From education to employment

Pan-London Partnership of FE Colleges Created

Ian Pretty, CEO, Collab Group

Collab Group and London Capital Colleges are pleased to announce a new agreement creating the London Capital Colleges- Collab Group Partnership which will support pan-London policy development and lobbying.

The partnership will allow for a stronger voice for the larger college groups within London and speaks to a need work collaboratively to find London wide solutions to the skills challenges faced in the Capital.

As partners we have an exciting opportunity to effectively influence and shape pan-London policy, collectively develop solutions to support technical & professional education across London, and speak to key industry sectors on a London-wide basis.

This is especially important given the issues that will have a significant impact on the London economy and the FE Sector in the coming years, notably: Brexit; the Government’s Industrial Strategy; the creation of Institutes of Technology; the Skills for London Strategy that the Mayor’s office is now beginning to work on; the devolution of AEB; and the Mayor’s stated objective of wanting the 16-19 skills budgets devolved to his office.

Ian Pretty, CEO, Collab Group said, “Working in collaboration to advance national and regional productive capacity is the mission of Collab Group. We are pleased to have the opportunity to strengthen our offer for London by partnering with London Capital Colleges. Our unique collaboration means we are best placed to present real solutions for government, industry, learners and job seekers across the capital.

David Byrne, Chair, Collab Group said, “The potential for technical and professional education in London, the potential to build a system that will impact the greatest number of learners, the potential to transform the economy through creating a highly-skilled, highly-productive workforce, is like nowhere else. As the London Capital Colleges – Collab Group Partnership, the largest colleges across London working in collaboration have the potential to dramatically transform the delivery of skills provision, and therefore the life chances, for millions of people, we are delighted for this opportunity.”

Sue Rimmer OBE, Chair, London Capital Collages Group said: “The opportunities for collaboration in London, which has the highest concentration of learners as well as training providers, cannot be overstated. London has a unique skills challenge as well as a unique chance to ensure that FE colleges are at the forefront of addressing that challenge. It is collaboration and using our vast combined expertise which will be key to success, key to finding the solutions that further the profile and focus of member colleges in addressing the skills needs of employers, individuals and job-seekers in London.”

About Collab Group: In December 2015, the Collab Group reviewed and revised its strategic objective. Its strategic objective is now to work in collaboration with others, to transform the UK economy through the delivery of high-quality technical and professional education. As part of the shift in the strategic approach of Collab Group has decided that it needed to take a more regional approach with an initial focus on the 3 non-English countries, the metro regions of England and London. As part of this it has established a smaller grouping of its 6 London members focused on pan-London skills issues.

LCC has a similar objective. The purpose of LCC is to ensure that the ‘voice’ and wealth of experience of London skills-based colleges is appropriately represented, and to further the profile and focus of member colleges in addressing the skills needs of employers, individuals and job-seekers in London.

There is a common theme in these objectives; how to ensure the Voice of the CEO/Principals of the largest college groups in London is heard on pan-London issues. In addition, membership of the two organisations

overlap. There are 11 members of LCC and this includes all 6 of the current Collab Group London member colleges. A partnership gives us significant geographical coverage with a college member in 24 of the 32 London Boroughs.

The members of the LCC-CG Partnership are:

  • Barnet & Southgate College (Collab Group & LCC)
  • College of Haringey and North East London (Collab Group & LCC)
  • College of North West London (LCC)
  • Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College (Collab Group & LCC)
  • Hackney & Tower Hamlets College (LCC)
  • Lambeth College (LCC)
  • Lewisham & Southwark College(LCC)
  • Newham College (Collab Group & LCC)
  • South Thames College (Collab Group & LCC)
  • WKCIC (Collab Group & LCC)

About London Skills: London accounts for 20 per cent of the UK’s gross value added and it is critical that the Capital maintains a supply of the right skills to ensure it continues to provide that economic impact. Survey figures released by the London Chambers of Commerce in April 2015 show that 54 per cent of London firms looking to recruit over the past three months had difficulties, up from 52 per cent in the last quarter of 2014.

Skilled manual or technical staff were the most difficult to recruit, followed by professional and managerial staff and clerical workers. The government spends more than £4 billion a year on adult skills provision in England, with £550 million of this in London alone.

The employment rate in London lags behind the UK average, and employers attribute 24 per cent of vacancies in the Capital to skills shortages, which have a negative impact on performance and growth.

In addition, the impact of Brexit on London cannot be underestimated, Europeans currently fill 25 per cent of all construction jobs, 32 per cent of hotel and restaurant jobs and 20 per cent of administrative positions.

A UKCES report found that in London 53% of all skilled trade vacancies are hard to fill due to skills shortages, this is above the national picture where this figure drops to 39%. The same report found that employers in London are less likely to recruit school leavers than anywhere else in England, with just 5% taking on a 16-year-old school leaver.

For the economy and for each individual learner, FE has to be at the heart of meeting these skills challenges, London Capital Colleges – Collab Group Partnership aims to do that.

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