One of the UK’s most influential women in Engineering and Construction has praised the high standard of teaching after studying with Capital City College Group (CCCG). 

Phebe Mann, who is Chair of the Institution of Civil Engineers London for 2022-23, completed a Plumbing Level 2 Diploma at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London and a short course in Home Repair and Maintenance for Women at Westminster Kingsway College. 

She studied both courses having already established an illustrious engineering and legal career spanning more than three decades and gaining a PhD and four Master’s Degrees. 

Phebe is a chartered engineer, chartered surveyor, chartered construction manager and a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. She was named in the Women in Engineering Society’s Top 50 Women in Engineering 2018.  

She has a PhD Collaborative Design, MSc Bridge Engineering, MSc Construction Management, MA (Cantab) Computer Science, LLM Construction Law and is a qualified barrister. 


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She has worked as a Specialist Judge for the Upper Tribunal and General Regulatory Chamber and has completed engineering projects for Westminster City Council and Cambridge County Council, as well as being a Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster, University of Reading, University of East London and Open University. 

Phebe decided to enrol on both courses to develop her practical construction skills and increase her awareness of the trades to enable her to better address a national shortage of workers in the UK. 

She said: “The students were very enthusiastic in their learning. The lecturers were excellent and devoted to sharing the skills of their professions and we learnt a great deal from the exercises and the feedback they gave us. They also provided high-quality videos of each topic, which we could view repeatedly until we understood the requirements of the course.  

“My lecturer for the plumbing practical class was very patient and empathetic to his students as he explained the steps we needed to take and the health and safety requirements for each task. He had a genuine understanding of his students and adapted his teaching to meet their individual needs.” 

Phebe is passionate about encouraging and inspiring more women to follow in her footsteps and pursue engineering and construction careers. 

She said: “Girls tend to do better than boys in GCSE and A Level results including science, mathematics and computing. These are all important skills for engineers and construction. Women excel in skills such as good communication, innovation, creativity and analysis. They should not be intimidated by working in a male-dominated industry.” 

According to the Engineering UK and there is a shortfall of 173,000 workers in the STEM sector, while the Construction Skills Network says 266,000 new workers are needed by 2026  

“If you are passionate about engineering, discover your potentials, seek opportunities, equip yourself, develop a positive learning attitude and be determined to be successful,” said Phebe. 

“Don’t be discouraged by failures. Every success is built on many failures. Don’t give up if you believe you can do it.” 

Apply now for Engineering courses here and Construction courses here

Students from Westminster Kingsway College had the chance to gain a real insight into the building industry after undertaking work placements with Morgan Sindall Construction.

Around 20 Construction students visited the Bedford Passage building site in Cleveland Street, Camden, which is being redeveloped by the University College London Hospital Charity.

The £50 million project is due for completion in 2024 and will comprise and NHS medical centre along with a mix of commercial and residential properties including social housing.

Ronnie Sheehan, 16, and Frankie Paul, 17, were among four students chosen by Morgan Sindall Construction to gain an extra week’s work experience after visiting the site.

Ronnie said: “I would like to do something at a management level. I’m interested in being a quantity surveyor as I really like maths and working with numbers, it’s the challenge.

“Being on site has opened my eyes to what a construction environment is really like. You get to see it for yourself, it’s not stuff you can learn in a book. There were trades on site that I hadn’t ever have heard of, but they make sense when you think about it.”

Frankie said: “I’m on an electrical course and I’d like to be hands-on with a trade on a construction site. I’m more of a practical learner, that’s how my brain works best, so being here on site and seeing things for myself has been brilliant.

“Work experience like this is a really good opportunity to make sure this is the career route you want to pursue. Being on site has shown me how much more goes on here; all the deliveries and organising trades, etc. It’s not something you always think about in the classroom.”

During the initial visit, students were given a tour by Daniel Mayger, an Apprentice Site Manager, and Freddie Thomas, who is on a year’s placement as part of a BA (Hons) Quantity Surveying.

Daniel told the students about his apprenticeship and showed them how the piles were driven into the ground and concrete was poured over them to make watertight walls.

The students further heard from a site engineer and a groundworks contractor about their work on the site. They also took part in an insulation pricing workshop and learnt about risk assessments and the legal and commercial aspects of construction.

Paul Jennings, Community Investment Manager at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “Construction is not often seen as a career choice, but the industry needs to recruit new people to fulfil future roles and developments in the industry.

“The Government’s plan to drive economic growth through infrastructure delivery will only be achieved with the recruitment of a skilled workforce. These skills are not just site based; there are exciting career opportunities in HR, marketing, finance, procurement and business development.

“It is vital we continue to strengthen links with educational institutions such as Westminster Kingsway College to train our workforce of the future.”

Find out more about Construction courses and apply here.

With Westminster Kingsway College’s help, a desolate patch of wasteland in the heart of London has been transformed into a vital and beautiful space for the whole community. In the process, more than 150 young college students have gained invaluable work experience working on the site.

The 1-acre site, between the British Library and The Francis Crick Institute to its north, was derelict, unused and unloved until The British Library (the site’s owners) and the developers Stanhope worked with the charity Global Generation (a charity that specialises in ecological education and urban food growing as a foundation for connecting people to nature) to plan a temporary urban community garden, while The British Library consults on its longer-term redevelopment of the site.

The garden is somewhere for people to come and plant and cook together; a space for people and the natural world. The garden has growing space in planters, an orchard, a community kitchen and office in converted containers, a supported community allotment, a straw bale roundhouse and a MAKE space (in partnership with UAL Central St Martins and Somers Town Community Association). The garden enables both Global Generation and teams from the British Library to deliver projects for the local community of Somers Town.

Kim Caplin, Westminster Kingsway College Principal, explains: “Our involvement in this fantastic project started when Georgia Jacob from the University of the Arts London contacted me to see how the college could support the garden’s creation. The college is always looking for real work opportunities for our students and this provides an amazing opportunity for students to demonstrate the skills they have learnt on their courses. We are delighted to be able to participate in such a worthwhile community project.”

It became apparent that a lot of work was needed to get the Story Garden fit for use by the public, including new paths; fully plumbed-in sinks, both inside and outside; lights and other electrical installations.

Enter Dean Gibson, the Programme Manager for our Plumbing, Electrical Installation and Construction courses for 14-19 year olds. He decided to harness the skills of his Construction Skills Level 1 students to help get the Story Garden up and running for the local community.

Around 150 young people are on the college’s Construction Skills courses and Dean and his staff put the students into teams, each with specific skills. For example there were construction teams (painters, carpenters and bricklayers) and teams of plumbers and electricians. The work that was carried out included: ground work (paving and concreting), plumbing appliances into the toilet areas, painting rooms, sanding and varnishing floors, and fixing fence panels.

Each team of students did a two-week rotation at the site, which is just a 15-minute walk from the college’s King’s Cross campus, where they usually study.  And, just like on any other building site, the construction team did their two week rotation first, and only when their work was complete, could the other student teams like plumbers, electricians, and painters and decorators, do their work.

Westminster Kingsway student laying a path

The college was careful to ensure that the students got the maximum benefit from their time on-site, with the minimum possible disruption to their studies. As Dean explained: “We made sure that each team’s two weeks of work experience fitted into the timetabled practical elements of their course, so they could do their work experience around their usual studies. It’s been great for the students to be able to use the skills that we’ve been teaching them, in a real practical situation, and to benefit local people.”

The college’s work is now complete and the Story Garden is ready for use. As Kim Caplin says: “The result is a beautiful garden that everyone can enjoy. The students and Dean’s team have done a wonderful job and I know they learned a lot in the process, as well as gaining really useful work experience.”

To find out more about the Story Garden, please visit their website.

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 Part of Capital City College Group
Part of Capital City College Group