Author: Laura Bushell

My Short Course Experience : Gillian Belchetz

Gillian Belchetz

Gillian Belchetz

We spoke to Gillian Belchetz who completed the Writing for Children 10-week course last year, to understand what she learnt from the course and has been up to since.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am from Lancaster but have lived in Leeds for 40 yrs. I was a nurse for 37 years but also love writing, so undertook and MA in Writing for Performance and Publication at Leeds Uni as a mature student. My first book, ‘A Game of Consequences’ was published in 2015 by Fisher King Publishing, and raised money for The Alzheimers. In lockdown, and inspired by my grandchildren, I started writing for children and my first kids book was published at the end of 2021. I volunteer one day a week at a homeless charity in Leeds, St George’s Crypt, and wanted to write something that was both engaging and would raise the issue of homelessness with children. I have sold almost 1000 copies and raised over £3,500 for St Georges. Supporters have bought 350 of these books to be donated to local schools, and this year I will be visiting schools, giving them copies of the book, doing a reading and talking to the children. I love walking our dog Winnie, and am learning to play bridge – badly!

Why did you choose to take this course at City?

The Writing for Children course was well structured and specifically aimed at learning the craft of writing for children, which is similar to writing for adults, but also different.

What did you learn on the course?

Each week introduced a different aspect of writing so that we discussed how to open a book, plot, character, endings, editing etc. It was thorough and a lot was crammed into ten weeks. The different requirements for picture books up to Teen literature. Brilliant.

How did you find the virtual classes?

Excellent. A great mix of information delivery and participation.

What are the key things you have taken away from the course?

Great examples of books for different age groups were used which I find a useful reference. Writing exercises to inspire and motivate. Information on structure and how to keep a child’s attention.

What have you achieved since completion? 

I wrote and had published ‘Clara’s Geni-Ous Plan – To help a lady who is homeless,’ and experienced working with an illustrator for the first time.

I liaised with Booths Supermarkets, (Waitrose of the North) who have been selling it and donating their profits to the homeless charity I am supporting. It has been a roller coaster and a real thrill to see it on a supermarket shelf.  You can order the book now through this online form.

To find out more about the course Gillian took visit our Writing for Children webpage and for more about our other writing courses browse our course finder tool.

 

Skills to Start a Business

You’ve got an idea for a business and now you’re ready to take the plunge into making your dream become a reality but don’t know where to start. Fret not, as we will be sharing tips and guidance on how to gain the knowledge and support required to ensure that your new venture is successful.

Building the foundations 

If you are at the early stages of starting a business but aren’t sure where to begin, you will first need to consider the process of forming a new start-up. Ranging from legal requirements like registering your business, researching the market ensuring there is a demand, to writing a marketing plan and setting up a bank account. 

At City, University of London we offer a 10-week evening course Starting Up in Business which can help you to take the next steps, with the assistance of expert guidance. 

Money matters 

Provided that you have funding secured to get your business off the ground, you will need to ensure you have sufficient knowledge of financial management so that your organisation runs smoothly. This applies to pricing of your products/services, taxation, interest and borrowings, investment, performance measurements and risk mitigation. 

The Finance for the Non-Financial Manager City short course explains the fundamentals of finance, including an understanding of standard financial statements, and operational messages that can be derived from them. 

Home is where the start is 

Regardless of if you are an online business or not, it is crucial to have a presence on the web so that people can easily access your business.  

Thankfully, it is relatively straight forward and inexpensive to build a website with many services offering free hosting tools. If you want to keep costs down and create a website that has more functionality, then you can set up a site yourself. The Building Websites with HTML and CSS3 helps you to develop the fundamental skills required to plan, design, develop, validate and maintain websites using HTML5 and CSS versions 2 and 3. 

Once the website is in place, you will need to fill it with enticing and engaging copy. What you write will set the tone for your company and how you want to come across. The copy needs to be interesting and informative, keeping in mind SEO to ensure keywords are relevant to increase your search rankings.  Writing for Web and Digital Media course is ideal to write more effectively and engage your audience.

Finally, any good website is visually appealing and can attract the attention of users. To do this, it is helpful to be able to produce creative assets and imagery to make your pages stand out from the crowd, aligning to your brand. Photoshop: An Introduction is a useful course teaching you how to utilise the software to edit, manipulate and create captivating artwork.  

Spread the word 

Having completed your market research, you may have identified a specific audience who will likely be interested in your product or service. Once this is established, the next step is to produce appropriate messaging to encourage interest. 

In the Marketing: An Introduction course you will learn the key theories of marketing and how to apply them in practice. Our introductory marketing course employs a mixture of presentations, discussion and group work, exploring how to gain a competitive advantage by applying marketing tools and techniques and by adopting a customer orientated approach. 

For a more digitally focused outlook, Digital Marketing Fundamentals  provides an overview of key digital and marketing skills, including: 

  • Planning a website 
  • Website promotion 
  • Email 
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) 
  • E-commerce and integrating digital marketing with traditional marketing. 

Perfect your pitches 

Whether you need to persuade investors to support your business venture or deliver powerful presentations to key stakeholders, being able to effectively and confidently deliver presentations is essential for communication. 

 Our interactive Presentation Skills course helps you develop skills for crafting persuasive presentations and delivering speeches with lasting impact. The programme combines insights and techniques for an effective preparation process with opportunities to put these into practice.  

Teamwork makes the dream work 

Recruiting staff is a big step in the life of any start-up and for a small business. Hiring employees is not only a legal minefield but a massive financial burden. 

Our Human Resource Management course explains practical topics such as recruitment, remuneration and administration, to more theoretical components, such as fostering good employee relations, the Human Resource course is the ideal way to develop HR knowledge and expertise.  

If any of the courses mentioned are of interest, visit City short courses to discover more. Good luck!

Benefits of learning a language  

For many of us, learning a second language is nothing new. Some may have distant memories from school mustering up your first words in French including ‘Oui’ and ‘Comment tu t’appelles’. Others continued their journey, studying languages throughout middle and upper school and even into college or university. However, not everyone had this opportunity, the interest or the motivation to learn a language at that time in their life. 

Choosing to study as an adult feels more rewarding in many ways, primarily because you have a choice and can pick what interests you. There is a much wider variety of languages at your fingertips from Japanese to Portuguese, Arabic to Italian. Learning is more accessible, with content online 24/7 via apps, platforms such as YouTube, or taught as live short courses by professional native speakers at reputable institutions like City, University of London.  

If you are considering trying your hand at a second language, you will find many benefits that could make significant changes and improvements to your life, and not just professionally.  

Improving your memory 

Who would have thought that learning a language can help to improve your short-term and long-term memory? It is well known that we can build muscle memory through crosswords and puzzles, but research has also found that learning a language can help, as it promotes brain growth. It can help to recall words and places, which can benefit your work and everyday life. 

 Building new relationships 

It might be that you are considering picking up a specific language because you have met a partner who speaks in this tongue and you want to be able to communicate better to improve your relationship and connect with their family and friends. Alternatively, having friends or colleagues who speak another language could spur your interest to learn, surprising them with your new skills while feeling a sense of achievement. Plus, you will feel more involved in conversations where English is not spoken, and if your name is mentioned you might finally understand what is being said. 

Window to other cultures 

Taking a short course in a language means that you won’t just be learning new words and numbers, you will also gain an insight into the culture. You can discover popular traditions, celebrated holidays, what the locals eat and do for fun. We are lucky to live in a world full of diversity, and even if it might not be possible to get to the other side of the globe at this moment in time, you will get a glimpse of various cultures through native speakers who teach language short courses. 

 Creating exciting opportunities  

As well as benefitting both your health and relationships, this skill can open the doors to new opportunities. Depending on where you are in life you might want to study in a foreign land, purchase a retirement property near the beach or progress in work and land a promotion overseas – there’s really no downside to where it can take you. The world is your oyster! 

Keeping the brain in shape  

Numerous studies have shown that learning a language can help stimulate the brain and in turn aid the brain’s growth and development. It can also improve your concentration as supported by a study led by Dr Thomas Bak. Similarly, Swedish scientists performed scans to monitor the brain proving that learning foreign lingo can in fact increase the size of our brains. Evidence suggests that it may even lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

So, what’s stopping you? Join a short course by either starting at the very beginning with a language that interests you or build on your existing skills with an advanced level course. Find yours today at www.cityshortcourses.com.  

4 Must-Read Debut Novels by Black Authors

By Sila Kabongo

To celebrate Black History Month, we’ve picked four brilliant books that celebrate  – and reveal – black culture. Read, learn and enjoy.

Love in Colour by Bolu Babolola

A Sunday Times bestselling collection of mythical tales from round the world ‘remixed’ into joyful modern love stories. I loved that the author made all the female characters the narrators, giving them a voice, contrary to the original tales. Like competitive swimmer, Osun – inspired by the story of Yoruba river goddess Oshun – who is courageous enough to leave her polygamous husband for another man who sees more than just the surface.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

After seeing that this novel is based on a young Black British woman in London, I had to read her story. Queenie Jenkins, 25, is a Black Jamaican journalist living in Clapham with her grandparents after splitting from long-term partner, Tom. Soon she takes a downward spiral, getting involved with the wrong men, and self-sabotaging at  work. Despite the constant drama, her friends and family are always there to help her. Queenie is being developed into a TV series, coming to Channel 4  in 2023.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

This isn’t a mystery; we know the killer is Ayoola – a beautiful and popular Nigerian woman who attracts dead-end relationships. Literally. Her older sister and nurse, Korede, assists Ayoola with disposing of the bodies of her male victims. Korede is in love with a doctor at her hospital – but he is in love with her serial killer sister – and her loyalty is tested. I spent more time thinking about why Ayoola is psychotic than her crimes, analysing flashbacks to the siblings abusive upbringing. Winner of the British Book Award for Crime & Thriller Book of the Year 2020.

 Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

A poetic and emotional easy-read whose unnamed main character is a Black British male and photographer who falls in love with a dancer he met at a bar. Open Water is written in the second person, giving it an immediacy in which we, the readers, face racial profiling, loss, grief, and the strain that all the trauma puts on his relationship. Caleb gives no character a name, perhaps as a metaphor for us being in the shoes of the main character. A rare and rhythmic read for understanding the culture and perspectives of black men growing up in London today.

Read more of Silas book reviews at RealReadsOnline – Fall In Love With Reading.

Sila completed Introduction to Copywriting with Maggie Richards.

Short Courses alumnus shares his experience of Python course

We spoke to alumnus Jason Bradley to find out why he chose to take an online City short course with his colleagues and how it has helped him develop the skills required to progress within his career.

What were the main reasons you wanted to join this course?

The entities that we oversee are increasingly making use of programming tools to perform data analytics and we wanted to ensure that we stayed ahead of the curve and developed the skills needed.

Why did you pick to study this course at City?

Reputation of City, University of London and the course was a very reasonable cost compared to other, less well-known institutions.

How have you found the online classes and teaching environment?

The course material was excellent, and although the pace was quite quick (difficult with a mixed ability group) the material was manageable.

What did you learn throughout the course? 

As I had no knowledge of Python prior to the course, I learnt a great deal and it has helped me to understand the processes that are undertaken to build programs.

How will taking this course help you in your professional and personal life?

In my professional life it will help me engage with our stakeholders effectively and personally it has spurred me to look into how programming languages are use in Blockchain technologies.

Would you choose to study another short course at City? 

Yes, I am in fact already doing the follow up course on data analytics and machine learning!

If you or someone you know may be interested in our Introduction to Programming with Python or other related short courses then please visit our website.

Meet JavaScript course lecturer, Aris Markgiannakis

My name is Aris Markogiannakis and I am a Developer, a Lecturer and a Leader in London,  JavaScript Community organiser and creator of CityJS Conference. I have been teaching for the past 10 years at City, University of London and other institutions around London for the last couple years. My specialisation is in teaching Programming languages such as ASP.NET and JavaScript.

At the moment I am teaching the Advanced JavaScript short course, which happens to be one of my favourite subjects. JavaScript is a very flexible and at the moment on the top two Languages for developers.

JavaScript was invented in 1995 by Brendan Eich. At the very beginning was just a small additional scripting language to languages such as .NET and JAVA. Through the years it has developed to an autonomous programming language with the creation of NodeJS.  You can now do everything with JavaScript from reading databases, programming chips, and creating e-shops fully running with JavaScript. You will still need to know HTML and CSS as JavaScript is depending on those two web programming languages.

JavaScript comes with a vast toolkit that is developed by various companies and the developer community. Most recent one is ReactJS which is developed as an Open-Source project by Facebook. ReactJS is an abstraction on top of the core JavaScript and it fastens development by providing a set of tools and capabilities so that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time we create a new project. Other frameworks include VueJS, Angular. In addition there are tools such as JQuery which was quite popular a few years ago but with the creation of Frameworks its popularity decreased.

The most common mistake when you start learning JavaScript is by starting learning a framework instead of learning the core JavaScript.

  • The key advantage is that all frameworks change over time.
  • Frameworks are written with JavaScript so when something goes wrong you will need to understand why it doesn’t work you will need to know the basics
  • When using a framework you still need to use some of the core JS features.

When teaching my course , I make sure that  the student can get from  having a basic level of JavaScript  learns and understands the advanced concepts of JavaScript  and at the end can relate those concepts with the key features of the frameworks.

Some of the core areas we cover at my course are:

  • Arrays, Objects, Prototyping
  • Scoping, this, Hoisting
  • Event handlers, Bubbling and Delegation
  • Async and Await, Asynchronous JavaScript
  • REST API’s
  • TDD
  • ES6, Babel Transpiler
  • Modularisation of Applications and use of Webpack
  • Introduction to React

All those areas are covered with the main idea that students when end the course get to know how to easily adapt to a Developers working environment.

To sign up and join Aris’s course, visit our website.

 

 

 

Major Event Management webinar hosts an international panel

Students from City’s Major Event Management short course are once again given the chance to attend as leading international event practitioners come together for a discussion of the effects of Covid-19 on their industry.

This event will have a more international focus where special guests will discuss events from across the globe and how differently the pandemic has affected their work.

Kassiani Benou

Kassiani Benou

Born and raised in Kalamata, since 2006 Kassiani has been at the National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens (EMST), where she is the Arts and Cultural Manager and Communication Manager. Having taken her first degree in Greece, she completed her Masters in Arts and Cultural Management in New York and followed it with internships at some of the US’s great cultural institutions. A former host and editor of a national TV show Kassiani is also a founding member of an organization that focuses on the restoration and promotion of Ancient Greek theatres.

Aya El Kara

Aya El Kara

Aya El Kara has long been passionate about event management. After working on a wide variety of corporate and private events in Dubai – including the prestigious Dubai Shopping Festival – she co-founded her own company Essence-Ciel Events in her home country of Lebanon. Essence-Ciel continues today, with Aya as CEO, to provide clients with the best and most memorable events. Aya has also been very socially active, working to support the Beirut community during the period of inflation, covid lockdown and the blast of August 4th.

Glenn Spicker

Glenn Spicker

Glenn Spicker moved to Prague just after the Velvet Revolution and retired as an intrepid traveller and below average student of international relations. Excited about a new democracy and capitalism he ventured into the Restuarant business and also salvaged communist artifacts nobody wanted (or wanted to admit they had) and opened Prague’s Museum of Communism. 25 odd years later he still lives in the city and runs his Burrito Loco fast food shops, the jazz club U maleho Glena, the museum as well as 2 fine dining restaurants  Agave and Cali Brothers. He’s opened more then 20 different businesses…. some of which still survive as of this writing ).

Caroline Wade

Caroline Wade is a hugly-experienced freelance events professional who has worked for Primary Talent and Harvey Goldsmith Entertainments amomg others, and has a relationship of over thirty years with the International Live Music Conference.

Dave Powell

Dave Powell

Dave has 30 years’ experience in event ticketing. He worked at the Royal Albert Hall for 10 years. He has also worked for a number of ticket agencies and venues and in 2020 managed the set-up of ticketing for later cancelled Edinburgh International Festival.

Tune in tonight, Tuesday 13th April, 19:00-20:00 (BST) to watch the event on the City Short Courses Facebook page.

Short Courses Taster Week 22nd-26th March 2021

For the very first time, City hosted taster sessions online and live via Facebook for a whole week. The talks were delivered daily over lunch with a great turn out.

If you missed the live streams, don’t worry, we have recorded each session which is now available below for you to watch at your leisure.

To discover all of our courses starting this spring, visit our website www.cityshortcourses.com for more details.

Introduction to Copywriting – Maggie Richards

Introduction to Chinese Mandarin – Ping Chai

Major Event Management – Liam Devine

Project Management: An introduction – Marian Wancio

Photoshop: An introduction – Pete Polanyk

Curation and Exhibition Management – Renee Pfister

Introduction to French – Agnes Shepherd

Novel Writing and Longer Works – Martin Ouvry

Leadership and Management; An introduction – Geoff Llewellyn

Immigration and Asylum Law – Nasreen Choudhury

 

 

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