London South East Colleges is kicking off the new academic year with a brand new Chair of Corporation. Stephen Howlett, previously CEO at London’s oldest housing association Peabody, has taken the helm this month and replaces former Chair Roger Dawe, who stepped down earlier in summer after five years in the role.
Stephen has spent over 13 years at Peabody which owns and manages several thousand homes in and around the boroughs of Bexley and Greenwich. Along with his expertise in the social housing and commercial sectors, Stephen arrives with a wealth of experience within further and higher education. He was Pro-Chancellor at the University of Greenwich for four years as well as a board member and Vice Chair at Canterbury College for nine years.
Stephen is a product of further education himself and credits the sector for guiding him into his successful career. He studied for A-Levels at West Suffolk College and then went on to study for a degree at the University of Greenwich.
Commenting on his appointment, Stephen says: “I would never have progressed to university without going to college first. It enabled me to work in a different way, supporting me to develop new skills. I am therefore committed to the FE sector and am delighted to be taking up the role of Chair at London South East Colleges.
“My aim is to give more young people in the region access to high quality skills-focused education; which is crucial for social mobility and will benefit the economy as a whole. Apprenticeships are key to this so I am pleased to see the College’s commitment to delivering these across a range of industries.
“It has never been more important to equip young people with skills; both in terms of their own careers and for businesses needing to secure skilled workforces. Colleges are ideally placed to deliver hands-on education yet successive Governments have failed to adequately invest in FE. This must change and I look forward to working with London South East Colleges and supporting such an important sector.”
Principal and CEO of London South East Colleges, Sam Parrett, says: “We warmly welcome Stephen as the new Chair of our College Corporation. His background and commercial expertise will be of huge benefit to our students and the communities we serve.
“Following last year’s merger of Bromley College with the former Bexley College and Greenwich Community College to create London South East Colleges, we have been working hard to strengthen Further and Higher Education provision across the region.
“We are now focused on several major developments including a new aviation college at Biggin Hill and the expansion of our construction provision to a larger site. Stephen is extremely well placed to support us with this work and will provide a strong steer for the College.
“Stephen has also been part of several mergers in the past so will help us consolidate the work we have done to date. I look forward to working with him to achieve our many ambitions over the next four years.”
London South East Colleges offers over 1000 courses across its eight campuses in Bromley, Bexley, Greenwich and Orpington. A wide range of qualifications are offered at different levels to suit all abilities and interests; from degrees and professional courses to apprenticeships and vocational programmes.
The college also works with hundreds of employers, ensuring each curriculum meets the needs of employers and therefore creating excellent career pathways for students.
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