From education to employment

Spending increase of 14% over next 3 years to tackle worklessness in London

London’s adult skills budget is set to rise to over £672 million over the next three years, toallow the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and the FE sector to offer better qualitycourses which will be more responsive to the needs of individuals and employers. Theincreased investment will provide thousands more adults in London with the skills theyneed to get a job or move up the career ladder. The figures were contained in the annualGrant Letter to the LSC from the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills,John Denham. The amount spent in London will increase by 14 per cent between nowand 2010, from £588 million, to £603 million next year, and £672 million by 2010-11.

Representatives from London’s FE colleges and providers heard the news at an LSCevent attended by Secretary of State John Denham, LSC Chairman, Chris Banks, LSCChief Executive, Mark Haysom, Vice-Chair of the London Skills and Employment Board(LSEB), Harvey McGrath and LSC London Regional Director, David Hughes. Thespeakers all united behind a powerful agenda to tackle worklessness in London, by raisingskills levels and getting more employers engaged in training their staff.

The LSC’s Statement of Priorities “Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Lives”has also beenpublished, setting out the organisations priorities up to 2010-11. The priorities are to raisethe educational achievement of all young people and adults by 2020, increasing thenumbers of people with basic literacy and numeracy skills, as well as the number withhigher skills at GCSE equivalent Level 2 and A level equivalent Level 3. There also needsto be a massive increase in the number of Apprenticeships and Train to Gainqualifications achieved in London.

David Hughes, the LSC’s Regional Director for London said:

“London is different. We have high rates of worklessness, massive competition for jobs,and a greater percentage of jobs that require higher level skills. We are hosting the 2012Olympic and Parlaympic Games and have work to do in ensuring that there are enoughpeople trained in construction, sports and customer service skills to benefit from theopportunities the Games will bring.

“Employers in London are also different so we need to tailor services like Train to Gainand Apprenticeships to meet their needs. This budget will allow us to do this.

“We have been working closely with the LSEB to secure this fantastic settlement for thecapital. This includes securing a stable line of funding for English for Speakers of OtherLanguages (ESOL) provision which has been an issue in London.

“We will need the help of all colleges, providers and employers in London to meet theambitious targets set by Government, in particular the challenge of increasing thenumbers of apprentices and the numbers of employers using Train to Gain”.

The funding settlement will allow the LSC greater flexibility to adapt national programmes like Train to Gain to better meet the needs of Londoners, and this in turn will ensure greater success in meeting targets set by Government. London LSC is also piloting a £20 million Level 3 Train to Gain programme for women, which equips them with vocationalskills in key areas such as business and construction with the aim of reducing gendergaps in these sectors.

Secretary of State John Denham said:

“Today’s announcement amounts to a kick-start of the Government’s drive to put Britain in the premier league for skills. This work will help ensure the future economic News released on 20 November 2007 Public Document 3 of 4 competitiveness of the country. It will raise aspirations, improve life chances and strengthen our families and communities”.

Mark Haysom, Chief Executive of the LSC said:

“This year we are ramping up our focus on people who are not in work. We want to givethem the skills they need to break out of the vicious cycle of unemployment and poverty.And we won”t stop there. We want more people to progress in learning ““gaining the skillsthey need to prosper in their chosen careers”.

Meeting these ambitious targets will require the LSC to continue to work closely at a locallevel with the Further Education sector and employers. Colleges and providers will need tobecome more flexible in the courses they provide so that they can benefit from theincreases in investment. This will involve providing a “blended”offer to employers wheresome provision is fully funded by the LSC, some by employers and some by learnersthemselves.

Following on from the publication of “Better skills, Better jobs, Better lives”, the LSC will be publishing a Regional Commissioning Plan for London in January 2008, which will set outthe specific funding and planning priorities for London.

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