From education to employment

Council leader shares his career story to inspire LSEC Greenwich students

Anthony Okereke

Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Cllr Anthony Okereke, delivered an inspiring talk to students at London South East Colleges’ Greenwich Campus last week.

As an alumni of the College’s Bromley Campus, Cllr Okereke spoke about his career journey – which he began by successfully gaining a BTEC qualification, then progressing to university and into a successful political career.   

Last May, he was elected as the Borough’s first-ever black leader, having grown up in Woolwich and living there for his whole life. 

Speaking to over LSEC students, several councillors, officers and staff, Cllr Okereke shared his career story and the challenges he has overcome. He spoke about his passion for excellence in local government and offered some inspiring words to students, saying:   

“As students, you have the opportunity to change your own life. When I attended this college, tutors had an open-door policy, which meant I could go and see them and ask them for help – I made a promise to myself that no one was going to stand in my way. 

“The best you can do is try. If you are to be a leader tomorrow, you need to be one today!”

Cllr Okereke’s talk was part of London South East Colleges’ Landmark Lecture series. This has seen many inspiring speakers coming in and sharing their experiences, expertise and insight with students, staff and local communities. Former speakers have included the first female CEO of Lloyd’s of London, Inga Beale, London Marathon Events Director, Hugh Brasher, FE Commissioner, Richard Atkins, Police Commander, David Musker and many more.   

A Q&A followed the Lecture, providing further insight into Cllr Okereke’s career and current role. After the event, guests were invited to view plans and hear more about the £24m redevelopment work that is currently taking place at the campus.   

The ‘Future Greenwich’ project, being undertaken in partnership with L&Q, marks an exciting chapter in the College’s history. The new campus will provide a modern, green and inspiring learning environment for students. This will support an innovative curriculum and help generate new skills, employment and training opportunities for local people.   

In addition, the development will make an essential contribution to the Borough’s housing targets by providing almost 300 new homes, half of which will be affordable.     

Dr Sam Parrett, Group Principal and CEO of London South East Colleges opened the event and welcomed guests. She said:   

“We are extremely grateful to Anthony for giving up his time to join us today. Not only is he a much-valued alumni of our College, but with such deep, personal roots here in Greenwich, his commitment to the Borough is clear to see.   

“For our students listening today, the message they are hearing is that anything is possible in terms of their career – and that they have made a great start by being here, studying at college.    

“We are delighted that Anthony has joined our prestigious roll of ‘Landmark Lecture’ speakers. We look forward to continuing working together as our Future Greenwich project progresses – with the joint ambition of providing the very best education and training to our local community.” 

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