The newly elected MP for Erith and Thamesmead, Abena Oppong-Asare, has made her first official visit to London South East Colleges. She came to judge students blogging entries that will send the winner into the first round of the Bank of England and Financial Times School Blog Competition 2019/2020.

Ms Oppong-Asare was elected in last year’s General Election replacing Teresa Pearce MP who retired after nearly ten years in Parliament. Ms Pearce first notified the College of the competition and urged our students to get involved as this year’s main theme concerns the economy and climate change - a subject very close to the heart of many young people.

The national competition invites students to explain, in less than 500 words, what can be done to allay the risk of climate change and consider the roles played by government, companies, regulators and investors. The judges will be looking particularly for good research and arguments backed up by sound reasoning and solid evidence and data.

Level 2 and 3 Business students from the College’s Bexley Campus have been hard at work researching the subject since the beginning of December and have been fortunate to receive professional input from two very relevant local employers. Divindy Grant, Town Centres Project and Street Manager from London Borough of Bexley and Chris Jones, Director of Risk Management from Cory Riverside Energy came along to talk about how climate change is affecting their business and the steps they are taking to prepare for the future.

Deputy Head of Faculty and Business Tutor Tessa Oksanen has been leading the project to engage as many students as possible to take up the challenge. Engagement Officer Karina Thomas and Chris Tyler from the Colleges’ work experience and employability department then shortlisted six candidates to present their blog to Ms Oppong-Asare at the judging event in our #ThePlatform on Friday 24 January.

After much scrutiny and consultation, the winner, Jennifer Nyarko, was chosen to progress her blog to the national competition. Staff from both the Bank of England and the Financial Times will be judging the entries - looking closely for originality, clarity, analytical insight and good writing. The winning blogs will be announced in April.

Declaring the winning entry, Ms Oppong-Asare addressed guests at the judging event and said: “It’s a pleasure and an honour to be invited to judge the shortlisted entries today. I should also say that collectively, you have set me quite a task to decide which blog stands out amongst so much first-rate writing. I’m very impressed with how much groundwork and probing investigation has gone into this and how well supported you have been by your tutors.

“In the end, I chose the blog that I felt addressed all of the competition criteria clearly and effectively, tackling the issues head-on and putting forward the most credible argument for world political, business and industry leaders to come together and act immediately to save the planet from falling into a state that is beyond repair.”

Elated to be chosen, 19 year-old Jennifer from Woolwich said: “I can’t believe it. I’m very passionate about this subject and that is why I have put so much hard work into it recently. As a project, this has been really engaging and something that both groups have been able to get their teeth into. Much of the time we have worked together in teams to research the effects that the environment has on our economy and particularly how it impacts on our everyday livelihoods. Just to be chosen to go forward into the main competition means so much to me.”

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