Our Governors

Dr. Gareth Thomas
Dr. Gareth Thomas

Dr. Gareth Thomas – Chair of Governors

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.

Dr. Tony Sewell – Deputy Chair of Governors

Dr Tony Sewell is the director of the London based charity, Generating Genius, which aims to help children, in particular black and mixed-race boys from working class backgrounds, to achieve educational success and to go on to University.

Dr Tony Sewell was Chair of the Mayor’s Education Inquiry which explored the critical challenges facing London’s primary and secondary schools. It has resulted in a London Excellence fund of 28 million pounds. Tony was recently counted as one of the 1000 most influential Londoners by the London Evening Standard.

Dr. Tony Sewell
Dr. Tony Sewell
Jennifer Jones
Jennifer Jones

Jennifer Jones – Safeguarding and Equalities Governor

Jennie is a Quality Assurance consultant with working in the field of adult learning. She brings extensive experience in the setting up of brand new curriculums in the Hair & Beauty sector, in multiple jurisdictions and with awarding organisations, such as VTCT. Jennie specialises in training trainers working within international education that are delivering UK qualifications, as well as in training international recruits. She has helped many new centres set up and gain approval to run courses, and has inaugurated their quality systems.

Jennie was previously the Internal Quality Assurer for many of LSDN’s courses and has now brought her expertise to the Governing Body. Jennie serves on the Equality and Diversity and Safeguarding  working group.

Adrian Samuda – Associate Governor (Student Rep)

Adrian works within the Croydon community helping to bridge the gap between local councils, training organisations and young people. He is a founder of the GMTW Youth club charity based in South Croydon, which focuses on getting young people into training and employment.

His main focus as a Governor is on directing local young people to LSDN so that they can establish a trade and career and have the opportunities in life to better themselves.

Adrian Samuda
Adrian Samuda
Bert Obika
Bert Obika

Bert Obika – Associate Governor (Partner Rep)

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.

Raymond Robb – Associate Governor (Communities Rep)

Raymond is very active in the community around Croydon and is currently employed as a support worker in shared accommodation working closely with clients assisting them with mentorship, back to work preparation, money management planning, guidance with education, and establishing foundational life skills. He has a lengthy history of mentorship and developmental skills with older and young people alike through previous community work and religious education.

Raymond is Founder and CEO of The Lions Society, which is a group of barbers who have come together to provide a platform to both tackle knife crime and to impact the community in the best possible way through a barbering academy. Using the experience of his own struggles, challenges and experiences as a youth he believes the Lions have something valuable to give to today’s young people.

The society has been successfully involved in helping young people start businesses, while offering integrational and social skills, and has been involved in job fairs, mental health days, football matches and other events. They were one of the organisers of the ‘Cut it Out’ campaign and held an event at Crystal Palace football ground to highlight the devastating effects knife crime has had in the community, and also to promote togetherness and unite people. In 2017 the Lions Society received the Mayor of Croydon’s Civic Award for voluntary group of the year. This award celebrates community heroes across the borough. Raymond has a passion to see today’s generation learn new skills and firmly believes that ‘What you put in, you get back out’. He is committed and passionate about impacting, empowering, and educating today’s generation. In turn he feels these young people will be tomorrow’s success stories.

Raymond Robb
Raymond Robb
Mahua Banerjee
Mahua Banerjee
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Mahua Banerjee – Independent Governor

Mahua is a project management professional with experience in project delivery, quality assurance, monitoring and evaluation and MIS (management information). She currently works as an Assistant Funding Manager at CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) in London and in the past has worked as a Program Manager for Quality Assurance and Management Information for further education in Bangalore.

Mahua has also worked as a volunteer for fundraising and communication at ELATT and currently serves on LSDN’s Governing Body finance committee.

Mayra Gallardo – Associate Governor  (Staff Representative)

Mayra has worked with London Skills & Development Network (LSDN) for the past three years in various roles and am currently the Digital Leanring and Student Development Manager and Staff Representative on the LSDN Board of Governors.  The relationship and interaction with the LSDN staff has enable Mayra 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, Mayra believes 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. She is a member of the British Educational Research Association (BERA) and British Sociological Association (BSA).  Mayra is also the founder and currently President of the Postgraduate Research Society at London Metropolitan University. In addition to  the extensive Education Admin and Pedagogy experience, Mayra is also trained front-end web developer and acting coach. She holds three degrees with the latest being a  Masters of Arts (Merit) in Education with the  dissertation focused on Managerial and Leadership and is  currently working on a PhD at London Metropolitan University.

Mayra Gallardo
Mayra Gallardo
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