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UK Youth appoints new chief executive 

30 Oct 2019 News

Ndidi Okezie, chief executive of UK Youth

UK Youth has appointed Ndidi Okezie as its new chief executive. She takes over from Anna Smee.

Okezie, a former teacher, spent six years on the executive board for Teach First, and is currently the vice president of the Secondary School Portfolio for Pearson PLC.

In 2013 she was a member of the Department for Education’s Youth Work in Education Committee and currently sits on the Department for Education’s Character Education Advisory Group. Okezie is also a board member for youth homelessness charity, Centrepoint UK, the NCS and The Mulberry Schools Trust.

‘I am no stranger to the criticality of this sector’

Okezie said: “Having worked consistently in youth volunteering since I was a teenager myself, I am no stranger to the criticality of this sector. I know how invaluable the support UK Youth provides to youth workers and young people is and so I’m looking forward to progressing the incredible legacy the team has built to date.

“I’m passionate about social justice, quality access for underserved communities and the amplification of youth voice. I want to be of service; galvanising the UK Youth Movement, championing our young people and removing barriers to ensure they have a valued seat at the table.

“I feel fortunate to be joining the charity at a time when its reputation and influence is stronger than ever. I hope to build on the achievements Anna and the team have delivered and I look forward to working together to ensure UK Youth’s ambitious future goes from strength to strength.”

In August this year, UK Youth announced Smee, who had been chief executive of UK Youth since 2014, was moving to head up the Youth Futures Foundation.

The Youth Futures Foundation is an independent UK company established in February 2019 in response to the government’s commitment to allocate £90m of dormant asset funding to youth opportunities.

Smee leaves UK Youth on 7th November and Maddie Dinwoodie, deputy chief executive will briefly act as interim chief executive until the 6th January 2020, when Okezie will officially start.

Chair of UK Youth, Lady Anne Stoneham, said: “Ndidi is a remarkable leader with decades of experience in supporting young people. Not only did she excite the board members on the panel, but she also impressed the UK Youth Voice panellists with her vision and understanding of how to grow UK Youth’s impact, making it the best support to young people and youth workers. On behalf of the whole board and staff team, we are thrilled to be welcoming her to the UK Youth family. She joins at an exciting time as the charity looks to launch its new strategy in 2020.”

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