From education to employment

Proposals to improve Londoners employability and skills.

The first strategy of the London Skills and Employment Board proposes better support and guidance services to help Londoners gain the confidence, motivation and skills needed to get a decent job.

Other targets set out in the strategy, which will now go out to public consultation, are designed to give London’s employers more say in the process of improving skills and employability.

The Mayor said: “London is one of the world’s most exciting, dynamic and diverse cities with a thriving economy that is growing at an unprecedented rate. Significant new employment opportunities are emerging linked to major developments including Crossrail and the 2012 Games. However whilst London employees are considerably more productive than the rest of the UK, Londoners experience some of the highest levels of worklessness in the country with particular inequalities in Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority communities as well as amongst women and people with disabilities.

The strategy sets some challenging targets including increasing London’s employment rate to 72 per cent by 2013, reducing the proportion of Londoners with no qualifications to 11 per cent by 2013 and increasing participation in training of those in work to 15 per cent over the same period.

An ambitious new Employer programme should work to better meet employer’s recruitment and skills development needs. Colleges and learning providers will be encouraged to work more closely with employers to ensure that they are providing the skills employers need.

The strategy recommends that funding and delivery agencies work more closely together so that employment and skills services become more integrated. The aim is to integrate skills and employment further so that employers can recruit Londoners with the right skills, which will in turn enhance London’s globally competitive labour market.

David Hughes, Regional Director for London LSC said: “London has a unique set of challenges, which combined lead to high levels of unemployment. There are massive opportunities ahead with the regeneration of large parts of the city as a result of London hosting the 2012 Games. Having the Mayor, employers and public sector agencies working in partnership behind this strategy is a powerful force for change. Now more than ever, we have the momentum and support to really tackle skills needs in the Capital.

“We must ensure that all our citizens have the opportunities to contribute to and benefit from London’s success. This draft strategy starts an important debate about how we make best use of all our resources to draw on the talents of all Londoners.”

Mark Fisher, chief executive of the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) added “The SSDA welcomes the strategy’s renewed call for employers to be centre-stage if we are to succeed in our aim to increase the levels of economically viable skills among London’s workforce.

“A key route will be through the employer-led Sector Skills Councils (SSCs). For the first time, employers are playing a pivotal role in shaping training provision to ensure that their workers are equipped with the relevant skills to help their businesses and industries prosper in the future.

“A lack of economically viable skills is the greatest threat to businesses, our economy and to social justice. The strategy presents a significant opportunity for employers across London to make an important investment in their own future.”

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