From education to employment

London’s Skills Strategy to Pass to Mayor of London’s Office

The debate is finally over and the dust now has a chance to settle. The time for discussion has passed, and the decision has been reached on tackling skills needs in London.

The Education and Skills Secretary Alan Johnson MP has put an end to the speculation and has announced that Ken Livingstone, the current Mayor of London, is set to lead the Skills and Employment Board. This Board is intended to move the economic and developmental growth of London. The former Education Secretary and current Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Ruth Kelly MP, has also announced that the Mayor is to have the responsibility of promoting adult skills in London.

A Larger Review

The change in leadership is part of a larger review. The creation of the Board follows the Government’s consultation on additional powers for the Greater London Authority (GLA) launched by David Miliband, Secretary of State in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, in November 2005. The Board will comprise top London business leaders and representatives of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) for London and Jobcentre Plus.

Following their appointment and establishment, the Board are to have the task of determining the Post 19 adult skills strategy for London. This will not be outside the national parameters for skills targets, but rather will work within them to address the specific skills requirements of the capital. The LSC will retain the day ““ to ““ day delivery task for London’s skills, and the Board will have responsibility for the strategic direction of the London skills strategy.

Inherent in the body of the strategy is the need to focus skills training on adults returning to work or to help adults re ““ skill within work. The strategy will therefore concentrate upon training and skills for adults already in the labour market or for those seeking to re-enter the labour market. In this way amongst others, the strategy will also address the needs of London employers, linking training and skills with jobs and employment / employability.

World Class City

Speaking at his announcement, Alan Johnson said: “London is a world class city that needs world class skills. And employers need to be at the centre of providing the right skills for our economy. Our Further Education White Paper outlined a greater role for business in shaping training and guidance for colleges. We are delighted that the Mayor is helping to make this happen in London and are confident that he will be a powerful champion for skills and will be able to use his influence to involve more employers in the delivery of skills for the Capital.”

It is not exactly surprising to find that the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone is delighted at the announcement; after all, he has campaigned for this change for many months. Mr. Livingstone said: “I welcome the Governments commitment to establish the Skills and Employment Board for London which provides us with a great opportunity to work with business, employers and trainers to ensure all Londoners can contribute to and benefit from Londons economic prosperity.”

The Chair of the LSC, Chris Banks, said: “This is a great opportunity for London and the LSC welcomes the creation of the new Board and the Mayor’s new role as champion for skills in London. We want to see the Mayor’s economic strategy for London and the views of employers informing the way skills are planned and delivered in London. The focus of the Board will be on adult skills. The LSC will work closely with the Board, the London boroughs and other key groups to ensure that we meet the needs of Londoners and London employers.”

Jethro Marsh

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