From education to employment

LSC Says Mayor’s Office Should Not Gain Responsibility for London Skills

The Learning Skills Council (LSC) has rejected a suggestion by the Greater London Authority (GLA) that the responsibility for the LSC should be devolved to the Major of London’s office.

The LSC has responded favourably to three of the four options proposed in the Government’s paper, “The Greater London Authority ““ the Government’s proposals for additional powers and responsibilities for the Mayor and Assembly”. These include the development of a strong regional partnership to ensure a collaborative approach to skills-delivery in London, and strengthening links with regional partners. The Council also pledged its support for increased involvement and an enhanced leadership role for the Mayor in championing skills development in the capital.


However, it is feared that any major change could have a negative effect on learners, employers and training providers. LSC Chairman Chris Banks explained that, whilst “the LSC wants to work more closely with the Mayor and the GLA, to deliver the skills London needs to continue to be a world-class city,” it would favour a less disruptive approach to improving the services provided.

“We do not support the Mayor’s preferred option to devolve responsibility of the LSC in London to his office,” he said, “We favour an alternative approach based on constructive joint working, coupled with measures such as strong employer representation on our local councils and regional board.”

The LSC funding has helped more than 2 million Londoners gain access education and training in the past year, and the capital now has the lowest proportion of employers reporting a skills shortage, 2% lower than the national average. More than 350,000 people have taken the opportunity to improve their basic skills in literacy and numeracy, and 170,000 have enrolled in courses to develop English for speakers of foreign languages. Furthermore, the LSC for London achieved 125% of the Government’s “Skills for Life” target.

Success in London Praised by LSC

The LSC Regional Director for London, David Hughes, praised the progress made in skills development, saying that “the LSC is succeeding in London.”

“We have the highest number of 16 and 17 year olds staying on in education in the country,” he said, “[and] we are exceeding targets on Apprenticeships and Skills for Life and growing the number of people achieving in learning year on year. We believe the LSC continues to be best placed to lead in delivering London’s skills needs and we want to continue making a positive impact across the capital for the benefit of all Londoners.”

Chris Banks echoed the need to maintain the independence of the LSC, saying: “We do not believe it would be possible to sustain any credible national framework for skills delivery, essential for meeting the UK’s economic needs, without including London. We see no reasoned argument for such a wholesale change, nor why it would be deemed necessary on a pragmatic assessment of the current situation.”

Jess Brammar

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