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Coinciding with National Apprenticeship Week, Lewisham Southwark College will open its doors from 5 to 9 March for a week of creative workshops and activities, aimed at giving visitors an insight into what an apprenticeship can offer.

Open to all, Apprenticeships Week will welcome young people and adults who want to find out more about apprenticeships, as well as local employers who are interested in taking on an apprentice or discovering how this could benefit their business.
The event will take place across the College’s three campuses – in Southwark, Lewisham and Deptford – where a range of fun and thought-provoking activities will be staged daily. These will include games such as matching celebrities to the type of apprenticeship that could get you to where they are, and taking part in ‘Mocktail’ and ‘canapé’ assembly challenges against the clock, giving a taste of the adrenaline experienced by catering apprentices. There will also be a Q&A panel with recent and past apprentices and employers, demonstrations put on by construction apprentices, and an ‘Apprentice Job Shop’ where participants can explore live apprenticeship opportunities.

Vanessa Packham, Director of Employment and Skills, says: “We are really looking forward to showcasing our apprenticeships to young people and adults who may not currently be working, or might not have considered this route before. Enabling them to earn a wage while gaining recognised qualifications and essential skills, apprenticeships are an excellent way of kick starting a career in a sector that sparks their interest.”

Lewisham Southwark College offers a wide range of apprenticeships in hospitality, creative industries, as well as business and construction. It is one of the highest quality apprenticeship providers in South London. The College is about to publish its success rates which will demonstrate that for two years it has been exceeding the national average success rate by over 6%.

The College’s Apprenticeship Week is part of the 11th National Apprenticeship Week (NAW 2018) during which employers and apprentices from across England will come together to celebrate the success of apprenticeships and showcase the benefits of apprenticeships under the theme ‘Apprenticeships Work’.

To find out more about our Apprenticeships Week, go to

You can also learn more about apprenticeships at

The London borough of Southwark’s first awards to celebrate the area’s 18,000 businesses are open for entries after a sparkling launch at The Shard.

Over 140 guests gathered at the Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, for the opening event (Thursday, 7th February) of the inaugural Southwark Business Excellence Awards in association with Lewisham Southwark College.

Business and political leaders speaking at the event, in the spectacular setting of the 34th floor Ren Room, urged the borough’s thriving business community to participate in the new, free-to-enter awards programme.  With 16 categories to enter, including Southwark Business of the Year (full list below), the awards have been designed to suit all types and sizes of business, from start-ups and SME’s to large corporates and social enterprises.

The awards, backed by Headline Partner, Lewisham Southwark College, and Awards Partners, Southwark Chamber of Commerce, Southwark Council, and White Label Creative, is sponsored by some of borough’s leading businesses, including British Land, and Grosvenor. The programme is supported by Shangri-La Hotel, Jensen’s Gin and Media Partner, Southwark News.

The highlight of the six-month awards programme will be the glittering, black-tie Gala Dinner and Charity Ball awards ceremony for 400 people on 21st June, hosted by a celebrity compere.

Barry Langfield, Vice-Principal of Headline Sponsor, Lewisham Southwark College, said the college worked with businesses right across the borough and applauded the aims of the awards to recognise their achievements.

“I am looking forward to the awards evening when we can celebrate together the truly excellent businesses we have in our community. We are very proud to be involved with the awards which recognise excellence within the community.”

Find out more at:

Two former IT students from Lewisham Southwark College have shown their exceptional technical skills having won second place in a prestigious European innovation competition on digital payment systems, held in Milan, Italy.

The two friends – Nowman Islam and Showrov Abul – both gained a Level 3 Extended Diploma in IT at the College before going on to study for a Software Engineering degree at Queen Mary University of London, one of the top universities in the UK and part of the elite Russell Group.

Nowman and Showrov battled it out against seven other teams of students at the ‘Future of Digital Payment’ competition in November 2017. Having pitched their ideas for making digital payments more secure, they were named runners-up by a jury which included major European banks such as Bank of Italy and Unicredit.

The event was run by multinational company Reply and attended by an audience of over 1,000 university students and executives from financial institutions.

Nowman says: “One of the best moments was after the event, when an executive officer from Reply approached us and asked us to send the company our CVs as they wanted to consider us for their internships programme. This was our best reward.

“Software Engineering is a challenging degree course but if you have the right foundation of knowledge and a passion for the subject, it’s a great choice as it focuses on the technology of the future.”

Head of IT and Computing, Adu Antwi, comments: “I’m delighted to see that these talented former students have won recognition for their fantastic coding abilities. It really does demonstrate that the IT foundations we provide students with at the College are the basis for building advanced skills which can take you anywhere.”

Toby Ott, who was born with Bilateral Anopthalmia (without eyes) is an enthusiastic video gamer despite being blind. His story so inspired Youtuber Berk Icel that he has made a short film about Toby, ‘Gaming through new eyes’, which has gone on to win multiple awards.

Toby, who is 27, studied for an HND in Business IT at Lewisham Southwark College, having previously attended the Royal National College for the Blind. Always interested in computers, he started to become fascinated by video games as a child and was determined not to let his disability get in the way of his hobby. Toby has learned to touch type and uses a special laptop with built-in speech software, getting a friend to teach him how to navigate each menu when playing a new game. In the documentary, Toby tells what it is like for him to experience video games, and offers suggestions for how game developers could introduce more audio features to help disabled users. Toby explains: “It’s challenging because obviously video games are very visual.

Music is a really important factor because it tells you the area you are in. Gaming has been a big part of my life and it’s great fun. I really want other blind people to try video games because they will, I hope, feel the same way.” ‘Gaming through new eyes’ has been shown recently at the Cardiff International Film Festival and Birmingham Film Festival where it was very well received.

Being mentored at the age of 16 had such a positive impact on IT student Tasa Onakpoma that he recently decided to set up his own company to help other young people benefit from a similar experience.

Tasa, who is studying Level 3 Software Development at the College, set up Mentors Hub last August, and it has already proved a great success. Mentors from major companies including JPMorgan, Ernst and Young, Dixon Wilson and IBM have signed up to the programme, as well as hundreds of students from a variety of schools, colleges and universities who are looking for mentoring.

Mentors Hub aims to give guidance and advice to young people who are undecided about their career path, or are having a turbulent transition to adulthood, empowering them to make positive changes in their lives.

The programme pairs a young person (mentee) with a mentor in their chosen career pathway. They then take part in planned weekly activities to discuss and improve the mentee’s understanding of the steps they need to take in order to reach their goal.

At the age of 16, Tasa was mentored by Benny Dembitzer, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who has specialised in the economics of developing countries, particularly in Africa. “He gave me hope that whatever I wanted to achieve is possible and encouraged me to connect with people in leading positions in the technology sector to build my network,” says Tasa.

He adds: “As a young person myself, I can understand the struggles life can throw at us. By offering a positive support system we can help young people to avoid the pitfalls that can derail their lives and career success.

“The most important thing is to have a positive mindset towards life no matter what your circumstances. You may feel that your efforts go unnoticed but my message is ‘please don’t give up’. The process and the journey to where we want to get, including the mistakes we make, can teach us a lot.”

Tasa believes that the skills he has learnt on his course at Lewisham Southwark College – such as the ability to present an idea effectively – have helped him to build Mentors Hub. He says: “Learning to create websites on my course has helped me to properly visualise and develop a plan before executing it. I couldn’t have managed a project of this size without what I’ve learnt at the College.”

Find out more about Mentors Hub.




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