London is one of the richest parts of the UK, but it is also one of the most unequal, with the highest levels of poverty in the country. An inequality of access to opportunities, education, social networks and facilities exists, partly based on a blend of income levels, family history and support, and geography.

Having a meaningful occupation – be it working, training, studying or volunteering – enhances social inclusion through building self-esteem and the confidence to interact with others.

Occupation is one of the three key dimensions of the Lieutenancy’s strategy: Building bridges for a fairer London. As a convenor we will help enhance the efforts of people, charities and institutions to assist the disadvantaged gain employment, education or practical skills. We will use our influence to recognize and reward the social contributions of people, charities and enterprises to promote inspirational role models. The Lord-Lieutenant’s Council on Occupation was established to deliver this objective.

The Chair of the Council on Occupation is Sir William Atkison DL.

William Atkinson spent 42 years teaching in secondary schools mainly in Inner London, including 27 years as Headteacher of four different schools.

William has extensive experience of working with the voluntary sector. He is currently Chair of the Canal & River Trust, London & SouthEast Advisory Board. William has contributed to a wide range of TV and Radio broadcasts. In 2008 William was Knighted for services to Education and the Community.

William is married to Jacquie and they have four adult children.


The occupation council Mini Conference series

The Occupation Council will be hosting a number of Mini online Conferences throughout the year to give charitable organisations an opportunity for a “fireside chat” and to provide a communication platform for anyone interested in supporting young people.

  • May 2022 –  Hackney Quest

Hackney Quest aims to give young people, families and members of the community the practical and emotional support they need to develop and pursue their aspirations and deal positively with life’s challenges.

The help  build confidence, develop new skills, widen perspectives and opportunities, as well as uncover existing strengths and capacities. We connect people and help provide an environment where we can learn from each other through forging supportive relationships that realise the potential for positive change that lies within us all as individuals, families, and as a community.


William Atkinson spoke to CEO, Collette Allen to find out more about their mission.  Click here to find out more.

  • 25th May –  Ambition, Aspire & Achieve (AAA)  and The Streets of Growth. 

Ambition, Aspire, Achieve

Ambition Aspire Achieve (AAA) was founded in June 2016 by Kevin Jenkins OBE, because of a longstanding desire to provide opportunities for children and young people in the London Borough of Newham and surrounding areas. Since inception, AAA has delivered a range of services based at the Terence Brown Arc in the Park, an inclusive resource, delivery and neighbourhood play hub for children and young people living in Canning Town. Building on the success of services delivered at Arc in the Park, AAA’s second neighbourhood hub, the Glyn Hopkin Abbey Hub was opened in Stratford in the summer of 2018. 

Their vision is For all children and young people, regardless of background, ability or disability to reach their full potential, to build the esteem to have Ambition, the confidence to Aspire and the skills and self-belief to Achieve.

William Atkinson spoke to Chief Executive Jonny Boux to find out more about the Charity’s Mission.  Click here to find out more.

The Streets of Growth 

In 2001, following five years of intensive 24/7 late evening frontline work himself, founder Darren Way was awarded an international research fellowship by the Sir Winston Churchill Memorial Trust traveling to the U.S.A finding and collaborating with world class practitioners, who themselves were asking similar questions and building cutting edge approaches. Returning inspired and receiving international acclaim for what we were already doing in this field, he decided to build the intervention organisation in his hometown of east London. The core aim was to build a healthier bridge that interweaved organisation led interventions with community led interventions, with young adults at the centre of leading change in their lives, their streets, and their futures. Today, the charity has grown to become a multi award winning model of approach we now call the Appropriate Intervention Bridging Model ™

William Atkinson had the opportunity to hear more from Founder Darren Way. Please click here to see interview.

  • 15th March- The Ubuntu Round Table Project & Adab Trust.

The Ubuntu Round Table Project

The Ubuntu Roundtables Project was inspired by an experience one young man and his friends had with some police officers one night in Brixton. They were stopped and searched in a manner that escalated into a rough and distressing incident. Instead of just getting angry about it, they decided to set up a facilitated meeting with some local police officers to share their experiences, get to know each other on a human level and create some mutual understanding. Since then the project has grown and has been delivered in many boroughs across London.

A police officer at a Ubuntu Roundtable in Ealing told us: “As we arrived my colleague and I were quite skeptical and a little reluctant to be there. As we left we discussed how the experience had, to our surprise, been quite rewarding. The facilitators were impartial, we learned a lot and I would do it again”.

Another told us “I had no idea how difficult the lives of some of these young people can be”.

A young person told us “I had no idea that a police officer might be scared”.

Please click here to hear more from The Ubuntu Round Table Project at the Mini Conference.

Adab Trust

The Adab Trust is a London based charity that works with educators, employers and policy makers to improve the employment prospects of young people from challenging backgrounds.  They bring employers and academics together to ensure young people realise their potential.

For the conference, Adab Trust put together a video on “ A Philosophy of Youth Work” that drew on the common themes from 4 different strands to morph into an initiative for Looked After children.  Scouting, Elite Sport, phycology and executive coaching and employability work.  A link to the video can be found here

The conference closed with a quick  Q&A session which you can watch here