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.@MayorofLondon boosts construction skills for Londoners with new academy

Skills for Londoners Taskforce

More Londoners will be able to acquire the crucial skills they need to access jobs in the capital’s construction sector as the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, today officially launched his new Construction Academy.

The Mayor also today (6 June) published London’s first ever Skills and Adult Education Strategy – Skills for Londoners – which aims to ensure all Londoners have the skills, education and training they need to succeed and help the capital’s economy to thrive.

Sadiq believes London’s housing crisis is the single biggest challenge facing the capital and risks leading to an exodus of talent, as increasing numbers of young Londoners find themselves unable to afford to live and work in the city.

The Mayor has already made significant progress in tackling London’s need for more housing. He is on track to deliver his ambition of starting 116,000 genuinely affordable homes by 2022, while in 2017/18 more than 12,500 new affordable homes were started – the highest number since City Hall took on responsibility for housing.

However, this hard work could be undermined by a looming skills shortage in London’s construction sector, which is threatening to drive up costs and delay much-needed developments. There are also still concerns around Brexit and the future status of EU workers, who currently account for around a third of London’s construction workforce.

Fulfilling his manifesto commitment to work with schools to improve careers advice, the Mayor also announced today a £1.4 million extension to the London Enterprise Adviser Network (LEAN) – which matches volunteer business advisers with school leaders to help them offer better careers advice and work more closely with businesses.

This will triple the size of the existing Network meaning up to 700 volunteers will work with at least 470 schools and further education colleges across London.

The Mayor’s Construction Academy has been developed with the support of construction employers, industry experts and skills providers to close the gap between the need for more homes and the shortage of skilled construction workers. Rather than a single centre, the Academy is a network of construction skills providers across London which will work closely together and with construction employers.

The Academy is partly funded through the London Economic Action Partnership’s (LEAP) Growth Deal with central Government, which included £8 million allocated to the programme. The Mayor committed to publishing the Strategy and launching the Academy in his manifesto.

A Mayor’s Construction Academy ‘quality mark’ has been created to identify high-quality construction skills training provision. The Mayor today announced which skills providers have been awarded the quality marks and will join councils, housing associations, homebuilders and construction companies in being eligible to bid for funding to better coordinate skills training with employers’ needs, as well as engaging with local schools to promote construction careers.

Later this year, quality-marked providers can also apply for investment from the LEAP’s Skills for Londoners Capital Fund to develop state-of-the-art construction skills training facilities.

Last April, the Mayor announced he would invest £114 million in equipment and facilities at London’s further education colleges and other skills providers, delivered over the next four years through the Skills for Londoners Capital Fund.

Of this, up to £88 million will be available from this summer through the LEAP – with £7.2 million ringfenced for the Mayor’s Construction Academy Capital Programme for providers already quality mark accredited.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

“London is home to some of the most exciting and dynamic talent but there’s no denying we face a shortage in construction skills and that this is hampering our ability to tackle London’s housing crisis.

“To make matters worse, we risk an exodus of talented Londoners, who could leave the city in large numbers because they can’t afford a good quality home.

“I’m committed to building the workforce of the future – and a key part of this is recognising the best skills providers across the city and using them as exemplars from which others can learn.

“London faces a number of skills challenges and today I have laid out my plans to address these and, in so doing, make London’s skills system the envy of the world.”

The Mayor today launched his Skills for Londoners Strategy at the King’s Cross Construction Skills Centre, where he met Londoners training in carpentry, plumbing and other construction skills.

The Strategy places social mobility, inclusion and diversity at its heart, focuses on post-16 technical and vocational education, adult education and employment support, and considers pathways from school into further learning and work.

The Strategy also aims to tackle the fact that women, young Londoners, disabled Londoners and those from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are under-represented in the labour market.

In particular, it addresses how the capital can take advantage of the devolution of the Adult Education Budget (AEB) to the Mayor next year. This will see the Mayor take direct responsibility for investing around £300 million each year in providing adults in London with the skills they need, including basic digital, English and maths skills, as well as English for speakers of other languages (ESOL).

It will also help City Hall to make sure that funding is better focused on meeting need and achieving outcomes for Londoners and London’s businesses, enabling the Mayor to support greater social mobility.

Abdul Choudhury, RICS London Policy Manager, said:

“RICS is reassured to see the Mayor of London taking such an active role in addressing the construction skills crisis.

“The construction sector faces pressures on many fronts. At a time when we have increased workloads and demand for homes, we face a skills cliff edge due to an aging workforce and Brexit, alongside low levels of new entrants into the sector.

“By creating a strategy to coordinate action, providing funding and focusing on attracting new talent, with an emphasis on diversity and inclusiveness, the Mayor can make better use of existing resources and greatly increase the talent pool we draw in.

“However this is only part of the long term solution. Once we develop the skills, we need to ensure that they survive market cycles by using public procurement to fill the gaps when workloads are low. We need to ensure that older construction workers are supported to stay in the sector in more appropriate roles and transfer their skills to younger generations. And finally, we must ensure we upskill the existing workforce and stress that future construction workers adapt to new ways of working and encourage the use of emerging technologies.

“Addressing the skills and productivity challenge is critical to London’s property sector. Although this is a good start, the solution will take time, patience and continued commitment from both public and private sectors.”

Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, Matthew Ryder, said:

“London is one of the world’s leading economic centres, while also being a hotbed for innovation, creativity and design. This means there are tens of thousands of exciting job opportunities for young Londoners. As Deputy Mayor for Social Mobility, it is my job to ensure that everyone, regardless of their background, is able to access these roles.

“The expanded London Enterprise Adviser Network will connect even more schools with London’s employers. This will help to ensure that all young Londoners can build the networks they need to lead successful and fulfilling lives.”

Chief executive of Creative Skillset and member of the Mayor’s Skills for Londoners Taskforce, Seetha Kumar, said: 

“I welcome the Mayor’s commitment to developing a more skilled workforce and creating clearer vocational pathways into employment.  We look forward to working with Sadiq and his team on identifying ways to support the screen-based industries in building a more inclusive workforce and tackling recognised skills shortages.”

Claudia Harris 100x100CEO of The Careers & Enterprise Company, Claudia Harris said: 

“We are delighted that the London Enterprise Adviser Network is planning such impressive growth and expansion, as announced by the Mayor of London today.

“Working in 470 schools and colleges, and with up to 700 business volunteers in the coming years means that the young people of London will be given the support and inspiration they need to ensure they are prepared for the world of work and so they have the bright futures they deserve.”

Leader of Southwark Council and chair of the Mayor’s Construction Skills Advisory Group, Cllr Peter John, said: 

“London has an incredibly dynamic economy but faces a number of serious challenges – not least ensuring London can tackle its housing crisis through the delivery of more affordable homes.

“In Southwark we have set up our own Construction Skills Centre with our development partners Lendlease, to help ensure local people in and around Southwark have the skills and right qualifications to meet the increasing demand in this area. With this new strategy, the Mayor is outlining the bold steps he will take to create a world-leading skills system and develop the workforce of the future.”

Human Resources Director at Redrow Homes, Karen Jones said: 

“The announcement of the first construction training providers to be awarded the quality mark is an important and exciting milestone in the establishment of the Mayor’s Construction Academy.

“The development of the Academy will help London’s construction sector access the skills it needs to deliver the capital’s housebuilding targets and to train the workforce in new and emerging construction techniques.”

Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council said: 

“I am delighted Sadiq has chosen to launch this strategy in Camden.

“Along with the Mayor’s Construction Academy, it heralds an exciting development that will benefit the skills and education of all the capital’s residents, including in our own borough. It will help us build the homes our communities desperately need and create the businesses of the future.

“The new strategy builds on the fantastic work undertaken at the King’s Cross Construction Skills Centre and our focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) to prepare young people with the skills and knowledge for the 21st century economy.

“We want to make sure that the growth in our borough and London as a whole is benefiting all of our residents and this is an important step forward.” 

About the Skills for Londoners Capital Fund:

Last April, the Mayor announced that the London Economic Action partnership (LEAP) would invest £114 million in high-quality equipment and facilities at London’s further education colleges and other education and training providers. This will be delivered over the next four years through LEAP’s Skills for Londoners Capital Fund. 

To date, more than £25 million has been awarded to more than 60 projects across London, focussing on STEM, Digital, adult education and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). This investment will support more than 40,000 additional learners – of which more than 5,500 are (SEND)learners – as well contribute to the reduction of over 6,500 students not in education, employment or training (NEET).  Support for facilities will deliver more than £1.5 million in savings and allow the accommodation of 2,800 apprenticeships in their premises.

About the London Enterprise Advisers Network (LEAN): 

The Enterprise Adviser Network (EAN) is a national programme, supported by the Careers & Enterprise Company, that facilities social mobility through matching up to two senior business volunteers (Enterprise Advisers) with a school’s careers leader. The national network is active across all 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships and to date in London has been delivered in partnership with the London Enterprise Action Partnership, City Bridge Trust and Central London Forward.   

In London, the London Enterprise Advisers Network (LEAN) has: 

  • engaged 125 schools (105 secondary and 20 primary) across 18 boroughs;
  • recruited over 200 Enterprise Advisers from more than 150 different organisations;
  • provided 1,000 hours of volunteer support to schools; and
  • held three Speed Networking Events engaging more than 1,200 students and 850 business volunteers.

Skills providers which have been awarded theMayor’s Construction Academy quality mark are: 

  • London South East Colleges (Greenwich)
  • Sigma Group (Southwark)
  • West London College (Hammersmith & Fulham)
  • M.I.T. Skills (Hounslow)
  • Uxbridge College (Hillingdon)
  • CITB Apprenticeships (London-wide)
  • Barking & Dagenham College (BDC) and Prospects College of Advanced Technology (PROCAT) (Barking & Dagenham)
  • Havering College of Further & Higher Education (Havering)
  • Barnet and Southgate College (Barnet)
  • Newham College of Further Education (Newham)
  • South Thames Colleges Group (Wandsworth and Kingston)
  • New City College (Hackney and Tower Hamlets)
  • The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (Haringey)
  • London South Bank University (Southwark)
  • United College Group (Camden and Brent)
  • NESCOT College (Sutton)
  • Lewisham Southwark College (Lewisham)
  • The STC Group (Havering)
  • Waltham Forest College (Waltham Forest)
  • Prospects College of Advanced Technology (Redbridge)
  • Simian Risk Management Limited (London-wide)

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