and be a medal contender.”
Currently, Bella is training and competing with the team from Brunel University, which British Weightlifting put her in touch with after she contacted them to get into the sport. About her choice to study A Levels English Literature, History and Politics at RuTC, Bella says, “I am not very interested in sports generally, so I set myself up for a career unrelated to my sport. I feel this will make my performance in the sport as well as my career better as I can fully focus on either work or training. Weightlifting isn’t a lifelong career, so I wanted something completely unrelated when I would leave the sport one day.”
RuTC supports Bella in her weightlifting competitions. Even though there are some challenges for Bella to balance training and college work, her teachers discussed her timetable extensively with her to allow time for her training. Bella knows how every week looks like and plans all her work in advance.
Helen Upfield, Head of Sixth Form at RuTC, says, “We have all been really impressed with the way in which Bella has manged to balance first year study of academic A Levels with her training and commitment to her sport. In class, she is always punctual, well organised and enthusiastic as well as being very modest about her 'other life' weightlifting. We wish her all the best in her competitions.”
On Monday 8 March, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) celebrated International Women's Day 2021 together with staff, students and alumni.
The College's Student Services Team created a collage, titled 'My Whole Self', featuring photos of female members of staff. Added to the photos were words to describe themselves to show aspects that others might not know or would be surprised about and are now displayed around the College. Descriptions ranged from 'mother', 'sister' and 'carer' to 'scuba diver', 'goal keeper', 'upcycler' and much more.
In addition, RuTC hosted a virtual event with a few of the College’s alumni to talk about their college time, experiences and career paths. Sherwin Mauro, RuTC Catering alumna who met virtually with our students a couple of weeks ago for a Q&A session, worked in several Michelin Star Restaurants and at BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) since studying at RuTC. Working in top level positions in the catering industry can be intimidating, especially since it can often be a male dominated industry. However, Sherwin’s passion for cooking and the confidence and skills she gained from her time at RuTC brought her to where she is today.
Austin Sharp studied Plumbing at RuTC and now runs his own business, WeFix, in Teddington. He frequently comes back to speak to our students, saying, "When I was a student I remember employers talking to us; it always filled me with a sense of confidence that, if I put in the work, I can achieve what they have too." His company WeFix supports RuTC students by offering work experience, and over the years Austin has employed several female apprentices, who completed their studies at RuTC.
TJ Jacobs studied A Levels at the College. Coinciding with ‘Women in Construction Week’, TJ shared the work she does at global construction specialist ISG as Social Value Manager. At College, TJ was a teenage parent and homeless, now at ISG, she helps to drive revolutionary change for communities and social projects, creating opportunities for all our students.
In February, the Head Chef of BAFTA Piccadilly, Anton Manganaro, visited Richmond upon Thames College’s (RuTC) Catering students for a virtual Q&A session. The British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA) is a world-leading independent arts charity, hosting award ceremonies throughout the year as well as workshops, scholarships and mentoring schemes.
Anton joined BAFTA Piccadilly in 2006, around the time when he met James Unwin, RuTC Head of School for Business and Service Industries, and Neal Hook, RuTC Catering Lecturer. Since then, Anton has visited the College’s Catering students several times to pass on his skills, knowledge and experiences. Anton started his career at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington and has since worked with a number of well known chefs. Before heading up the kitchen at BAFTA Piccadilly, he was a private chef.
RuTC Catering students had many questions about the industry, asking everything from getting hired to making it all the way to Head Chef. Anton highlighted the importance of punctuality, reliability and hygiene as well as a positive attitude, which are key qualities when he hires someone. He also stressed how education, such as a college qualification or university degree, go hand in hand with industry experience – providing both basic knowledge and insight on applying that that knowledge in a variety of ways. He also recommends that anyone leaving a job always tries to leave on a positive note, as this helps when moving onto the next position.
When it came to talking about Anton’s experiences working at BAFTA, he mentioned the challenges of adapting a dish to the mass number of people he is cooking for, keeping resources local and considering that it is served in the night after long hours of sitting, so must be kept light. His most challenging dish for a BAFTA award ceremony was a vegan themed menu.
In addition, students were curious about how the Head Chef’s business and personal life changed due to the pandemic. Having staff furloughed offered various possibilities, for example supporting friends’ businesses, however later in the pandemic redundancies followed and little revenue, especially due to cancelled events. At home, to keep his family entertained, Anton recreated takeaway dishes, such as curry, a variety of other Asian dishes and sourdough pizza, which has become a weekly occurrence.
Students also asked about what inspired some of Anton’s restaurant dishes. As he is an Irish Italian born Londoner, inspirations included his mother’s pasta Bolognese, his grandmother’s Irish stew as well as his wife’s Polish influence in putting Bigos on the menu.
James Unwin, Head of School for Business and Service Industries, said, “Anton has worked with Richmond upon Thames College since 2012 and has provided hundreds of students with opportunities to develop their skills and understating in the hospitality industry. Due to Covid, students have been unable to participate with work placements, however, Anton has continually provided support to all our students.
“The most recent Q&A session provided students with an opportunity to ask Anton about his personal experiences in the industry and what makes a successful chef. Anton spoke openly and honestly about his personal challenges and goals, particularly around the impact of Covid on the catering and hospitality industry. This enabled students to understand the challenges they currently face but also provided encouragement to use this time to continually develop their skills, confidence and aspirations.”