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Former student returns to College to speak about the importance of trade unions

Former student Nicholas West, from Unite the Union, came back to College last week to give a talk titled The Importance of Trade Unions.

Along with his colleague Nabila Ahmed, who is studying for a Masters in International Political Economy at the University of Manchester, Nicholas spoke to students about how unions can help them as they begin to contemplate working in either part time or full time jobs.

He said: “We travel all over Essex and London talking to 14 to 18-year-olds about this issue because we feel it is very important that people know their rights and know what unions are there for.

“We give help and support to young people before they get into the workplace, introducing them to unions and what unions actually do. We have run campaigns and have managed to secure a pay rise for young workers.

“Since we have been giving these talks, we have heard from many young people about the terrible way they have been treated by employers, or the unfair hours they have been made to work – one 16-year-old told us she was locked in a shop and made to stay until 1am. We want people to know that the unions are there to support them in cases such as that.”

Nicholas attended College from 2010 to 2012 and studied Film Studies, Moving Image Arts and Creative Media Production BTEC in Radio.

He progressed to study Editing and Post Production at Ravensbourne University and from there launched his own film-making company called Carbon Films, directing and producing short films. He now works as a Unite speaker as well as carrying on his freelance film-making.

He said: “I have really enjoyed visiting my old College and delivering this Unite In Schools session, teaching soon-to-be workers about trade unions. It was great to see the students ask such good questions and join in the discussions.”


Discover what some of our students go on to achieve once they leave us on our Where Are They Now? page