From education to employment

Investment designed to help people back into work and imrove skills

The Learning And Skills Council in collaboration with the London Skills And Employment Board will invest £600 million across the capital to help enhance skills levels and get more people back into work by next year.

The LSC’s shift in its funding and priorities is aimed at the better availability of job and skills services for Londoners and to equip them with skills necessary to return to work and progress up the career ladder. At present, 20 per cent of London residents have poor literacy skills and 50 per cent are even unable to do basic mental arithmetic. In addition, 15,000 young people in London are not in education, employment or training (NEET).

To deal with London’s low employment rate which is a stark 69% at present, Employability Demonstration Pilots have been established across its 11 Further Education colleges to boost partnership opportunities between skills and employment agencies.

In line with the London Skills and Employment Board’s strategy that has prioritised pre-employment training, the Skills for Jobs programme will receive an additional £22 million in 2008-9 to help job-seekers gain enough qualifications to apply for paid employment successfully and crack interviews. The LSC has also planned to work with Jobcentre Plus to provide more flexible employability pathways for individuals and employers. To implement these plans, it will spend £11 million on providing Jobcentre Plus clients with basic skills training.

In addition to the skills budget, another £1 billion will be invested on building or renovating college campuses across the city. Currently, only 13 per cent of London’s employers use FE colleges to train their staff. The LSC has promised to develop 20 new standard colleges to offer excellent service to employers.

The LSC believes that its investment will reap good results:

 1,300 more 16-18 year olds will participate in Further Education

 Over 10,000 young people will take up Apprenticeships / on-the-job training

 Over 83,000 young people will be supported by the Education Maintenance

 5,000 more adults will take Level 2 courses and 3,000 more adults will take Level 3 courses

 There will be over 18,000 new Train to Gain learners and 2,600 Skills for Life

 6,000 workless Londoners will be trained on employability skills programmes

 13,000 workless Londoners accessing pre-employment training opportunities andjob vacancies through Local Employment Partnerships

David Hughes, LSC Regional Director for London, commented: “We want to join up skills training, pre-employment support and learning at work so that people can get a sustainable job with prospects because they have the right skills.”

According to Harvey McGrath, Vice Chair of LSEB, the plan is a first step towards aligning the adult skills funding of the LSC with other agencies and the board’s emerging strategy.

Rinku Chatterjee

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