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.


The inaugural Southwark Business Excellence Awards will launch at a sparkling reception in the luxury Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard on 7th February.

The exclusive hotel in the iconic London landmark, which boasts some of the most spectacular views in the city from the 34th floor Ren Room, is a fitting location to unveil details of the borough’s exciting new awards programme.

Designed to celebrate the successes and achievements of Southwark’s vast and thriving business community, the prestigious awards are FREE to enter and are open to all types and sizes of enterprise.

Guests at the Invitation Only launch event will hear details of the various awards categories, including the premier award, Southwark Business of the Year. They will also learn about the highlight of the programme, the glittering, black-tie Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony for 400 people on 21st June, hosted by a celebrity compere.

The new 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, Grosvenor, and Sellar.  The programme is also supported by The Shangri-La Hotel, Jensen’s Gin and Media Partner, Southwark News.

Looking forward to the launch event, Richard Kalmar, Chair of Southwark Chamber said: “The launch of the Southwark Business Excellence Awards at The Shard offers businesses in the borough a unique opportunity to showcase their achievements.  Our rich and diverse business community and intensive regeneration programme has made Southwark synonymous with growth and development.  These Awards will promote the area’s many business success stories, highlight the entrepreneurs who bring prosperity here and market Southwark as a world class place to do business.”

Carole Kitching, Principal of Headline Partner Lewisham Southwark College, commented: “As one of the top performing colleges in London we are delighted to be sponsoring the recognition of excellence in businesses across Southwark. We work with many individuals and businesses within Southwark, and we’re excited to meet and celebrate with the nominees and winners.”

Cllr Johnson Situ, Cabinet Member for Business, Culture and Regeneration, at Southwark Council, added: “Southwark Council values the hugely important role that businesses play in our borough, stimulating our economy and generating jobs and opportunities for local people. We are pleased to support these awards, which will recognise and applaud some of our shining stars, and I am looking forward to meeting lots of successful Southwark businesses at the launch event, which will get the new awards programme underway.”

*TO REQUEST A PRESS-ONLY INVITE to this exclusive event, from 6pm to 7.30pm in the Ren Room, the Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, 31 St Thomas St, London SE1 9QU, please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Interested in sponsoring or supporting the awards? Please contact: Joanne Horton at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0208 726 7968

The Southwark Business Excellence Awards aim to recognise and reward the wide range of firms based in the borough, which stretches from Southbank to London Bridge and Surrey Docks in the east, and to Bermondsey, Peckham, Camberwell and Dulwich in the south.  The area is home to18,000 businesses, including major international companies and brilliant community businesses. It also boasts world class entertainment and arts venues as well as some of the best eating establishments in the city. To find out more:


The College hosted The Apprenticeship Levy at our Southwark campus attended by over 20 people from a range of sectors including technical recruitment, currency exchange and telecoms. The College was joined by The Southwark Chamber of Commerce who provided an update on the new government's apprenticeship reform. These new reforms aim to increase the quality of apprenticeships at the College and simplify the system.  

During the event, processes necessary to recruit an apprentice and how to assess to their digital account were some of the points touched on. When speaking about the Levy, Barry Langfield, Vice Principal of Development and Planning said, “The event focused specifically on the fine detail of the Levy and sought to provide assurances to employers that support was on hand from Lewisham Southwark College”.

Breaking down the different perceptions of apprenticeships was another key aspect of the event. Mr Langfield highlighted that doing this won’t be an over-night task as he says, “historically apprenticeships have related to more junior people within an organisation, and shifting this mind-set is going to take some time.”

The event is the first of many that the College will host to assist local businesses in the recruitment and development of apprentices to our workforces. 

Lewisham Southwark College has won a coveted South region Silver Award in the IAB (International Association of Bookkeepers)’ UK and International Business and Skills Awards 2017. The regional award, which was given to only a handful of IAB centres around the UK, recognises the College as a centre of excellence in bookkeeping and accounting training.

The IAB awards were presented on 7 December 2017 at a prestigious event held at the House of Commons Terrace Pavilion, which was hosted by IAB President and MP Fabian Hamilton.

A highly respected not-for-profit association, the IAB protects public interests and ensures that its members meet impeccable standards, while promoting the highest standards of bookkeeping training around the world.

Barrington Brown, Tutor at the College, says: “Receiving this award from the most important professional body in the field demonstrates that we are one of the foremost providers of high quality bookkeeping and accountancy courses in the UK.”

Find out more about our courses in business, accounting and law.


Two former students from Lewisham Southwark College have shown their awesome computer programming skills having won a coding competition at Queen Marys University London.

The pair – Showrov Abul and Nowman Islam – both gained a Level 3 Extended Diploma in IT at the College before going on to study for a Software Engineering degree at Queen Marys, one of the UK’s leading universities.

Showrov and Nowman battled it out with their fellow students to win the competition, and are now set to represent the University at a Europe-wide competition in France. If they triumph on the European stage, the next stage will be to take part in the world tournament.

Head of IT and Computing Adu Antwi, said Showrov and Nowman during their time at the College, 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.”




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