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Q&A: My Newham, Annette Cast - UEL

PUBLISHED: 17:00 27 July 2018

Archant

University of East London's Annette Cast, discusses employment rights, zero hour contracts and the need to put community focus at the forefront of everything we do

What’s your connection with the borough?

Before joining the University of East London (UEL) in April 2017, I was deputy principal at Newham College for two years. I was responsible for everything relating to curriculum, teaching and learning, quality and the student journey.

What’s the best thing about working or living in the borough?

Giving local people the opportunity to grow academically and develop their employment skills in their local area. I love raising the profile of students to local employers, which is something I prioritise.

What one thing would you change?

Nobody should be sleeping on the streets.

Use three words to describe the area.

Enriching. Exciting. Potential.

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

The most inspiring person I’ve ever met is Sir Magdi Yacoub. He was one of the first surgeons in the UK to pioneer heart and lung transplants. He has a world class reputation but has never lost the human touch and puts his patients first. He also takes part in charity events.

What new law would you introduce if you were the prime minister?

If I were the prime minister, I would abolish the qualifying period for employment rights, which states that you must have worked for an employer for a minimum period of time before gaining rights like redundancy pay.

I would also abolish the zero hour contract of employment, where employers aren’t obliged to provide a minimum number of working hours.

If you were the editor of this paper, what issues in the borough would you focus on?

I’d focus on more community events, people sleeping on the streets, more activities for people not in education, employment, or training, skilled employment opportunities for local people, achievements of local people, and knife and gang crime.

That’s quite a list but they’re all important.

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