Our Governors

Dr. Gareth Thomas
Dr. Gareth Thomas

Dr. Gareth Thomas – Chair of Governors and Quality Lead

Dr Gareth Thomas is Managing Director of his own consultancy business, as well as being a Chair,  Director and Associate Director of a number of other businesses. Prior to establishing Skills and Employment Support Limited, Gareth held a number of senior roles in the skills sector on behalf of Government. Gareth’s role’s included Director of Integrated Employment and Skills for the Learning and Skills Council, leading pre-employment programme design and implementation nationally for the Skills Funding Agency as Head of Programmes for the Unemployed and Head of the Area Relationship Team (East Midlands), overseeing the quality and performance management of many Colleges and Training providers across the East Midlands (including Apprenticeship delivery).

Gareth left public service in 2014 to establish Skills and Employment Support Limited. Since then Gareth has been invited to speak at numerous national conferences and events, and has maintained his close relationship with policy makers. Gareth specialises in working with Independent Training Providers, providing challenge and guidance in matters of governance, funding compliance and quality. Business growth, market entry, and exit are also areas of specialism. In 2019 Gareth was named as the Institute of Directors Non-Executive Director of the Year for the East Midlands.

Carole Palmer
Carole Palmer

Governor for Safeguarding, Strategic Partnerships and Business Development

Carole worked with London Skills & Development Network (LSDN) in a Quality and Curriculum role, she has recently resigned from this role with LSDN and has agreed to join the Governing Body.  Her role as the Safeguarding, Strategic partnership and Business Development lead will help to ensure compliance with Ofsted, ESFA/DfE and accredited awarding bodies.

I have worked in education and training for over 25 years, the last 7 of which as a consultant for LSDN. I also run my own business which is an OCR accredited training centre delivering vocational and managerial qualifications. I hold a Masters Degree in Education and have established a good reputation with both Awarding Bodies and OFSTED through my previous dealings both on behalf of LSDN, my own business and other organisations where I have undertaken a consultancy role.

I passionately believe in education and its role in enabling individuals to fulfil their potential in life. This is particularly important to those who have been disadvantaged through disability, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or social status. I also believe that education can be instrumental in enabling ex-offenders to turn their lives around and make a fresh start. Throughout my career I have been involved in vocational training and fully endorse its contribution to a skilled workforce within the local community.

During my time at LSDN I have seen the organisation grow and flourish and look forward to playing a strategic role in its further development as a member of the Governing Body.

Bert Obika
Bert Obika

Bert Obika – Governor Industry & Delivery Partnerships

Bert Obika as Project Manager for Dynamic People was an active delivery partner for London Skills & Development Alliance.  His Engineering experience and his role in the sector will bring industry knowledge and expertise to the organisation.

I am an accomplished Learning and Development Manager with comprehensive experience of working within both private and public-sector organisations with twenty four years’ experience working in Learning and Development across Engineering and Health and Social Care sectors. I have an outstanding history of managing successful Employment Skills and Career Development programmes and am highly proficient in developing practical processes and systems to promote and enable greater efficiencies in Learning and Development, excellent training programme design and development skills, good presentation and communication abilities.

I have BSc and MSc degrees, Postgraduate Certification in Education and Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration (Education Management). I am commercially astute, methodical and have great customer-focused approach to work, as well as a strong drive to see things through to completion.

Mayra Gallardo
Mayra Gallardo
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Mayra Gallardo – Staff Representative

I have worked at London Skills & Development Network (LSDN) for the past 2 years in various roles and am currently Online Learning Coordinator and SELT Tutor and I have taken the role of Staff Representative on the LSDN Board of Governors.  My relationship and interaction with the LSDN staff will enable me to keep a communication channel open between staff and the Governing Body, pass on information more widely within the workforce, to ensure staff wellbeing, and be consulted over certain workplace matters to promote effectiveness.

After spending two decades working in Education with Primary, Secondary and Further Education, I believe the importance of a good education; It is crucial to the overall development of an individual and the society at large and has the power to change a life. I am a British Educational Research Association (BERA) member and hold the President position of Postgraduate Research Society at London Metropolitan University. In addition to my extensive Education Admin and Pedagogy experience, I am a trained front-end web developer and acting coach. I hold a Masters of Arts (Merit) in Education with my dissertation focused on Managerial and Leadership and I am currently working on a PhD in Education from London Metropolitan University.

 Contact details:  mgallardo@lsdn.org.uk