Mayor to London’s businesses: help me create a world-leading skills system

Friday 24 November 2017

 

Draft strategy to help Londoners benefit from economic opportunities 

Businesses asked to lay out challenges and needs 

Document identifies key skills challenges facing the capital

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today outlined his ambition to make the capital’s skills and adult education system the envy of the world.

His draft Skills and Adult Education Strategy – which has been published for consultation – is a call for ideas to London’s businesses, of all sizes and sectors, to help shape the future of the capital’s skills offer by outlining what they need and what they can contribute to build the workforce of the future.

Sadiq is calling for a devolution deal for London’s 16-18 education, careers services, the apprenticeship levy and replacement for EU funds. His strategy includes his plans for the Adult Education Budget, which will be devolved to London from 2019, focussing on tackling London’s low levels of basic skills such as literacy and numeracy among groups including disabled people, care leavers, ethnic minorities and the unemployed.

It also advocates a more collaborative approach between City Hall, London’s Boroughs, central government, skills providers and employers to ensure training matches the needs of businesses of all sizes and sectors.

Despite an increase in the number of Londoners in work, the city’s unemployment rate is still above the national average (1), wages are struggling to keep pace with the high cost of living (2), and the capital remains the most unequal region in the country (3).

Low levels of education and skills continue to hold many young people and adults back from fulfilling their potential, particularly among disadvantaged groups (4). Many Londoners, including older workers, do not get the information and advice they need to navigate the options available, realise their aspirations and progress in work or further study (5).

Alternatively, those in work can become stuck in low-skilled, low-paid work with little or no opportunity for progression. To meet these challenges, the Mayor is calling on:

  • London’s skills providers to be more agile in their response to the needs of Londoners and London businesses;
  • London’s employers to increase their focus on developing and progressing their staff (including by using the apprenticeship levy);
  • Government to go further by devolving wider post-16 skills funding to ensure London’s skills system delivers for Londoners and businesses.

The strategy outlines the Mayor’s vision for empowering all Londoners with the skills they need to succeed economically and in wider society, and for businesses to have access to a pool of talent to compete in the global market.

To achieve this, the Mayor has outlined plans to create a post-16 technical and vocational education and skills system that meets the needs of Londoners and businesses, now and in the future.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “There is much to celebrate in education and skills in the capital: our schools now have the best GCSE results in the country and we’re home to successful colleges and world-class universities. My strategy aims to build on our successes and strengthen London’s skills system even further.

“We need to do much more to help Londoners make the most of the city’s fantastic employment opportunities, helping them towards a rewarding and fulfilling career.

“We must ensure every Londoner has access to the training they need – based on their talents and informed by the needs of businesses – along with excellent career advice.

“If we’re to build the workforce of the future we have to equip Londoners with the skills they need in a system which leads the world.”

The strategy was launched at the annual Skills London careers event, organised by London First. Chief Executive of London First, Jasmine Whitbread, said: “London’s economy is driven by the people who live and work here and business has a huge role to play in developing skills and getting Londoners into jobs.

“But a gap persists between industry and education, which sees too many people entering the workplace without the skills and experience they need to succeed. Only by working together, and planning for the long-term, will we be able to develop a skills system that helps London build its home-grown workforce.”

Skills for Londoners Taskforce member and CEO of Creative Skillset, Seetha Kumar, said: “This skills strategy is a great opportunity for the Mayor, industry, the business community and education providers to come together to deliver high-quality and industry-relevant skills to Londoners to help them succeed in our thriving city.

“As an employer representative myself, I recognise only too well how important having skilled staff is for thriving, growing businesses in a globally competitive landscape. Through stronger collaboration between industry, education providers and London government, London can achieve a transformative skills and education offer.”

Deputy Chair of London Councils and Executive Member for Business, Skills and Brexit, Cllr Peter John OBE, said: “London Councils has long championed the importance of good careers information, advice and guidance that boosts the confidence and understanding of all Londoners so that they can have successful futures.

“We look forward to working with the Mayor in developing a skills strategy that provides young people with more opportunities to gain meaningful insights into their career options, and gives learners and businesses the skills necessary to thrive in a post-Brexit world.”

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