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Focus on transferable skills to plug gaps in COVID recovery

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A new report out today (25 Jun) from @London_First in partnership with Lloyds Banking Group (@LBGplc) calls for more attention to be paid to transferable skills to drive a step-change in London’s skills performance.

Arising from a series of roundtable discussions, the report, Skilling London, identifies a set of pragmatic changes that will not only help the capital recover after the coronavirus pandemic, but thrive in the longer term.

Businesses have long struggled to find people with the right skill set that they need for their business, and this shortage has been magnified by the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic. This report urges both central and local governments to break down the barriers to reskilling the workforce, and focus more on the ‘soft skills’ that firms desire. Businesses also need to do more, and support education providers to develop the future skills required as the nature of work changes, including emotional intelligence, creativity, collaboration, and resilience.

The report calls for action in three key areas:

  1. Building the skills London needs to be future fit – from establishing a London-specific careers strategy and adult retraining scheme, to increasing business support to help build transferable skills in London schools
  2. Removing barriers to a reskilling and up-skilling revolution – from incentivising businesses to increase their investment in developing skills for the future, to enhancing recruitment practices and improved profiling of female and BAME role models
  3. Working together to keep London skilled – from increasing the share of business voice at the Mayor’s Skills for Londoners Board, to devolving skills powers and funding to London and other UK cities

Mark Hilton, Executive Director of People at London First, said:

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“The pandemic has placed unprecedented pressure on the UK labour market, and will have worsened the skills gap in the medium term. It is vital that the London skills system helps to train and reskill displaced workers.

“There has long been a lack of transferable and digital skills in school leavers, as well as a need for a strategy for lifelong learning and reskilling. This is now of crucial importance for our recovery and the future success of our capital. All parties – businesses, education, and government – must now work together to ensure that future generations are not left behind.”

Ed Thurman, Lloyds Banking Group Ambassador for London, added:

“The predicted impact on employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic makes building transferable soft skills such as confidence, communication and teamwork more important than ever. It is these vital skills that will lay the foundation for London businesses to emerge from lockdown and look to a brighter future for the economy and support the UK recovery.

“We will continue to partner with London First to ensure opportunities to develop and learn additional practical skills are accessible to all.”

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